How Many Youth are Homeless?

  • Nationally, anywhere between 1.6 and 2.8 million youth run away from home each year.
  • Many runaway and homeless youth go unreported and unidentified.
  • Homeless youth are considered the “invisible homeless” because they are so difficult to locate and track.

Why Do They Leave?

  • Nearly half (48 percent) say they were thrown out of their homes.
  • Twenty-two percent describe the situation as both – some combination of running away and being thrown out.
  • Youth commonly describe a significant family conflict that led to the youth’s departure.
  • Sometimes a parent has insisted the youth leave. Sometimes a parent may only indicate the youth should leave and the youth feels s/he has no choice.
  • For LGBTQ youth, some parents can’t accept their child’s sexual orientation and throw them out of the house. Other face difficulties due to lack of acceptance within their families, which may lead them to run away.
  • Many youth leave home because of patterns of physical (46%) or sexual (38%) abuse, or ongoing substance abuse or mental illness in their parents.  It feels safer to leave than to stay.