In-depth look at America's runaway youth

May 13, 2010

National Runaway Switchboard, a hotline for runaways that put the report together, is based in Chicago. Researchers compiled the study by looking at the calls coming into the hotline and interviews with runaways.

The survey found 80-percent of runways prefer to talk directly to someone via telephone instead of e-mail and text.

And in terms of the number of kids who run away, how much has that increased in the last few years?

  • 98 percent increase in the number of homeless youths calling 1-800-RUNAWAY over the past year
  • 584 percent increase since 2000
  • significant increase in those younger than 12 running away

The study also looked at how these kids are surviving after they runaway from home.

How have youths been surviving on the street in the last decade:

  • panhandling (up 228%)
  • sex industry (up 58%)
  • selling drugs (up 54%)
  • stealing (up 22%)

When it comes to Illinois and the city of Chicago in terms of the number of runaways:

  • Illinois ranks 4th among all states with the most calls
  • 773 area code ranks 4th among all area codes nationwide
National Runaway Switchboard
3080 N. Lincoln Ave.
(773) 880-9860

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