Nearly 600 homeless people died on the streets last year, according to government figures.

The North West of England and London had the highest mortality rates.

This is the first time the ONS has recorded the number of rough sleeper deaths across England and Wales.

597

homeless people died in England and Wales in 2017

119

homeless people died in the North West in 2017

44

mean age at death for homeless people

A homeless man was found dying outside the entrance to the Houses of Parliament this week. Credit: PA

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The mean age of death for a homeless person was far lower than the general population. Credit: ITV News

Over half of all deaths of homeless people in 2017 were due to three factors: accidents (including drug poisoning) accounted for 40%, suicides accounted for 13% and diseases of the liver accounted for 9%.

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

Ben Humberstone, ONS