Five states with the highest number of missing persons

The National Missing and Unidentified Persons Database (NamUS) puts the annual number of missing people at a sobering 600,000. This database is funded by the US Department of Justice and they also claim that law enforcement recovers approximately 4,400 unidentified bodies every year. Despite these alarming numbers, missing person cases are usually resolved quite fast.

In 2012 for instance, law enforcement was able to close 659,000 cases out of 661,000 missing person reports within a year. The total number of missing persons has also been on the decline in recent years owing to the advancement of communication technology such as smartphones, Phone locator apps, Android devices with built-in GPS and AMBER alerts, and so on. Having said that, recent data shows that 17,000 missing persons in the United have still not been found and 13,000 recovered bodies have yet to be identified.

Were are all these missing person cases clustered in the United States? The answer isn’t a simple one. Data from 2021 showed that in absolute numbers, California has the highest number of missing persons (2,133). However, if you place this number against the state’s population, it brings up an average missing person rate of 5.4 missing persons per 100,000 people. On the other hand, Alaska which has a population size much smaller than California records a massive 41.8 missing people per 100,000 people. 

That’s five times California’s rate. Arizona has a missing person rate of 13.0 missing persons per 100,000 people. States which are not faring so badly both in terms of absolute numbers and missing person rates are Massachusetts (1.8 missing persons per 100,000) and Rhode Island (20 missing persons in total). According to 2021 data, the top five states with the highest number of missing persons in absolute numbers include California (2,133), Florida (1,252), Texas (1,246), Arizona (915), and Washington (643).

If you suspect that someone in your life is missing, reach out to family, friends, and the community before contacting law enforcement. You can even use social media as a tool to try and locate the missing person.

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