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Missing Persons By State

Missing Persons By State
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An Analysis of Missing Persons by State

Few things are as frightening and distressing as the phenomenon of missing persons. In the United States, more than 600,000 people go missing annually, with over 4,400 unidentified bodies discovered each year. Despite steady progress in solving these cases over the past couple of decades, there are still over 20,000 missing person cases remaining open today. This underscores the necessity to delve into the context of missing persons by state, to establish patterns and help focus the efforts of agencies and organizations tasked with resolving these cases.

In this article, we drew on the U.S. Department of Justice's National Missing and Unidentified Persons (NamUS) database.

  • Alaska, with its sparse population, has a much higher rate of missing persons per 100,000 residents than any other state, standing at a stark 42.16 compared to the next highest, Arizona, with 12.28.
  • Despite having the highest total number of missing persons (3,010), California's rate of missing persons per 100,000 residents is middling, indicating that the high total number is more to its large population than to a higher likelihood of individuals going missing.
  • Massachusetts has the lowest rate of missing persons with 1.81 per 100,000 residents. Rhode Island, Wisconsin, Illinois, Iowa, Indiana, Maryland, Minnesota, South Dakota, Ohio, Virginia, and New Hampshire also maintain low rates, all under 3.5 per 100,000 residents.
  • In absolute terms, Rhode Island has the least number of missing persons, followed closely by South Dakota, North Dakota, Delaware and New Hampshire, all of which have less than 100 missing person cases.

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