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30 Cities With the Biggest Panhandling Problem

Manhattan, NY

One Manhattanite told the New York Times, “I feel like this is becoming beggar city.”

Albuquerque, NM

The American Civil Liberties Union of New Mexico filed a lawsuit over an Albuquerque panhandling ordinance that went into effect last month. The ordinance prohibits panhandlers from soliciting motorists at medians and sidewalks, yet several people continue to handle at intersections around the city.

Seattle, WA

The issue of homeless people in Seattle has reached crisis levels since some of them can occasionally become aggressive—especially in areas around University District. It’s suggested to dress and act like a local if you do not want to be harassed.

Pittsburgh, PA

The city of Pittsburg recently passed an ordinance in 2014 banning panhandling within 25 feet of any automated parking meter. They also have ordinances prohibiting handling near a street vendor and asking for money near churches.

St. Louis, MO

In St. Louis, there have been several investigations launched by police that prove panhandlers oftentimes use donations to buy drugs and alcohol. Several homeless shelters in the area are reaching out to handlers in an effort to help get them off the streets.

Dayton, OH

Police officers have made 700 arrests in the city of Dayton since passing ordinances against panhandling in 2015.

Portland, OR

Since May of 2017, the rate of panhandling in Portland has gone down significantly due to an ordinance that pays panhandlers to clean up the city was passed. The ordinance was passed in May of 2018 and 310 bags of trash have already been collected.

Pasadena, CA

According to several forums about panhandling, panhandlers in California are known to belittle you if you do not give them money. Even with bans on camping, there are not enough shelters or volunteers to take in everyone on the streets.

(Image from Facebook)

Vancouver, BC

If you have ever walked on the sidewalks of downtown Vancouver you’ve probably seen or been approached by a panhandler. One of the laws put in place to prevent this is that you can not solicit within a certain proximity of bank machines, payphones, or public restrooms.

Montreal, QC

There are not as many laws on begging in Montreal, so more people are known to do it. There are several interviews with news channels where panhandlers talk about the strategies they have employed to make sure they get enough to live off of.

Toronto, ON

In Toronto panhandling is just seen as a “fact of life” in Ontario. Panhandlers are forced to inhabit public spaces, so there is no way to avoid them in this providence.

London, England

In 2017 there was a 15% increase in the number of “rough sleepers.” While the rest of England recorded a 14% rise, with the largest regional increase in all of the north-west (39%)

Mumbai, India

Mumbai is home to the world's largest slum, “Dharavi.” The slum population is more than that of Britain.

São Paulo, Brazil

This capital city in Brazil is known for its strong presence in commerce, finance, arts, entertainment, and income inequality. Because Sãn Paulo is one of the wealthiest states in Brazil, the income inequality can be seen much clearer than in your average city.

Luang Prabang, Laos

As in any tourist-heavy are beggars are prevalent. Travelers are warned to keep an eye out for (and avoid) anything that may look like a scam.

(Image from Facebook)

Cape Town, South Africa

Several business owners in Cape Town interviewed by news24 have expressed their concern about the issue of beggars getting out of hand. They said, “They are bothering my customers and driving away business.”

New Delhi, India

The large difference in wage distribution in India means that the homeless population is much more prevalent in larger cities. With a high homeless population comes an increase in the number of beggars.

Kabul, Afghanistan

Afghanistan has one of the largest unemployment rates in the world (23.9% in a 2017 study). Kabul, the capital, is known for its large number of child beggars.

Tirana, Albania

Tirana is the capital of Albania and is well-known for Skanderbeg Square and the largest museum for Albanian history. Since tourism is so prevalent in this capital city it is prime real estate for beggars to try and hit up bright-eyed tourists.

Pristina, Kosovo

With increased deportation in Kosovo, more and more children are being separated from their parents and being forced to fend for themselves on the streets.

Damascus, Syria

Child beggars are becoming more and more of a familiar sight on the streets of Damascus. A 2017 study finds that Syria has the largest unemployment rate in the world at 50%.

Dakar, Senegal

Dakar is known for its rich history, beautiful beaches, and a surprising number of child beggars. Child begging is one of the main forms of trafficking in Senegal and is oftentimes the only option for some of these children.

Djibouti, Djibouti

This French and Arabic-speaking country is home to the saltiest bodies of water in the world. The recent migration serge has left the stranded children with no hope trying to make money any way they can on the streets.

(Image from Facebook)


Sana’a, Yemen

Sana’a is the capital of Yemen and is the home to several historic sites. With an unemployment rate of 35% (that continues to grow), the rate of beggars on the street has increased significantly.

(Image from Facebook)

Zürich, Switzerland

Despite a recent tightening on regulations regarding beggars, they’re still a common sight in this mountainous tourist city in Switzerland.

Paris, France

Where there are tourists there will be beggars. Beggars are notorious in Paris. It is often thought that they specifically go to tourist-dense areas in an effort to take advantage of tourists who may not come from cities where panhandling is prevalent.

N’Djamena, Chad

According to a study conducted by Unicef, “An estimated 53% of children between the ages of five and 14 are working in the country, and only around 40 percent attend school” the rest of these children have no other choice but to do what they can in begging in an effort to help support their families

(Image via Wikipedia)

Athens, Greece

With an unemployment rate of 18.9%, the people of Athens have taken to the streets to get what they can from the tourists who come to appreciate this beautiful city.

Khartoum, Sudan

The largest city in Sudan is known for its “lavish beggars.” These beggars take advantage of the immense tourism and large number of real people in need to make more than enough money to live off of.

(Image via Wikipedia)

Lusaka, Zambia

The growing number of child beggars has caused major concern for the residents of Lusaka. There has recently been a crackdown on the parents of these child beggars.

(Image from Facebook)