Bullying Statistics

Data and information about the basics of bullying behavior and how you can make a difference today.

If you are facing any kind of stress, harassment or feelings of hopelessness, don’t wait another moment to reach out for help. Here are some great organizations that can help you now: The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-8255), The Trevor Project (1-866-488-7386) and the Jed Foundation

Bullying: Myths vs Facts

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Bullying: Fast Facts

20% of U.S. students in grades 6–12 have experienced bullying.1

20% of U.S. students in grades 9–12 have experienced bullying.3

9% of students in grades 6–12 experienced cyberbullying.1

15% of high school students (grades 9–12) were electronically bullied in the past year.4

55.2% of LGBT students experienced cyberbullying.5

30% of young people admit to bullying others in surveys.2

70.6% of young people say they have seen bullying in their schools.2

70.4% of school staff have seen bullying.

62% witnessed bullying two or more times in the last month and 41% witness bullying once a week or more.2

Statistics for how many Muslim-American students experience bullying Click to see full image
2017-01 - Bullying-Muslim-Students

When bystanders intervene, bullying stops within 10 seconds 57% of the time.4Stop bullying on #Day1!

Bullying: The Basics

What is Bullying?

Bullying is defined as any unwanted and harmful verbal, physical, psychological, sexual or social act committed by an individual or group, as well as any real or perceived threat or imbalance of power.

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, bullying includes teasing, name-calling, intimidation, humiliation, taunting, spreading rumors or lies, demands for money, online harassment (known as cyberbullying), sexual harassment, physical assault, theft and destruction of property.

Those harmed by bullying may be targeted on the basis of their sex, gender, race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, physical appearance and/or disability.

Although bullying is widespread in schools and on campuses across the United States, it is oftentimes less visible than people imagine, and it is often underreported.

In order to be considered bullying, the behavior must be aggressive and include:

  • An Imbalance of Power: Kids who bully use their power—such as physical strength, access to embarrassing information, or popularity—to control or harm others. Power imbalances can change over time and in different situations, even if they involve the same people.
  • Repetition: Bullying behaviors happen more than once or have the potential to happen more than once.
    Bullying includes actions such as making threats, spreading rumors, attacking someone physically or verbally, and excluding someone from a group on purpose.


Bullying By the Numbers

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Bullying By the Numbers

Are there Types of Bullying?

There are three types of bullying6:
Verbal bullying is saying or writing mean things. Verbal bullying includes:

  • Teasing
  • Name-calling
  • Inappropriate sexual comments
  • Taunting
  • Threatening to cause harm

Social bullying, sometimes referred to as relational bullying, involves hurting someone’s reputation or relationships. Social bullying includes:

  • Leaving someone out on purpose
  • Telling other children not to be friends with someone
  • Spreading rumors about someone
  • Embarrassing someone in public

Physical bullying involves hurting a person’s body or possessions. Physical bullying includes:

  • Hitting/kicking/pinching
  • Spitting
  • Tripping/pushing
  • Taking or breaking someone’s things
  • Making mean or rude hand gestures


Why Does Bullying Matter?

Bullying is a serious educational issue, and a matter of public health and safety. It creates a climate of fear and panic within schools, on playgrounds and throughout neighborhoods – and in today’s digital age, bullying is carried out after school hours over the Internet.
Children, adolescents and adults harmed by bullying often suffer from a wide range of psychological and school-related problems, including anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, suicidal ideation, chronic lateness and absences, and difficulty concentrating.

What Are the Effects of Bullying?

Bullying can often have painful physical and emotional effects such as:

  • Emotional Distress
  • Substance Abuse
  • Missing Work & School
  • Suicide


How Can We Prevent Bullying?

School administrators, staff, educators, parents and community members can help prevent bullying by discussing it in classes, building a safe school environment and by creating a bullying prevention strategy in their community. The #Day1 Campaign is an effective, immediate and free way to reduce bullying, harassment and humiliation.
Bullying can also be prevented through legislation, including the proposed Tyler Clementi Higher Education Anti-Harassment Act that will grant protections from online and offline bullying for college students, as well as the Safe Schools Improvement Act that promises to do the same at the K-12 level.

More in-depth bullying facts and research

  • National Center for Education Statistics and Bureau of Justice Statistics, School Crime Supplement, 2017.
  • Bradshaw, C.P., Sawyer, A.L., & O’Brennan, L.M. (2007). Bullying and peer victimization at school: Perceptual differences between students and school staff. School Psychology Review, 36(3), 361-382.
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System, 2013
  • Hawkins, D. L., Pepler, D., and Craig, W. M. (2001). Peer interventions in playground bullying. Social Development, 10, 512-527.
  • Kosciw, J. G., Greytak, E. A., Bartkiewicz, M. J., Boesen, M. J., & Palmer, N. A. (2012). The 2011 National School Climate Survey: The experiences of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth in our nation’s schools. New York: GLSEN.
  • StopBullying.Gov