ADHD Statistics: New ADD Facts and Research
How common is ADHD? More than 6 million (9.4 percent) of children in the U.S. have an ADD diagnosis, according to the latest data. Read on for more ADHD statistics, facts, and information regarding attention deficit in kids and adults.
ADHD Statistics: How Common is ADHD?
ADHD Prevalence in Children
About 6.1 million children in the United States (9.4 percent) between ages 2 to 17 are estimated to have ever been diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD or ADD), according to a 2016 study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).1
This figure includes:
- 388,000 (2.4 percent) of young children aged 2 to 5 years
- 2.4 million (9.6 percent) of school-age children aged 6 to 11 years
- 3.3 million (13.6 percent) of adolescents aged 12 to 17 years
The same study found that boys are more likely to have ever been diagnosed with ADHD than were girls (12.9 percent and 5.6 percent, respectively).
Research, however, suggests that ADHD affects a greater number of girls than typically and traditionally reported. ADHD may be missed in girls because of the way their symptoms tend to manifest compared to boys’, which may reflect a general bias in the diagnostic process.2
ADHD Prevalence in Adults
Prevalence estimates for adult ADHD in the U.S. vary. One 2019 study estimates an adult ADHD prevalence of 0.96 percent – doubling from 0.43 percent a decade prior.6
ADHD Statistics: Children with ADHD
Estimates on the number of children diagnosed with ADHD in the U.S. have changed over the years. Per a 2014 CDC study:9
- In 2003, 7.8 percent of children were ever diagnosed with ADHD
- In 2007: 9.5 percent
- In 2011: 11 percent
ADHD Treatment in Children
About 75 percent of children with ADHD in the U.S. undergo some type of ADHD treatment.1
- 31.7 percent of children with ADHD receive ADHD medication and behavioral treatment
- 30.3 percent take ADHD medication only
- 14.9 percent undergo behavioral treatment only
- 62 percent of children with ADHD are currently taking ADHD medication1
- 18.2 percent of 2 to 5 year olds with ADHD
- 68.6 percent of 6 to 11 year olds with ADHD
- 62.1 percent of 12 to 17 year olds with ADHD
- 46.7 percent of children with ADHD receive behavioral treatment1
- 59.5 percent of 2 to 5 year olds with ADHD
- 51.4 percent of 6 to 11 year olds with ADHD
- 41.7 percent of 12 to 17 year olds with ADHD
- 80 percent of children with ADHD received school-based supports
- 40 percent underwent social-skills training
- 31 percent participated in parent training
- 20 percent received cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
- Nearly two thirds of children with ADHD have at least one other condition.1
- 51.5 percent of children with ADHD have behavioral or conduct problems
- 32.7 percent have anxiety problems
- 16.8 percent have depression
- 13.7 percent have been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD)
- 1.2 percent have Tourette syndrome
- About 45 percent have a learning disorder11
- Children with ADHD are 12 times more likely to have Loss of Control Eating Syndrome (LOC-ES), a type of eating disorder similar to binge eating disorder in adults.12
ADHD Statistics: Adults with ADHD
- Adult ADHD diagnosis rates are rising.
- ADHD diagnoses among adults are growing four times faster than are ADHD diagnoses among children in the United States (26.4% increase among children compared to 123.3 percent among adults).6
- Still, ADHD is thought to be underdiagnosed in adults compared to children.
Most scientists believe adult ADHD remains underdiagnosed13 because diagnostic criteria for ADHD in the DSM-V were developed for children, and because adults with ADHD often have comorbid psychiatric disorders that may mask the symptoms of ADHD.14
- Adult ADHD frequently co-occurs with other, comorbid conditions.
- According to a 2017 meta analysis15:
- Rates of comorbid bipolar disorder in adults with ADHD are estimated between 5.1 and 47.1 percent.
- Roughly one-fifth to one-half of adults with ADHD have major depressive disorder/dysthymia.
