Search TXNP
txnp temp ad

< More Strong Communities

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Share: facebooktwitterdigg

"On the Prevalence of Running Away from Home"
Mike Pergamit - Urban Institute

May, 2010

Abstract

This paper follows a nationally representative sample of 12-year olds through their 18th birthday to estimate the percentage of youth who ever run away from home, the number of times they ran away, and the age at which they first run away. Gender and race-ethnicity differences are estimated. These estimates, not found elsewhere, have implications for serving the runaway and homeless youth population.


The text below is an excerpt from the complete document. Read the full paper in PDF format.

Introduction

Running away from home puts youth at risk of violence, crime, drugs, prostitution, HIV and other STDs, and other health problems. Youth who have run away from their home demonstrate high rates of delinquent and problem behaviors, including substance abuse (Johnson, Whitbeck, and Hoyt 2005), truancy (De Man 2000), gang involvement (Yoder, Whitbeck, and Hoyt 2003), criminal activity (Hammer, Finkelhor, and Sedlack 2002), and juvenile arrest (Kaufman and Widom 1999). Runaway youth are not only likely to perpetrate crimes and engage in delinquent behaviors, they are also likely to have been victimized at home (Tyler, Cauce, and Whitbeck 2004; Thompson, Zittel-Palamara, and Maccio 2004; Kurtz and Kurtz 1991) and to experience additional victimization once they leave home.

Estimates of the runaway population are difficult to obtain and the exact number of runaway youth is not really known (Greene, et al. 2003). Several studies have attempted to estimate the number or percentage of youth who have run away from home in the previous year, with estimates ranging widely from 1.6 million to 2.8 million.

Another important measure of runaway behavior is lifetime prevalence, that is, the percentage of youth who ever run away from home. Identifying lifetime prevalence is important for understanding the causes and consequences of running away, yet little is known about lifetime runaway prevalence. The most often cited study by Nye and Edelbrock (1980) estimated that one in eight youth runs away before the age of 18, but that study infers estimates from a cross-sectional survey intended to generate a one-year incidence measure using data collected in 1976.

One confounding problem in understanding the size of the runaway population is that runaway experiences among youth tend to be episodic rather than chronic (Robertson 1991). Since most studies focus on a one-year reference period, little is known about to what extent youth have multiple runaway episodes. Multiple episodes may distort the estimates of lifetime prevalence that are based on a single cross-section survey. Furthermore, studies focused on one year do not capture the age at which youth first ran away, an important factor in understanding the phenomenon.

In this paper, we exploit a useful data set, the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth, 1997 cohort (NLSY97), to develop three measures not generally found in the literature. First, we estimate the percentage of youth who run away from home before the age of 18, that is, "lifetime" prevalence. Second, we estimate the distribution of the number of times youth run away before age 18, and finally, we estimate the age at which these youth first run away.

In the next section, we review the various estimates of runaway incidence. After describing the NLSY97 data set, we present estimates of the percentage of youth who have ever run away, the number of times they've run away, and the age at which they first ran away. We then conclude with a discussion of how these estimates help inform about runaway behavior.

(End of excerpt. The full paper is available in PDF format.)



The nonpartisan Urban Institute publishes studies, reports, and books on timely topics worthy of public consideration. The views expressed are those of the authors and should not be attributed to the Urban Institute, its trustees, or its funders.

Usage, posting and reprint of materials on the UI web site:

Most publications may be downloaded free of charge from the web site in PDF format. This information may be used and copies made for research, academic, policy or other non-commercial purposes. Proper attribution is required.

Copyright of the written materials contained within the Urban Institute website is owned or controlled by the Urban Institute. Posting UI research papers on other websites is permitted subject to prior approval from the Urban Institute—contact paffairs@urban.org.



rss txnp blog

JOIN TXNP TODAY. FIND FUNDERS, EMPLOYEES, AND NEWS THAT YOU NEED TO KNOW.


Sign up for your personal
TXNP E-Newsletter


Your TXNP Weekly E-Newsletter is made possible by the generosity of:

Frost Bank in many Texas cities.
The Sid Richardson Foundation in Fort Worth.










TXNP Professional Members Are Dedicated to Texas and Texans.

Aurora Grants & Consulting | Bacon Lee & Associates | Dawson Murray Teague Communications | Graystone Consulting | J A Churchill Associates | John F. Lewis PC | McConnell & Jones LLP


at-t Meadows Foundation express news HOBLITZELLE FOUNDATION v greenly zachry foundation w b h b bank of america southwest airlines Sid W. Richardson Foundation forst