WASHINGTON - A “historic high” of nearly 2.5 million children in the United States, or one in every 30 kids, experienced homelessness last year, according to a new study released Monday.

The number reflects the national rate of poverty and a lack of affordable housing, among other factors, the American Institutes for Research (AIR) reported. “Child homelessness has reached epidemic proportions in America,” said Carmela DeCandia, director of AIR’s National Center on Family Homelessness. “Living in shelters, neighbors’ basements, cars, campgrounds and worse - homeless children are the most invisible and neglected individuals in our society,” she said in a statement. Using federal and state data, the 130-page report ranked Minnesota, Nebraska, Massachusetts, Iowa and New Jersey as the five states hardest hit by child homelessness. Other contributing factors include the aftershocks of recession, racial disparities, the challenges of single-parenting and the impact of traumatic experiences such as domestic violence, it said.

While the US government has made progress in confronting homelessness among military veterans and chronically homeless individuals, no special attention is going towards children who have no permanent roof over their heads, it added.

The US poverty rate in 2013 stood at 14.5 percent, down half a percentage point from the previous year, with 45.3 million Americans living at or below the poverty line, the US Census Bureau reported in September.