Bullying Statistics

Bullying statistics from 2009 show that bullying continues to be a serious problem among America's young people. Though bullying statistics do not tell every story, they do create a picture of bullying in the US in 2009. Keep reading to get the U.S. bullying stats for 2009.

Bullying statistics can reveal a lot about bullying, but it is important to remember a few things when looking at statistics. Statistics show a broad picture based on numbers, but do not give all the details of individual bullying cases. Statistics on bullying from 2009 sometimes report on studies done in previous years. It is hard to get current numbers on bullying because it takes time to collect, analyze, and report information. Bullying statistics can also vary from one study to another. This may be because of:

  • The way the study was conducted, which can influence how honest people are in their answers or what they do and do not remember or report
  • The number, age, gender, and ethnicity of the people polled
  • How bullying was defined in the survey
  • The location of the survey

With these fact about bullying statistics in mind, bullying statistics from 2009 can be a valuable tool in understanding bullying.

There is a relationship between bullying or being bullied and other types of violence, including fighting, carrying weapons, and suicide. The 2009 Indicators of School Crime and Safety collected statistics from a variety of studies, which showed that:

  • One third of teens reported being bullied while at school
  • About 20 percent of teens had been made fun of by a bully, 18 percent of teens had rumors or gossip spread about them, 11 percent were physically bullied, such as being shoved, tripped, or spit on, 6 percent were threatened, 5 percent were excluded from activities they wanted to participate in, 4 percent were coerced into something they did not want to do, and 4 percent had their personal belongings destroyed by bullies
  • 4 percent of teens in this study reported being the victims of cyber bullying
  • Most bullying occurred inside the school, with smaller numbers of bullying incidents occurring outside on the school grounds, on the school bus, or on the way to school
  • Only about a third of bully victims reported the bullying to someone at school
  • About 2 of every 3 bully victims were bullied once or twice during the school year, 1 in 5 were bullied once or twice a month, and about 1 in 10 were bullied daily or several times a week
  • In this study, females and white students reported the most incidents of being the victims of bullying
  • 44 percent of middle schools reported bullying problems, compared to just over 20 percent of both elementary and high schools

The bullying statistics 2009 Indicators also reports on incidents which can be related to bullying:

  • Rates of sexual harassment and racial or ethnic tensions were somewhat higher for middle school children than for other age groups
  • Violent crimes are more likely to occur among middle school students and younger teens than among older teens
  • 10 percent of middle and high school students have had hate terms used against them, and over one third have seen hateful graffiti messages
  • Females are more likely to be called be gender-based hate words, while males are more likely to be called by hate words relating to their race or ethnicity
  • Violent deaths, including suicides, are rare at school, though recent events have shown school bullying may be related to violent actions, including suicides, outside of school.
  • Though violent crimes among young people have decreased in recent years, there was a small upswing in the amount of violence taking place at school
  • 8 percent of students were injured or hurt with a weapon at school, and males were more likely than females to be victims
  • 7 percent of students have avoided school or certain places at school because they were afraid of being harmed in some way

Other bullying statistics for 2009 studies report slightly different bullying statistics. The 2009 National Youth Risk Behavior Survey found that about 1 in 5 teens had been bullied at school in the last year. The government's Find Youth Info web site also reports some recent bullying statistics:

  • Bullying is most common among middle school children, where almost half of students may be bully victims
  • Between 15 and 25 percent of students overall are frequent victims of bullying, and 15 to 20 percent of students bully others often
  • About 20 percent of students experience physical bullying at some point in their lives, while almost a third experience some type of bullying
  • Cyber bullying statistics show about 8 percent of students have been the victims of a cyber bully
  • Studies have indicated that females may be the victims of bullying more often than males; males are more likely to experience physical or verbal bullying, while females are more likely to experience social or psychological bullying
  • Students with disabilities are more likely to be the victims of bullying
  • Homosexual and bisexual teens are more likely to report bullying than heterosexual teens

Though the above statistics indicate lower numbers of cyber bully victims, other reports have suggested that cyber bullying might be a much more common problem. The Cyber bullying Research Center's bullying statistics from 2009 show that between 20 and 25 percent of students have been the victims of cyber bullying, with about the same number acting as perpetrators, and that these students are more likely to suffer from low self esteem and suicidal thoughts.

These bullying statistics from 2009 don't tell every story, but they do indicate that bullying is a serious problem for a large number of youth.

Sources:

National Center for Educational Statistics and Bureau of Justice Statistics, "Indicators of School Crime and Safety: 2009" [online]

FindYouthInfo.gov, "How Widespread is the Bullying Problem?" [online]

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, "2009 National Youth Risk Behavior Survey Overview" [online]

S. Hinduja, and J. W. Patchin, Cyberbullying Research Center, "Cyberbullying Research" [online]