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Key Findings

  • In 1999, an estimated 1,682,900 youth had a runaway/ thrownaway episode. Of these youth, 37 percent were missing from their caretakers and 21 percent were reported to authorities for purposes of locating them.

  • Of the total runaway/thrownaway youth, an estimated 1,190,900 (71 percent) could have been endangered during their runaway/thrownaway episode by virtue of factors such as substance dependency, use of hard drugs, sexual or physical abuse, presence in a place where criminal activity was occurring, or extremely young age (13 years old or younger).

  • Youth ages 15–17 made up two-thirds of the youth with runaway/thrownaway episodes during the study year.

  • There is suggestive evidence that the runaway problem may have been smaller in 1999 than it was in 1988.
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Runaway/Thrownaway Children: National Estimates and Characteristics
NISMART Bulletin
October 2002