Homeless deaths up 17% in region since 2013 - but rate per million half national average
More than 150 homeless people are thought to have died in the region over the last five years, according to the first official estimated figures.
Statistics showed 138 identified deaths of homeless people between 2013 and 2017, but estimations put the figure at 166 for the East of England.
Identified deaths leapt from 23 in 2013 to 38 in 2014, falling to 22 the following year and then increasing to 28 in 2016 and dropping just one to 27 in 2017.
The Office of National Statistics (ONS) estimated 5.3 deaths of homeless people per million of the region’s population last year – the lowest rate in England and almost half the national average.
There were an estimated 597 deaths of homeless people in England and Wales – up 24% over the last five years.
Men made up 84% of deaths of homeless people in 2017.
The mean age at death was 44 years for men, 42 years for women and 44 years for all people between 2013 and 2017.
In comparison, in the general population, the mean age at death was 76 years for men and 81 years for women.
More than half of all deaths of homeless people in 2017 were due to drug poisoning (32%), liver disease or suicide.
London and the North West of England had the highest mortality of homeless people – both in numbers of deaths and per million population of the region.
Ben Humberstone, ONS head of health and life events, said: “Every year, hundreds of people die while homeless.
“These are some of the most vulnerable members of our society, so it was vital that we produced estimates of sufficient quality to properly shine a light on this critical issue.
“Our findings show a pattern of deaths among homeless people that is strikingly different from the general population.
“For example, homeless people tend to die younger and from different causes. The average age of death last year was 44 years, with 84% of all deaths being men. More than half were related to drug poisoning, suicide, or alcohol – causes that made up only 3% of overall deaths last year.”