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General Prevalence

GLOBAL

A meta-analysis of 175 research studies worldwide on ADHD prevalence in children aged 18 and under found an overall pooled estimate of 7.2% (Thomas et al. 2015). The US Census Bureau estimates 1,795,734,009 people were aged 5-19 worldwide in 2013. Thus, 7.2% of this total population is 129 million—a rough estimate of the  number of children worldwide who have ADHD.

Based on DSM-IV screening of 11,422 adults for ADHD in 10 countries in the Americas, Europe and the Middle East, the estimates of worldwide adult ADHD prevalence averaged 3.4% (Fayyad et al. 2007)

 

UNITED STATES

Children & Adolescents

Analysis of parent-reported data from the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) 2011–2013 found the following (Pastor et al. 2015):

  • 9.5% of children ages 4–17 years were ever diagnosed with ADHD 
  • By age groups:
    • 2.7% of children ages 4–5
    • 9.5% of children ages 6–11
    • 11.8% of children ages 12–17
  • By gender: 
    • 13.3% of boys
    • 5.6% of girls
  • By race/ethnicity:
    • 11.5% non-Hispanic white children
    • 8.9% non-Hispanic black children
    • 6.3% Hispanic children

The same study found the rate of ADHD diagnosis increased from 7.0% in 19971999 to 10.2% in 20122014. During this period, prevalence increased among non-Hispanic white children from 8.5% to 12.5%, among non-Hispanic black children from 5.5% to 9.6%, and among Hispanic children from 3.8% to 6.4%.

The National Survey of Children’s Health (NSCH) 20032011based on parent interviewshighlights the following data for children aged 417 (US CDC 2014):

  • 5.1 million children (8.8% or 1 in 11 of this age group 417 years) have a current diagnosis of ADHD:
    • 6.8% of children ages 410 (1 in 15)
    • 11.4% of children ages 1114 (1 in 9)
    • 10.2% of children ages 1517 (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 417 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.
Infographic:

 

Children in Elementary School

According to a recent population-based study using DSM-IV criteria, 15.5% of school children enrolled in Grades 1 to 5 have ADHD. The study combined the results of rating scales filled out by teachers and telephone interviews of parents for 7,847 children (Rowland et al. 2015).

 

Adults

According to a screen for ADHD in 3,199 adults aged 1844 from the National Comorbidity Survey Replication (NCS-R), 4.4% of US adults have ADHD. Of these adults with ADHD, 38% are women and 62% are men (Kessler et al. 2006).

 

References

Fayyad J. et al. (May 2007). Cross-national prevalence and correlates of adult attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. British Journal of Psychiatry, 190(5):402409. http://dx.doi.org/10.1192/bjp.bp.106.034389

Pastor, Patricia N. (August 28, 2015). QuickStats: Percentage of Children and Adolescents Aged 5–17 Years with Diagnosed Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), by Race and Hispanic Ethnicity — National Health Interview Survey, United States, 1997–2014, Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) 64(33):925925.

Pastor, Pastor N. et al. (2015). Association between diagnosed ADHD and selected characteristics among children aged 4–17 years: United States, 2011–2013. NCHS data brief, no 201. Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics.

Ronald C. Kessler et al. (April 2006). The Prevalence and Correlates of Adult ADHD in the United States: Results From the National Comorbidity Survey Replication, American Journal of Psychiatry 163(5):71.

Rowland, Andrew et al. (September 2015). The Prevalence of ADHD in a Population-Based Sample. Journal of Attention Disorders v19(9):741754.

Thomas, Rae et al. (April 2015). Prevalence of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. Pediatrics, 135(4), pp. e994e1001.

U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2014). Key Findings: Trends in the Parent-Report of Health Care Provider-Diagnosis and Medication Treatment for ADHD: United States, 20032011.

US. Census Bureau, Population Division. World Midyear Population by Age and Sex for 2013

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