Risk of death among homeless women: a cohort study and review of the literature

Cheung, Angela M.; Hwang, Stephen W.
April 2004
CMAJ: Canadian Medical Association Journal;4/13/2004, Vol. 170 Issue 8, p1243
Academic Journal
Background: Homeless people are at high risk for illness and have higher death rates than the general population. Patterns of mortality among homeless men have been investigated, but less attention has been given to mortality rates among home-less women. We report mortality rates and causes of death in a cohort of women who used homeless shelters in Toronto. We also compare our results with those of other published studies of homeless women and with data for women in the general population. Methods: A cohort of 1981 women not accompanied by depen-dent children who used homeless shelters in Toronto in 1995 was observed for death over a mean of 2.6 years. In addition, we analyzed data from published studies of mortality rates among homeless women in 6 other cities (Montreal, Copen-hagen, Boston, New York, Philadelphia and Brighton, UK). Results: In Toronto, mortality rates were 515 per 100 000 person-years among homeless women 18--44 years of age and 438 per 100 000 person-years among those 45--64 years of age. Homeless women 18--44 years of age were 10 times more likely to die than women in the general population of Toronto. In studies from a total of 7 cities, the risk of death among homeless women was greater than that among women in the general population by a factor of 4.6 to 31.2 in the younger age group and 1.0 to 2.0 in the older age group. In 6 of the 7 cities, the mortality rates among younger homeless women and younger homeless men were not significantly different. In contrast, in 4 of the 6 cities, the mortality rates were signifi-cantly lower among older homeless women than among older homeless men. Interpretation: Excess mortality is far greater among homeless women under age 45 years than among older homeless women. Mortality rates among younger homeless women often approach or equal those of younger homeless men. Efforts to reduce deaths of homeless women should focus on those under age 45.


Related Articles

  • A family of friends. Japenga, Ann // Health (Time Inc. Health);Nov/Dec95, Vol. 9 Issue 7, p90 

    Examines a group of women, the Bag Ladies of the World(BLOWS). Founders of group; How group originated; Members of this group; How group relates one another; Goals of the BLOWS; Conclusions of psychologists and sociologists on isolation; Comment from Behavioral Medicine Research Center; What is...

  • Helping the homeless.  // Earthwatch: The Journal of Earthwatch Institute;Jul/Aug96, Vol. 15 Issue 4, p68 

    Describes the Earthwatch project led by Erika Lehmann to study the causes of women's homelessness in Pennsylvania. Importance of the project; Project activities of the volunteers; Dates of the expeditions; Costs to be shouldered by the volunteers.

  • Sightseeing. Wong, Nancy // 21st Century;Oct97, Vol. 9 Issue 2, p8 

    A personal narrative is presented which explores the author's experience of encountering a bag lady while sightseeing in New York.

  • `Street kids' or `homeless'? Colman, Adrian // Youth Studies Australia;Summer1993, Vol. 12 Issue 4, p11 

    Reports on a survey of 105 homeless women with a median age of 16 by Nannette Davis, a visiting Fulbright professor at the University of Sydney. Personal description as `street kids' or `homeless'; Statistics on factors blamed for their problems; Length of time spent on the street prior to the...

  • Rally for Rowan House.  // WWD: Women's Wear Daily;11/2/1994, Vol. 168 Issue 88, p14 

    Reports on the attendance of 600 people at a party in Philadephia, for the benefit of Rowan House, a transitional shelter for homeless women and their children. Spearheading of the party by Rena Rowan, founder of Jones Apparel Group.

  • Erratum to: Time Seizures and the Self: Institutional Temporalities and Self-preservation Among Homeless Women. Cooper, Amy // Culture, Medicine & Psychiatry;Mar2015, Vol. 39 Issue 1, p186 

    A correction to the article "Time Seizures and the Self: Institutional Temporalities and Self-Preservation Among Homeless" by Women Amy Cooper is presented.

  • Crowd gathers at annual memorial for unknown homeless woman held at Grand Central Terminal. Reyes, Damaso // New York Amsterdam News;12/31/98, Vol. 90 Issue 1, p30 

    Reports on the gathering of New York City, resident at the annual memorial for an unknown homeless woman who died at Grand Central Terminal on Christmas Day. Fund created to help homeless people; Condition of the homeless in the city; Activities held during the memorial.

  • Homelessness and housing. Headley, Sue // Youth Studies Australia;Mar2001, Vol. 20 Issue 1, p61 

    Presents an abstract of the study `Young Women Construct Themselves: Social Identity, Self-Concept and Psychosocial Well-Being in Homeless Facilities,' by D.E. Stephen which was published in the 2000 issue of the `Journal of Youth Studies.'

  • RISING ABOVE THE GUTTER. Scadden, Jayne // Community Care;7/15/2004, Issue 1531, p24 

    Presents an article on the experiences of a homeless and alcoholic woman in Leeds, England. Information on an organization which helps homeless people; Role of her son's death in her alcohol abuse; Benefits gained from supported housing.


Read the Article


Sorry, but this item is not currently available from your library.

Try another library?
Sign out of this library

Other Topics