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December 2, 1988

Teenage Throwaways: How Many?-Reply

JAMA. 1988;260(21):3132. doi:10.1001/jama.1988.03410210042032

In Reply.—  The Larkin Street article quoted the executive director of the American College of Preventive Medicine, William M. Kane, PhD, as saying an estimated 1 million teenagers run away annually and 125 000 to 250 000 adolescents are involved in prostitution. I confirmed these statistics with established sources in the field of adolescent health.The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), in a 1985 report to Congress,1 estimated the number of runaway youth at "more than one million in the course of the year." The figure is based on the 1976 National Statistical Survey on Runaway Youth2 and is "updated based upon the estimates of knowledgeable experts in the field."In 1983, the DHHS Office of the Inspector General conducted a nationwide sample study,3 which from survey responses estimated 558 000 runaway and homeless youth in the United States. The report concluded as follows: "Both