Under-reporting usually refers to some issue, incident, statistic, etc., that individuals, responsible agencies, or news media have not reported, or have reported as less than the actual level or amount. Under-reporting of crimes, for example, makes it hard to figure the actual incidence of crimes.

Under-reporting is a failure in data reporting.


Various estimates have been provided in relation to under-reporting of crimes across the world. According to the American Medical Association (1995), sexual violence, and rape in particular, is considered the most under-reported violent crime.[1] Common reasons for individuals not reporting crime include fear of not being believed, insecurity, and fear of getting into trouble. These reasons are most common for not reporting rape.[2] It is commonly assumed that most of the rape cases go unreported;[3] some estimates go up to or above 90%.[4][5] (See also Rape reporting.) Non-recognition of domestic violence may lead to under-reporting.

Murders are sometimes not reported,[6] due to the fear of the alleged murderer's connection with another murderer, or because of a settlement.

In 2012, the universities of Leicester and Westminster, while collaborating with Serious Organised Crime Agency, estimated that 200,000 people had been victims of online dating fraud. The report included instances of under-reported frauds.[7]

The reported murder rates in China have been criticized for under-reporting unsolved murders due to police salaries being based on the rate of solved cases.[8]


Under-reported dengue in India,[9] polio in China and Pakistan,[10] and disability in Malaysia,[11] remain a problem. In the United States, it was estimated in 1989 that 40% of the AIDS cases in South Carolina went unreported.[12] In 2008, out of 2,460 deaths from AIDS-related illnesses during a six-year period in Washington, DC, an estimated of 1,337 had not been reported.[13]


Under-reporting of population in countries such as China[14] has been documented.

See also


  1. ^ "A gap or a chasm? Attrition in reported rape cases" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-03-14. Retrieved 2014-02-04.
  2. ^ "Between 70-90% rapes thought to go unreported …and 94% of reported cases don't end in a conviction - University of Surrey - Guildford". Surrey.ac.uk. Retrieved 2014-02-04.
  3. ^ Nina Lakhani (2012-03-12). "Unreported rapes: the silent shame - Crime - UK". The Independent. Retrieved 2014-02-04.
  4. ^ "Rape Myths and Facts | wellwvu | West Virginia University". Well.wvu.edu. 2013-09-24. Archived from the original on 2017-04-20. Retrieved 2014-02-04.
  5. ^ "15642_Report" (PDF). Retrieved 2014-02-04.
  6. ^ John Esterbrook (2002-09-09). "Millions Of Crimes Go Unreported". CBS News. Retrieved 2014-02-04.
  7. ^ http://ec.europa.eu/dgs/health_consumer/docs/news_20131206_ecc-report-cross-border-e-commerce_en.pdf
  8. ^ June Cheng. The puzzle of China’s low crime rates. 2018-10-25. Accessed 2019-09-05
  9. ^ Manish Kakkar. "Dengue fever is massively under-reported in India, hampering our response". BMJ. Retrieved 2014-02-04.
  10. ^ Khattak, Jehangir. "Why Pakistan is losing the war against polio – The Express Tribune". Tribune.com.pk. Retrieved 2014-02-04.
  11. ^ ian mcintyre (2013-09-16). "The number of disabled people under-reported, says don - Community | The Star Online". Thestar.com.my. Retrieved 2014-02-04.
  12. ^ AP (1989-11-28). "40% of AIDS Cases Go Unreported in Carolina - New York Times". Nytimes.com. South Carolina. Retrieved 2014-02-04.
  13. ^ "Newsfeed : AIDS Deaths Go Unreported in Washington, DC". Poz.com. 2008-06-16. Retrieved 2014-02-04.
  14. ^ Underreporting of Births and Infant Deaths in Rural China: Evidence from Field Research in One County of Northern China, No. 155 (Sep., 1998), pp. 637-655

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