Missing Children Statistics

One Missing Child Is One Too Many

The lack of a common definition of “missing child,” and a common response to the issue, results in few reliable statistics on the scope of the problem around the world.

Even with this challenge, we know that:

Nearly 37,000 children were reported missing in Australia in 2023.

Australian Federal Police, Media Release, at https://www.afp.gov.au/news-centre/media-release/international-missing-childrens-day-2024-commemorating-those-who-came 

In Canada, there were 34,437 missing children reports in 2023.

Government of Canada, Background – 2023 Fast Fact Sheetat https://www.canadasmissing.ca/pubs/2023/index-eng.htm#t2 

In 2022, in France, 43,202 reports of missing children were made to the police and gendarmerie.

Droit d’Enfance, The 116 000 Missing Children, at https://www.116000enfantsdisparus.fr/2023/09/27/43-202-signalements-de-disparitions-de-mineurs-en-france-quen-est-il-reellement/ 

In Germany, there were 94,200 children missing in 2023 (including a total of around 16,500 children up to and including 13 years of age and 77,700 young people ages 14-17).

Bundeskriminalamt (BKA), at https://www.bka.de/DE/UnsereAufgaben/Ermittlungsunterstuetzung/BearbeitungVermisstenfaelle/bearbeitungVermisstenfaelle.html;jsessionid=84C0DAFB491E87CA9045F7713CB67484.live301?nn=30666#doc19618bodyText3

In India, “the data shows that 83,350 children…were reported missing” in 2022.

More than 47,000 children missing in India, 71% are girls, shows NCRB data, The Print, at https://theprint.in/india/more-than-47000-children-missing-in-india-71-are-girls-shows-ncrb-data/1880048/

In Italy in 2023, there were 21,951 cases of missing Italian minors under 18 years of age. In addition, there were 19,646 reports of missing foreign national minors in 2023.

Quanti bambini spariscono in Italia? Nel 2023 soon stati quasi 22mila, Pianetamamma, at https://www.pianetamamma.it/la-famiglia/il-bimbo-nella-societa/quanti-bambini-spariscono-in-italia.html 

Official statistics show that in Kenya, 6,374 cases of missing children were reported from 1 January 2022 to 1 May 2024.

Ministry of Labor and Social Protection, International Missing Children’s Day, at https://imcd.childprotection.go.ke/

In 2023, in Lithuania, 2,383 children were reported missing. 

Lithuania Official Statistics Portal, at https://osp.stat.gov.lt/statistiniu-rodikliu-analize#/

In Russia, according to official statistics, in 2021 there were more than 43,000 reports of missing children.

More than 40 thousand children disappear in Russia every year, Gazeta.ru, at https://www.gazeta.ru/social/news/2022/05/25/17802110.shtml

In South Korea, there were 25,628 reports of missing children in 2023.

National Police Agency, Status of receiving and handling reports of missing childrenat https://www.index.go.kr/unity/potal/main/EachDtlPageDetail.do?idx_cd=1610

In Spain, 15,126 people were reported missing, of which 48.9% were minors ages 13-17.

CNDES, 2024 Informe Anual Personas Desaparecidas, at https://cndes-web.ses.mir.es/publico/Desaparecidos/dam/jcr:fcb409f7-ba96-4908-a769-53190ef23669/informe_2024%20-%20ACCESIBLE.pdf 

In the United Kingdom, over 63,866 children were reported missing in 173,369 incidents in 2021/2022.

Statistical Tables for UK Missing Persons Unit Data Report, 2021/22, National Crime Agency, at http://www.missingpersons.police.uk/en-gb/resources/downloads/missing-persons-statistical-bulletins

In 2021, there were 359,094 reports of missing children in the United States.

Federal Bureau of Investigation, 2022 NCIC Missing Person and Unidentified Person Statistics, at https://www.fbi.gov/file-repository/2022-ncic-missing-person-and-unidentified-person-statistics.pdf/view 

This, however, is only a snapshot of the problem. In many countries, statistics on missing children are not even available; and, unfortunately, even available statistics may be inaccurate due to: under-reporting/under-recognition; inflation; incorrect database entry of case information; and deletion of records once a case is closed.

The lack of numbers, and the discrepancy in the numbers that do exist, is one of the key reasons why ICMEC developed and advocates for the Model Missing Child Framework, which assists countries with building strong, well-rounded national responses, and facilitates more efficient investigations, management, and resolution of missing children cases.

At ICMEC, we firmly believe that one missing child is one too many, and we are committed to improving the global understanding of and response to missing and abducted children.