We've come a long way in our understanding of diabetes. Less than a century ago, the most advanced "treatment" for the condition was a starvation diet, marked by repeated fasting and undernourishment, according to the Nutrition Journal. Thank goodness that line of thinking didn't last more than a few years.
The more we know about diabetes, the better we're able to manage the condition. That's where statistics play a role. Looking at the numbers around diabetes helps us better understand who the condition affects and how, which advances our ability to prevent, screen for and treat it, ultimately improving the lives of those with diabetes.
In the U.S., that's 34 million adults, and most of them have type 2 diabetes, according to a 2020 report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Read on to learn more type 2 diabetes statistics.
Type 1 vs. Type 2 Diabetes
Both type 1 and type 2 diabetes are characterized by high blood sugar levels. People with type 1 diabetes have trouble producing a hormone called insulin, which helps shuttle glucose out of the bloodstream and into the body's cells to be stored as energy. In people with type 2 diabetes, the cells don't absorb insulin properly, so the body's blood sugar levels stay elevated, according to the American Diabetes Association (ADA).
Worldwide Prevalence of Diabetes
Diabetes is one of the fastest-growing health conditions in the world, according to the International Diabetes Federation (IDF). Here's a look at just how common it is across the globe.
- Worldwide, about 463 million adults ages 20 to 79 have diabetes (type 1 and type 2), according to the IDF.
- Those numbers are expected to grow by about 50% by 2045, when approximately 700 million people are estimated to be living with diabetes.
- The vast majority of people with diabetes — 90% to 95% of cases — have type 2 diabetes, according to the CDC and IDF.
- An estimated 1.1 million children under the age of 20 have type 1 diabetes, according to the IDF. (The IDF says it's not possible to estimate the number of children with type 2 diabetes.)
- Slightly more men than women have diabetes (type 1 or type 2), according to the IDF. About 9.6% of men have diabetes, while about 9% of women have diabetes.
- In 2019, an estimated 4.2 million people died from diabetes and diabetes complications, according to the IDF.
Diabetes Statistics by Region and Country
According to the IDF, the incidence of any type of diabetes in 2019 was:
- North America and the Caribbean: 48 million people
- South and Central America: 32 million people
- Africa: 19 million people
- Europe: 59 million people
- South-East Asia: 88 million people
- Middle East and North Africa: 55 million people
- Western Pacific: 163 million people
And the countries with the highest number of people with diabetes were:
- China: 116.4 million
- India: 77 million
- United States of America: 31 million
- Pakistan: 19.4 million
- Brazil: 16.8 million
- Mexico: 12.8 million
- Indonesia: 10.7 million
- Germany: 9.5 million
- Egypt: 8.9 million
- Bangladesh: 8.4 million
Diabetes Prevalence in the United States
The United States ranks third in the world when it comes to the number of people with diabetes (both type 1 and type 2). Here's what diabetes prevalence looks like in the U.S. in more detail.
Adults With Diabetes
- About 34.2 million people in the U.S. — 10.5% of the population — have diabetes (type 1 or type 2), according to 2018 estimates from the CDC.
- Approximately 90% to 95% of those people have type 2, according to the CDC, which works out to between 30.7 and 32.5 million people.
- 26.9 million people (8.2% of the population) have actually received a diagnosis of diabetes.
- Another 7.3 million people (2.8% of the population) aren't aware they have diabetes.
- About 1 in 145 people were newly diagnosed with diabetes in 2018, according to the CDC.
Diabetes Prevalence by Age
The percentage of people with both diagnosed and undiagnosed diabetes of either type increases with age, according to the CDC, affecting:
- 26.8% of people ages 65 and older
- 17.5% of people ages 45 to 64
- 4.2% of people ages 18 to 44
Diabetes Stats by Ethnicity
According to the CDC, diabetes (type 1 or type 2) occurs in:
- 14.7% of American Indians/Alaska Natives
- 14.4% of Mexican Americans
- 12.6% of Asian Indian Americans
- 12.5% of Hispanic Americans
- 12.4% of Puerto Ricans
- 11.7% of Black Americans
- 10.4% of Filipino Americans
- 10% of Asian Americans
- 8.3% of Central and South Americans
- 7.5% of white Americans
- 6.5% of Cuban Americans
- 5.6% of Chinese Americans
Diabetes by State and Territory
Of the 50 states in the U.S., Colorado has the lowest percentage of adults with type 1 or type 2 diabetes (6.2), while Alabama has the highest percentage (13.2), according to the CDC's 2019 Diabetes Report Card. This is the full breakdown of diabetes prevalence by state:
- Alabama: 13.2%
- Alaska: 7.7%
- Arizona: 9.7%
- Arkansas: 12.1%
- California: 9.7%
- Colorado: 6.2%
- Connecticut: 8.5%
- Delaware: 9.1%
- District of Columbia: 8.4%
- Florida: 9.8%
- Georgia: 11.4%
- Guam: 11.3%
- Hawaii: 9.5%
- Idaho: 8.1%
- Illinois: 9.5%
- Indiana: 10.4%
- Iowa: 8.1%
- Kansas: 8.5%
- Kentucky: 11.8%
- Louisiana: 11.1%
- Maine: 8.5%
- Maryland: 9.8%
- Massachussets: 8.3%
- Michigan: 9.8%
- Minnesota: 7.6%
- Mississippi: 12.4%
- Missouri: 10.2%
- Montana: 6.9%
- Nebraska: 8%
- Nevada: 10.1%
- New Hampshire: 7.7%
- New Jersey: 8.1%
- New Mexico: 10.4%
- New York: 9.4%
- North Carolina: 10.1%
- North Dakota: 8.2%
- Ohio: 9.7%
- Oklahoma: 10.9%
- Oregon: 8.4%
- Pennsylvania: 9.6%
- Puerto Rico: 13.7%
- Rhode Island: 8.6%
- South Carolina: 11.5%
- South Dakota: 6.9%
- Tennessee: 11.2%
- Texas: 10.9%
- Utah: 7.7%
- Vermont: 7.3%
- U.S. Virgin Islands: 11.9%
- Virginia: 9.6%
- Washington: 8.6%
- West Virginia: 12.7%
- Wisconsin: 8.6%
- Wyoming: 7.6%
Prediabetes is a condition marked by higher-than-average blood sugar levels that aren't quite high enough to be considered diabetes, according to the CDC. People who have been diagnosed with prediabetes have a 50 percent chance of progressing to type 2 diabetes within the next five to 10 years, according to the National Institute for Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.
