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ADHD: Facts and Stats

Prevalence in Children

  • According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, approximately three to seven percent of school-age children have ADHD.
  • The lifetime prevalence of ADHD is 9.0 percent in children ages 13 to 18. It is estimated that 1.8 percent of these children have severe symptoms.
  • About one in 20 children in the U.S. have ADHD symptoms. For approximately 80 percent of these children, those symptoms will continue into the teen years, and some will continue to show symptoms into adulthood.

Prevalence in Adults

  • ADHD is present in approximately 4.1 percent of the U.S. adult population, with 41.3 percent of diagnosed adults classified as having severe symptoms. This is equal to approximately 1.7 percent of the total U.S. adult population.

Parent Reporting of ADHD

  • Parent reporting from 2007 indicates that approximately 9.5 percent of children between the ages of four and 17 have been diagnosed with ADHD. This translates to a total of 5.4 million children in the U.S. with an ADHD diagnosis.
  • The number of parents who report having a child with ADHD varies by state, with Nevada having the lowest rate at 5.6 percent and North Carolina having the highest rate at 15.6 percent.
  • Hispanic children are less likely than non-Hispanic white or non-Hispanic black children to have parent-reported ADHD.  

Increase in ADHD Diagnosis

  • The number of reported cases of ADHD increased by 22 percent between 2003 and 2007.  
  • Between 1997 and 2006, the rate of annual increase in the diagnosis of ADHD was three percent. Between 2003 and 2006 this rose to a 5.5 percent increase per year.

ADHD and Gender

  • Boys are diagnosed with ADHD at more than double the rate girls are. This translates to 13.2 percent of boys and 5.6 percent of girls.

Complications of ADHD

  • Children with ADHD have three times as many problems with peer interactions as children without a diagnosis of ADHD. In addition, 20.6 percent of parents of a child diagnosed with ADHD report friendship difficulties for their child, compared to the non-ADHD population at two percent.
  • Children diagnosed with ADHD are more likely to have major injuries (59 percent vs. 49 percent), more likely to receive outpatient care (41 percent vs. 43 percent), more likely to be hospitalized (26 percent vs. 18 percent), and more likely to be seen in an emergency room (81 percent vs. 74 percent) as non-diagnosed children of the same age.  

ADHD Medications

  • In 2007 parents of 2.7 million children ages 4-17 years (66.3% of those with a diagnosis of ADHD) reported that their child was taking medications for the disorder.
  • Boys are 2.8 times more likely to be prescribed ADHD medications than girls. Children between the ages of 11 and 17 are more likely to be medicated than those younger than 10.  

ADHD and Healthcare Costs

  • Using a national average diagnosis rate of five percent, the annual healthcare cost of ADHD in the U.S. is between 36 and 52 billion dollars (in 2005 dollars). This translates to approximately $12,000 to $17,500 per individual, per year.  
  • The total cost of ADHD in the U.S. in 2000 was $31.6 billion. Of this total:  
    • $1.6 billion was for the treatment of patients.
    • $12.1 billion was for all other health care costs of persons with ADHD.
    • $14.2 billion was for all other health care costs of family members of patients with ADHD.
    • $3.7 billion was the cost of work lost by adults with ADHD and adult family members of persons with ADHD.

ADHD Worldwide

  • In the 10 countries studied, an estimated 143.8 million days of productivity per year were lost due to ADHD.
  • A lower rate of ADHD is reported in Sweden, Iceland, Australia, Italy, and Spain, which report between 2.4 and 7.5 percent prevalence. 

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Written by: the Healthline Editorial Team

This feature is for informational purposes only and should not be used to replace the care and information received from your health care provider. Please consult a health care professional with any health concerns you may have.
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