- About half of individuals with ADHD have some type of anxiety disorder.
- Personality disorders are present in more than 50 percent of adults with ADHD
- Substance Abuse Disorder
- The link between ADHD and substance abuse disorder (SUD) is well-documented. Studies suggest that 25 to 40 percent of adults with SUD also have ADHD.16
- People with ADHD are at least 1.5 times more likely to develop substance abuse disorders to substances like nicotine, alcohol, marijuana, and cocaine.17
- According to a 2017 meta analysis15:
ADHD Statistics: Demographics, Race & Ethnicity
- According to a 2020 data brief from the National Center for Health Statistics:18
- Black children aged 3 to 17 years are more likely to have ever been diagnosed with ADHD or a learning disability (16.9 percent) compared to white (14.7 percent) and Hispanic children (11.9 percent).
- Children in the lowest income brackets are more likely to be diagnosed with ADHD or a learning disability compared to children in families with income above the federal poverty level (18.7 percent vs 12.7 percent).
- Black and white children, regardless of family income, are more likely to be diagnosed with ADHD or a learning disability compared to Hispanic children.
- Children with parents who have a high school education or less are more likely to be diagnosed with ADHD (15.4 percent) compared to children with parents with more than a high school education (12.8 percent).
- Children living in the U.S. South are more likely to have ever received an ADHD diagnosis compared to peers in other regions.1
- South: 11 percent
- Midwest: 8.4 percent
- Northeast: 8.4 percent
- West: 6.8 percent
- Children living in rural areas are more likely to have ever been diagnosed with ADHD compared to their urban/suburban peers.1
- Rural: 11.8 percent
- Urban/suburban: 9 percent
- ADHD diagnosis rates among adults of all race/ethnic groups are rising, but disparities remain (prevalence figures from 2006 to 2017):6
- White: 0.67 to 1.42 percent
- Asian: 0.11 to 0.35 percent
- Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander: 0.11 to 0.39 percent
- Black: 0.22 to 0.69 percent
- Hispanic: 0.25 to 0.65 percent
- American Indian and Alaskan Native: 0.56 to 1.14 percent
ADHD Statistics: More Facts
Children with ADHD
- Most children with ADHD have moderate to mild symptoms.1
- Moderate: 43.7 percent
- Mild: 41.8 percent
- Severe: 14.5 percent
- Raising a child with ADHD costs five times more than raising a child without the condition, according to a study that found neurotypical families spend an average of $2,848 per child each year compared to $15,036 spent by families with ADHD children.19
- At least one in five students with ADHD does not receive needed school-based intervention services.20
- Approximately 41 percent21 to 55 percent22 of families with at least one child diagnosed with ADHD have at least one parent with the disorder.
- Teens drivers diagnosed with ADHD are more likely to be in a traffic accident, be issued traffic and moving violations, and engage in risky driving behaviors.23
- Up to 27 percent of adolescents with substance abuse disorder have comorbid ADHD.24
- Adolescents with ADHD clash with their parents about more issues than do adolescents without ADHD.25
- Adolescent girls with ADHD are more likely to struggle with social difficulties and have a poor self-concept compared to boys with ADHD and women without ADHD.26
- Teen boys with ADHD are more likely to experience problems with attendance, GPA, homework, and more in high school.27
- Male teens with ADHD miss school 3 to 10 percent of the time;
- are between 2.7 and 8.1 times more likely to drop out of high school;
- fail 7.5 percent of their courses;
- have GPAs five to nine points lower than those of male teens without ADHD.
- Approximately 2 to 8 percent of college students self-report clinically significant symptoms associated with ADHD.28
Adults with ADHD
- ADHD, especially if untreated, is associated with impaired quality of life for adults.
