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Statistical Prevalence of ADHD

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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:

  1. ADHD Throughout the Years
  2. Diagnosis Data (infographic)
  3. Treatment Data

Sections on this page include:

  1. General Prevalence in Children and Adolescents (infographic)
  2. General Prevalence in Adults in the United States
  3. ADHD in the US Population - brief fact sheet (pdf) prepared by the National Resource Center on ADHD 
  4. Global Prevalence of ADHD

General Prevalence of ADHD in Children and Adolescents in the United States:

There are several sources for information on the statistical prevalence of ADHD among school-age children. The most recent estimates based on national surveys are provided here:

1.  Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Key Findings: Trends in the Parent-Report of Health Care Provider-Diagnosis and Medication Treatment for ADHD: United States, 2003-2011 [data from the National Survey of Children's Health (NSCH) 2003 to 2011].  For children ages 4-17 years of age, highlighted data include:

  • 5.1 million children (8.8% or 1 in 11 of this age group 4-17 years) have a current diagnosis of ADHD:
    • 6.8% of children ages 4-10 (1 in 15)
    • 11.4% of children ages 11-14 (1 in 9)
    • 10.2% of children ages 15-17 (1 in 10)
  • The average age of current ADHD diagnosis was 6.2 years, including:
    • "Mild" ADHD diagnosed at 7 years,
    •  "Moderate" ADHD diagnosed at 6.1 years, and
    •  "Severe" ADHD diagnosed at 4.4 years.
  • 3.5 million children (69% of children with current ADHD) were taking medication for ADHD.
  • Boys (12.1%) continue to be more than twice as likely than girls (5.5%) to have current ADHD.
  • Current ADHD prevalence rates vary between states, with Nevada having the lowest rate at 4.2% and Kentucky having the highest rate of 14.8%.
  • According to the parent reports, 6.4 million children (11% of this age group 4-17 years) have ever been diagnosed with ADHD, and rates of ever-diagnosed ADHD increased an average of approximately 5% per year from 2003 to 2011.
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2.  These data are taken from CDC's Summary Health Statistics for U.S. Children: National Health Interview Survey, 2009 (December 2010; Series 10, Number 247)

By Age:

  • 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 %)

By State:

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.
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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

General Prevalence of ADHD in Adults in the United States:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.

Global Prevalence of ADHD

  1. The worldwide-pooled prevalence of ADHD for persons age 18 and under was 5.29%, based on a review of 102 studies comprising 171,756 subjects from all world regions. 
    [Source: Polanczyk et al. (2007 June), The worldwide prevalence of ADHD: a systematic review and metaregression analysis, American Journal of Psychiatry, June 2007, v164 n6, pp. 942-948].
  2. Global ADHD prevalence for males aged 5-19 is 2.2% and for females 0.7%, based on a review of 44 studies covering 21 world regions.
    [Source: Erskine et al. (2013 December), Research Review: Epidemiological modelling of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder and conduct disorder for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2010, Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, v54 n12, pp. 1263-1274].
  3. A meta-analysis of 175 studies worldwide on ADHD prevalence in children found an overall pooled estimate of 7.2%.
    [Source: Rae, Thomas et al. (March 2015), Prevalence of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis, Pediatrics]
Updated: January 2014

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