National Missing Child Statistics


Year 2000

The following information is from the NCIC Missing/Unidentified Person File Report for 2000, Washington, D.C.; National Crime Information Center, Federal Bureau of Investigation, U.S. Department of Justice, January 2001.

  • In 2000 - 876,213 missing persons (adults and juveniles) were reported missing to the police and entered into the FBI's National Crime Information Center (NCIC) computer.
  • For the fifteenth time in the eighteen years since the passage of the Missing Children's Act in 1982, the number of missing persons reported to the police increased. The 2000 reports were up 1% over 1999. The total increase since 1982 is 468% (154,341 entries in 1982 vs. 876,213 in 2000).
  • The FBI estimates that 85% - 90% of missing persons are juveniles. Thus, in approximately 750,000 cases (or 2,100 per day) the disappearance of a child was serious enough that a parent called the police, the police took a report, and the police entered that report into NCIC.
  • In 1990 Congress passed the National Child Search Assistance Act, mandating an immediate police report and NCIC entry in every case. Since 1990, NCIC missing persons reports have increased 32%.
  • The primary NCIC categories in which missing children reports are entered are:
    • ``Juvenile'' - 685,617 cases, up .2% over 1999 (police enter most missing child cases in ``Juvenile'', including some non-family abductions where there is no evidence of foul play).
    • ``Endangered'' - 120,726 cases (adults and juveniles), an increase of 5.8% over 1999 (defined as ``missing and in the company of another person under circumstances indicating that his or her physical safety is in danger'').
    • ``Involuntary'' - 31,539 cases (adults and juveniles), a decrease of 1.1% from 1999 (defined as ``missing under circumstances indicating that the disappearance was not voluntary; i.e., abduction or kidnapping'').

Year 1999

  • In 1998 - 932,190 missing persons (adults and juveniles) were reported missing to the police and entered into the FBI's National Crime Information Center (NCIC) computer.
  • This is a positive development, the first time in 16 years since the passage of the Missing Children's Act in 1982 that there has been a significants reduction in the number of missing persons reported to the police. There was a 1.4% decline in 1996. The 1998 reports were down 5% from 1997. Yet the total increase since 1982 is still over 500% (154,341 entries in 1982 vs. 932,190 in 1998)
  • The FBI estimates that 85% - 90% of missing persons are juveniles. Thus, in approxiamately 800,000 cases (or 2,200 per day) the disappearance of a child was serious enough that a parent called the police, the police took a report, and the police entered that report into NCIC.
  • In 1990 Congress passed the National Child Search Assistance Act, mandating an immediate police report and NCIC entry in every case. Since 1990, NCIC missing persons reports have increased 40.4%.
  • The primary NCIC categories in which missing children reports are entered are:
    • ``Juvenile'' - 749,090 cases, down 6.5% from 1997 (police enter most missing child cases in ``Juvenile'', including some nonfamily abductions where there is no evidence of foul play).
    • ``Endangered'' - 111,723 cases (adults and juveniles), an increase of 5% over 1997 (defined as ``missing and in the company of another person under circumstances indicating that his or her physical safety is in danger'').
    • ``Involuntary'' - 33,038 cases (adults and juveniles), a decrease of 2.5% from 1997 (defined as ``missing under circumstances indicating that the disappearance was not voluntary; i.e., abduction or kidnapping'').

Year 1998

  • In 1998 - 932,190 missing persons (adults and juveniles) were reported missing to the police and entered into the FBI's National Crime Information Center (NCIC) computer.
  • This is a positive development, the first time in 16 years since the passage of the Missing Children's Act in 1982 that there has been a significants reduction in the number of missing persons reported to the police. There was a 1.4% decline in 1996. The 1998 reports were down 5% from 1997. Yet the total increase since 1982 is still over 500% (154,341 entries in 1982 vs. 932,190 in 1998)
  • The FBI estimates that 85% - 90% of missing persons are juveniles. Thus, in approxiamately 800,000 cases (or 2,200 per day) the disappearance of a child was serious enough that a parent called the police, the police took a report, and the police entered that report into NCIC.
  • In 1990 Congress passed the National Child Search Assistance Act, mandating an immediate police report and NCIC entry in every case. Since 1990, NCIC missing persons reports have increased 40.4%.
  • The primary NCIC categories in which missing children reports are entered are:
    • ``Juvenile'' - 749,090 cases, down 6.5% from 1997 (police enter most missing child cases in ``Juvenile'', including some nonfamily abductions where there is no evidence of foul play).
    • ``Endangered'' - 111,723 cases (adults and juveniles), an increase of 5% over 1997 (defined as ``missing and in the company of another person under circumstances indicating that his or her physical safety is in danger'').
    • ``Involuntary'' - 33,038 cases (adults and juveniles), a decrease of 2.5% from 1997 (defined as ``missing under circumstances indicating that the disappearance was not voluntary; i.e., abduction or kidnapping'').