Abstract: Objective: To describe the reasons homeless young people leave home and differences between males and females. Methods: Homeless young people between the ages of 12 and 20 years (n=692) completed surveys conducted by trained interviewers using Questionnaire Delivery System on laptop computers as part of a large study. Participants indicated the importance of each of 22 reasons for leaving home on a four-point scale, from ‘not important’ (1) to ‘very important’ (4). Results: Conflict with parents was the only reason reported as important by at least two-thirds of respondents. Desire for independence and/or adventure was rated as important by nearly one-half of young men and women. Eighteen reasons were rated as ‘not or somewhat important‘ by most young people. These included issues associated with school, sexuality, sexual abuse and trouble with the law. Young women were more likely than young men to report that sexual abuse, anxiety/depression, and/or pregnancy were important reasons for leaving home. The converse held for personal alcohol and drug abuse, trouble with the police, and breach of community order or parole. With few exceptions, importance ratings of the 22 reasons were not highly correlated. Conclusions and Implications: Service providers should consider how the diverse elements of family environment contribute to homelessness. A focus on familial problems may lead to other important reasons being overlooked, namely a desire for independence and adventure. Services and supports need to take into account whether young people leave home because of a life crisis or because they seek independence.