Most people think of childhood trauma as a rare or unnatural occurrence. But in fact, nearly every person will endure at least 1 traumatic experience during their youth, some more severe than others. Consider the following facts and statistics on childhood trauma:

How common is childhood trauma?

As Perry and Szalavitz state, “ it is rare for a child to escape trauma entirely.” (2017, p. xxv)  Research by Meg Jay finds that nearly 75% of us were traumatized in some way during childhood. (Goldstein, 2017) And this generally includes only those things conventionally categorized as traumas. If you were to include those equally difficult experiences that do not fit the standard definition of t, such as being victimized by bullies or experiencing parental divorce, this number rises even higher. It seems that a “normal” childhood includes all types of experiences with trauma.

  1. It’s estimated that around 1.5 million children in the U.S. are abused each year. (Straus, Gelles & Steinmetz, 2006)
  2. More than a million children in the U.S. experience their parents’ divorce each year, and about half of all kids come from broken homes.
  3. Approximately 1 in 20 children experience the loss of a parent prior to their 18th birthday. (Tremblay & Israel, 1998) Across the nation at this very moment there are around 3.5 million children struggling to cope with the loss of a loved one. (Emswiler & Emswiler, 2000)
  4. In any given year in the U.S., more than 800,000 children will spend time in foster care.
  5. At some schools in certain areas of the country, 40% of elementary school students have witnessed a shooting, and 60% know someone who has been shot. (ABC, 4-10-2009)
  6. Around 8,300 children and teens are sent to the E.R. each year as a result of firearm injuries. (Wall Street Journal, 10-30-2018, p. A7)
  7. It’s estimated that at least 4 million American children are victimized each year by physical or sexual abuse, domestic violence, community violence, or other traumatic events. (Grossman & DeGaetano, 1999, p. 57)
  8. Around 1 in 45 children in the U.S. are homeless at any given time. This amounts to around 1.6 million children. (Goldberg, 2012)
  9. Between 15% and 25% of students are frequent victims of bullying. (Heller, 2011) Another study by the US justice department found 37% of students don’t feel safe at school because of bullying. (Cloud, 2012)
  10. One large scale survey found about 1 in 8 kids 16 and under have experienced some form of serious maltreatment by adults within the past year. (Finkelhor et al. 2005)
  11. It’s been estimated that at any given time, more than 8 million children in America suffer from trauma-related psychiatric problems. (Perry & Pollard, 1998