National Missing Children’s Day

National Missing Children’s Day falls on May 25 annually and is a day that brings attention to the children who go missing every single day. Children go missing, and some of them are never seen again. This day also shines a spotlight on the issue of child safety, especially as it pertains to online safety. The final purpose of this holiday is to educate parents on the steps they can take to ensure the safety of their own children.

The History of National Missing Children’s Day

National Missing Children’s Day was first proclaimed in 1983 by U.S. President Ronald Reagan and was first commemorated on May 25, 1983. This was in response to the Atlanta Child Murders of 1979-1981, which saw 29 bodies of children killed and recovered before the suspect was eventually arrested and then convicted.

Facts About Missing Children

To do our part and shine a light on the plight of missing children, we’ve decided to list some statistics that we’ve come across on the subject. Below are some statistics that will shine a light on the problem and hopefully encourage everyone to head out and do a little more research on the subject for themselves.

  • In 2020, there were more than 29,000 cases of missing children.
  • Of those children missing each year, about 91% are endangered runaways.
  • Approximately 5% of missing children are family abductions.
  • Less than 1% of missing children are abductions by strangers.
  • Of the children missing every year, about 1% of them are injured, lost, or otherwise missing.
  • Approximately 78% of abductors are non-custodial parents.
  • Approximately 825 non-custodial parent abductors intend to affect custody on a permanent basis.
  • Of all non-family abductions, about 81% were 12 years of age or older.
  • Of all stereotypical abductions, only 58% were 12 years of age or older.
  • Of all child abductors, about 86% of perpetrators were male.
  • About 42% of child runaways do so because of family problems.
  • About 14% of child runaways do so because of peer pressure, and another 5% do so because of substance abuse.
  • Only about 4% of runaways run away because of physical abuse.
  • Of all runaways, about 99% of them are returned home.
  • In the U.S., a child goes missing every 40 seconds.
  • About one child out of 10,000 children reported missing is found dead.
  • About 75% of victims of non-family child abductions are female.
  • Most non-family abductors snatch the children off the street.
  • 80% of the first contact by strangers before they abduct a child occurs within a quarter-mile of the child’s home.

Observing National Missing Children’s Day

There are plenty of ways for people to observe this holiday. First and foremost, they can take the time to educate themselves about child safety. Second, people wanting to observe this day can spread the word about the plight of missing children in the U.S. To spread the word, use the hashtag #NationalMissingChildrensDay on your social media accounts.

Where is it celebrated?
United States (Observance)
When is it?
This year (2024)
May 25 Saturday
Next year (2025)
May 25 Sunday
Last year (2023)
May 25 Thursday