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2023 ADHD Statistics at a Glance

Jennifer Wirth forbes.com 2023-06-06T11:41:11-04:00

8 minute read


ADHD Statistics at a Glance

  • ADHD is more commonly diagnosed in Black, non-Hispanic children (12%) than white children (10%), Hispanic children (8%) and non-Hispanic children (3%)[1].
  • An estimated 77% of U.S. children diagnosed with ADHD receive treatment, while the remaining 23% receive no treatment[2].
  • Of the children receiving treatment for ADHD, approximately 32% are treated with both medication and behavioral treatment, 30% are treated with medication only and 15% receive behavioral treatment only[2].
  • Among states in the U.S., Mississippi has the highest prevalence of children currently diagnosed with ADHD (14.4%), while California has the lowest prevalence of children currently diagnosed with ADHD (5.3%)[3].
  • Within the U.S., Louisiana has the highest prevalence of children to ever be diagnosed with ADHD (16.3%), whereas California has the lowest prevalence of children to ever be diagnosed with ADHD (6.1%)[3].
  • An estimated 35% to 78% of children diagnosed with ADHD maintain symptoms as an adult[4].
  • High school graduates with ADHD earn an average of 17% less annual income than those without ADHD[5].
  • Childhood ADHD is associated with an increased risk of death before the age of 46[6].
  • Adult ADHD is associated with a substantial economic burden, contributing an estimated $122.8 billion in total societal excess cost due to unemployment, productivity loss and health care services[4].

How Many People Have ADHD?

  • An estimated 265,000 U.S. children ages 3 to 5 years have been diagnosed with ADHD[1].
  • An estimated 2.4 million U.S. children ages 6 to 11 years have been diagnosed with ADHD[1].
  • An estimated 3.3 million U.S. children ages 12 to 17 years have been diagnosed with ADHD[1].
  • Approximately 129 million children and adolescents worldwide between the ages of 5 to 19 years old have ADHD[7].
  • More than 366 million adults worldwide have ADHD as of 2020[8].

Individuals with ADHD often experience a myriad of challenges including difficulty concentrating, staying organized and managing time, which can have a drastic impact on daily functioning and lead to long-term problems, such as academic failure or difficulties in interpersonal relationships, says Harold Hong, M.D., a board-certified psychiatrist and medical director at New Waters Recovery, an addiction and mental health treatment center in Raleigh, North Carolina.

“Early diagnosis and intervention services are essential for recognizing and managing the signs of ADHD,” says Dr. Hong, who adds that more flexible work and school environments, adequate access to health services and more societal awareness of the condition can drastically improve the outcome for both children and adults with ADHD.

Statistics on ADHD Diagnosis in Children

  • The average age for an ADHD diagnosis is 7, but children with more severe ADHD are more commonly diagnosed at a younger age[9].
  • An estimated 9.8% (almost 6 million) of U.S. children ages 3 to 17 years old have ever been diagnosed with ADHD, compared to 8.7% (over 5 million of U.S. children with a current ADHD diagnoses[2].
  • Boys are more likely to be diagnosed with ADHD than girls in the U.S., with approximately 11.9% of boys ages 3 to 17 years diagnosed with ADHD currently, compared to 5.5% of girls[2].

Symptom presentation is a common problem for getting a proper ADHD diagnosis: Boys are more likely to be diagnosed because of behavior difficulties, whereas girls are often overlooked because their symptoms may present differently, says Julie Angileri, a double board-certified psychiatric mental health and family nurse practitioner with Capstone Mental Health in Mesa, Arizona. “It’s important to educate teachers and parents on what to look for with regards to ADHD in children, such as daydreaming, interrupting conversations, impulsive behaviors, talking too much in class and becoming easily frustrated,” says Angileri.

A proper ADHD diagnosis during childhood will give children the opportunity to meet their potential as students and as adults, says Angileri, who adds that early intervention can help children avoid many of the difficulties associated with ADHD, such as difficulty with grades, relationships and other mental health concerns, like anxiety and depression.

Statistics on ADHD Diagnosis in Adults

  • An estimated 8.7 million adults in the U.S. have ADHD[4].
  • Approximately 2.6% (139.8 million) of adults worldwide have persistent ADHD from childhood, which includes individuals who experienced childhood onset paired with continued ADHD symptoms into adulthood[8].
  • Approximately 6.8% (366.3 million) adults worldwide have symptomatic ADHD, which includes individuals diagnosed with ADHD regardless of the onset age[8].
  • The prevalence of worldwide symptomatic adult ADHD decreases with age; 18- to 24-year-olds contribute to more than 75.5 million cases of symptomatic adult ADHD, while individuals over 60 r contribute to about 46.4 million cases[8].

ADHD is more likely to go undetected in adults than in children. This is partly due to the adults’ lack of daily contact with people adept at recognizing ADHD, such as school teachers, explains David Feifel, M.D., a board-certified psychiatrist, neuroscientist and professor of psychiatry at University of California San Diego. Undiagnosed ADHD can have a significant negative impact on the lives of adults, says Dr. Feifel, who adds that adults with untreated ADHD are more likely to experience job and relationship instability, substance abuse and driving accidents.

“Identifying and treating adult ADHD can have a dramatic and rapid improvement in the lives of the individuals with ADHD, as well as in the lives of those around them, namely spouses and children who are impacted by the adult’s behaviors,” says Dr. Feifel.

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