Here are a few key prediabetes stats:
Gestational Diabetes Data
Gestational diabetes — a form of diabetes that develops during pregnancy — affects 2 to 10 percent of pregnancies in the United States, according to the CDC. Gestational diabetes usually develops around week 24 of pregnancy.
About 50 percent of those who have gestational diabetes will later develop type 2 diabetes, according to the CDC.
Diabetes Complications and Management Data
Unfortunately, there's a long list of diabetes comorbidities that can contribute to a lower quality of life or even death, including conditions like high blood pressure and kidney disease, as well as mental health concerns like depression and anxiety. Below is a look at data on health issues that commonly coexist with diabetes (both type 1 and type 2).
- Diabetes was the seventh leading cause of death in the U.S. in 2017, according to the American Diabetes Association (ADA).
- 35% to 40% of people with diabetes who died had diabetes listed anywhere on their death certificates, while10% to 15% had it listed as the underlying cause of death.
- In 2016, 224,000 people with diabetes were treated in the emergency room for hyperglycemia (too-high blood sugar levels), according to the CDC, and 235,000 were treated for hypoglycemia (too-low blood sugar levels).
- People with diabetes are two to three times more likely to have depression than people who don't have diabetes, according to the CDC.
- Only 25% to 50% of people with diabetes who have depression will get diagnosed and treated for it, according to the CDC.
- People with diabetes are 20% more likely than people without diabetes to have anxiety, according to the CDC.
- In 2016, there were 7.8 million discharges from the hospital among Americans with diabetes ages 18 and older, according to the CDC.
- In the U.S., diabetes is the leading cause of new cases of blindness in adults ages 18 to 64, according to the CDC.
- Among people with diabetes, 68.4% have high blood pressure, and 43.5% have high cholesterol, according to the CDC.
- About 36.5% of Americans ages 20 and older who have diabetes also have chronic kidney disease, according to the CDC.
Diabetes Management Stats
While diabetes is a serious health concern, there are many things people can do to manage the condition and live well after a diagnosis. Here are statistics on common methods for managing type 1 and type 2 diabetes.
- In the U.S., 77.8% of people with diabetes get regular care from at least one health care professional, according to the CDC.
- About 24.2% of Americans with diabetes exercise for at least 150 minutes a week, according to the CDC.
- 38% of Americans with diabetes are physically inactive, which can put them at risk for diabetes-related complications, according to the CDC.
- Approximately 77.1% of Americans with diabetes have managed or lost weight to lower their risk of developing certain diseases, according to the CDC.
- About 58.4% of Americans ages 40 to 75 who have diabetes take statins (medications to manage cholesterol levels), according to the CDC.
- 21.6% of U.S. adults who have diabetes use tobacco, which can put them at risk for diabetes-related complications, according to the CDC. (About 15% currently smoke cigarettes.)
- 89% of U.S. adults who have diabetes are living with overweight or obesity, according to the CDC.
A1C Levels Data
- 22.3% of people with diabetes have an A1C of 7% to 7.9%
- 13.2% of people with diabetes have an A1C of 8% to 9%
- 14.6% of people with diabetes have an A1C that's higher than 9%
The Cost of Diabetes
In 2017, the estimated national cost of diabetes (both type 1 and type 2) in the U.S. was $327 billion, according to May 2018 research in Diabetes Care.
- $237 billion is spent on diabetes-related health care.
- Nearly $15 billion is spent on insulin, $15.9 billion is spent on other anti-diabetes meds and $71.2 billion is spent on other prescription medications for diseases that are associated with diabetes.
- $90 billion is attributed to lost productivity, including work-related absenteeism, reduced productivity at work, unemployment from disability and premature mortality.
- About 24% of all health care dollars — approximately $414 billion — goes toward treating people with diabetes.
Is This an Emergency?
- American Diabetes Association: "Diabetes Symptoms, Causes, & Treatment"
- International Diabetes Federation: "Diabetes Atlas 2019"
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: "National Diabetes Statistics Report 2020"
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: "Prevalence of Both Diagnosed and Undiagnosed Diabetes"
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: "Gestational Diabetes"
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: "Diabetes and Mental Health"
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: "Diabetes: Coexisting Conditions and Complications"
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: "Risk Factors for Diabetes-Related Complications"
- American Diabetes Association: "Statistics About Diabetes"
- National Institute for Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases: "Insulin Resistance & Prediabetes"
- Nutrition Journal: "Why were 'starvation diets' promoted for diabetes in the pre-insulin period?"