Almost One-fifth of U.S. Youths Will Run Away, Study Says

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Nearly one in five U.S. youths technically will be a runaway before age 18, according to a new report released today.

On the Prevalence of Running Away from Home differs from most other runaway estimates in that it looks at the prevalence of youths “running away” at any point in their lifetimes, rather than the number of runaways in a given year.

The estimates raise the question of how to define “runaway”: The report uses a standard definition of being away from home overnight with parental permission – which includes youths who crash on a friend’s couch without calling their parents first.

However, the Urban Institute study points to a core population of chronic runaways, saying that nearly 30 percent of youth who run away do so three or more times.

The study also looks at how often youths leave home and the frequency among different genders, ages and ethnicities.

Those and other issues were discussed by a panel that convened in April about homeless and runaway youth.

Click here for the report.