Statistical Prevalence of ADHD
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Lots of Data!
In addition to the information presented here, also see CDC's helpful page on ADHD Data and Statistics, which breaks down some of the data this way:
- ADHD Throughout the Years
- Diagnosis Data
- Treatment Data
Sections on this page include:
- General Prevalence of ADHD in Children and Adolescents
- ADHD Prevalence Breakdowns for Children Ages 3 - 17
- General Prevalence of AD/HD in Adults in the United States
- ADHD in the US Population - brief fact sheet (pdf) prepared by the National Resource Center on ADHD
General Prevalence of ADHD in Children and Adolescents in the United States:
There are several sources for information on the statistical prevalence of AD/HD among school-age children. These include:
1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Vital and Health Statistics (PDF; December 2010; Series 10, Number 247). For children ages 3-17 years of age, highlighted data include:
- 5 million children (9% of this age group) have ADHD.
- Boys (12%) continue to be more than twice as likely than girls (5%) to have ADHD.
- When compared with children who have excellent or very good health, children who have fair or poor health status are more than twice as likely to have ADHD (8% vs. 21%).
2. CDC publication Vital and Health Statistics (PDF; July 2008) reports that the incidence of AD/HD diagnoses increased an average of 3% annually between 1997 and 2006.
3. The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) periodically publishes The Numbers Count: Mental Disorders in America. The 2001 version of this publication states: "ADHD, one of the most common mental disorders in children and adolescents, affects an estimated 4.1 % of youths ages 9 to 17 in a 6-month period." The 2008 edition states: "The median age of onset of AD/HD is 7 years..."
4. Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA; January 2001) and Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine (March 2002) cite Mayo Clinic studies that use 7.5%.
5. Report of the U.S. Surgeon General on Mental Health (1999) states that 3 to 5% of school-age children have AD/HD. Based on the January 2001 General Accounting Office (GAO) report stating that there are 46.6 million public school students, this would mean there are at least between 1.4 million (3%) and 2.3 million (5%) school-age children with AD/HD (cf. 1999 Report of the Surgeon General, chapter 3 [PDF])
6. CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR, Sept. 2, 2005) reports:
- Between 3 and 7% of school-age children have ADHD.
- Prevalence rates vary between states, with Colorado having the lowest rate at 5% and Alabama having the highest rate of 11.1%.
- 2.5 million children between the ages of 4 and 17 (56% of those diagnosed) received medication treatment for AD/HD as of 2003.
- Children between the ages of 9 and 12 showed the highest prevalence of medication treatment for AD/HD as of 2003.
7. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offer Data and Statistics on ADHD through the National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities.
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ADHD Prevalence Data for Children Between Ages 3 - 17:
These data are taken from CDC's Vital and Health Statistics (December 2010; Series 10, Number 247).
- 2.1 million children between the ages of 5 to 11 have ADHD (7.6%)
- 3 million children between the ages of 12 to 17 have ADHD (12.2%)
By Ethnic Background:
- White (non Hispanic): 4.1 million children have ADHD (8.7%)
- Black or African American: 904,000 children have ADHD (9.8%)
- Hispanic or Latino: 659,000 children have ADHD (5%)
By Family Structure:
- Mother and father: 3.1 million children have ADHD (7.3 %)
- Mother, no father: 1.7 million children have ADHD (11.1 %)
- Father, no mother: 178,000 children have ADHD (8.7 %)
- Neither mother nor father: 316,000 children have AD/HD (15.37 %)
Breakdown on co-occurring conditions:
These are data on the most common co-occurring conditions as reported in ADHD characteristics: I. Concurrent co-morbidity patterns in children & adolescents, (Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Mental Health, July 2008).
- The most prevalent co-occurring disorder with ADHD is Oppositional Defiance Disorder (ODD), appearing 41 % of the time.
- Minor Depression/Dysthymia (MDDD) was second, with a rate of 22%.
- Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) was third, appearing 15% of the time.
Breakdown of co-occurring conditions by ADHD subtype:
In predominantly inattentive subtype:
- 21 % had MDDD.
- 21 % ODD.
- 19 % GAD.
In predominantly hyperactive-impulsive subtype:
- 42 % had ODD.
- 22 % GAD.
- 19 % MDDD.
In combined subtype:
- 50.7% had ODD.
- 22.7% MDDD.
- 12.4% GAD.
Breakdown by ADHD subtype:
This data were reported in Prevalence, Recognition, and Treatment of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder in a National Sample of US Children, (Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, September 2007).
- Total Sample: 3082
- AD/HD all types: 222
- Inattentive subtype: 95
- Combined type: 72
- Hyperactive-Impulsive type: 55
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General Prevalence of ADHD in Adults in the United States:
- The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) funded the National Comorbidity Survey Replication (NCS-R), (American Journal of Psychiatry, April 2006). This study estimated that 4.4% of adults between ages 18 and 44 experience some symptoms and disabilities from AD/HD.
- CNS Spectrum: The International Journal of Neuropsychiatric Medicine (August 2008) features an expert roundtable supplement titled Best Practices in Adult ADHD: Epidemiology, Impairments, and Differential Diagnosis. This publication states that about 4% of the adult population in the U.S. has AD/HD.
Last Updated January 2013
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