- Individuals with ADHD are more likely to face difficulty obtaining and maintaining employment compared to adults without ADHD, more so if they did not receive treatment in childhood.29
- Individuals with ADHD are more likely to experience difficulties with all types of relationships (friendships, romantic, familial, etc.).30
Other outcomes associated with adult ADHD include vulnerability to anxiety, mood disorders, addiction, impaired driving safety, and even premature death from accidents.14
ADHD in Women
- From a 2014 review:31
- Symptoms of inattentiveness are more common than are symptoms of hyperactivity and impulsivity in girls and women with ADHD.
- Women with ADHD are more likely to experience low self-esteem compared to men with ADHD and women without ADHD.
- Anxiety and affective disorders commonly co-occur with ADHD in women, who are also more likely to exhibit phobias and have generalized anxiety disorder compared to men with ADHD.
- Even with symptoms present in childhood, diagnosis tends to come in adulthood for a significant proportion of women with ADHD.26
- ADHD medication use is lower in girls and women compared to boys and men with ADHD.2
ADHD Statistics: Next Steps
- Read: Searching for ADHD Facts Beneath a Piles Of Myths
- Learn: 31 ADHD Truths, Facts, Quotes & Surprises
- Discover: ADDitude’s ADHD News & Research Hub
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1 Melissa L. Danielson, Rebecca H. Bitsko, Reem M. Ghandour, Joseph R. Holbrook, Michael D. Kogan & Stephen J. Blumberg. (Jan. 24, 2018). Prevalence of Parent-Reported ADHD Diagnosis and Associated Treatment Among U.S. Children and Adolescents, 2016. Journal of Clinical Child & Adolescent Psychology, 47:2, 199-212, DOI: 10.1080/15374416.2017.1417860. Retrieved from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5834391/pdf/nihms937906.pdf
2 Mowlem, F.D., Rosenqvist, M.A., Martin, J. et al. Sex differences in predicting ADHD clinical diagnosis and pharmacological treatment. Eur Child Adolesc Psychiatry 28, 481–489 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00787-018-1211-3
4 Polanczyk G., De Lima M.S., Horta B.L., Biederman J., Rohde L.A. (2007). The Worldwide Prevalence of ADHD: A Systematic Review and Metaregression Analysis. AM J Psychiatry 164:942–948. Retrieved from: https://ajp.psychiatryonline.org/doi/full/10.1176/ajp.2007.164.6.942?url_ver=Z39.88-2003&rfr_id=ori:rid:crossref.org&rfr_dat=cr_pub%3dpubmed
5 Fayyad, J., Sampson, N.A., Hwang, I. et al. The descriptive epidemiology of DSM-IV Adult ADHD in the World Health Organization World Mental Health Surveys. ADHD Atten Def Hyp Disord 9, 47–65 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12402-016-0208-3
6 Chung W, Jiang S, Paksarian D, et al. Trends in the Prevalence and Incidence of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder Among Adults and Children of Different Racial and Ethnic Groups. JAMA Netw Open. 2019;2(11):e1914344.
7 Bernardi S, Faraone SV, Cortese S, et al. The lifetime impact of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder: results from the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions (NESARC). Psychol Med. 2012;42(4):875-887. doi:10.1017/S003329171100153X
8 Kessler RC, Adler L, Barkley R, et al. The prevalence and correlates of adult ADHD in the United States: results from the National Comorbidity Survey Replication. Am J Psychiatry. 2006;163(4):716-723. doi:10.1176/ajp.2006.163.4.716
9 Visser, S. N. et al. (January 2014). Trends in the Parent-Report of Health Care Provider-Diagnosed and Medicated Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder: United States, 2003–2011. Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry,Volume 53, Issue 1, 34 – 46.e2. DOI: 10.1016/j.jaac.2013.09.001. Retrieved from:https://jaacap.org/article/S0890-8567(13)00594-7/fulltext
10 Danielson, M. L., Visser, S. N., Chronis-Tuscano, A., & DuPaul, G. J. (2018). A National Description of Treatment among United States Children and Adolescents with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder. The Journal of pediatrics, 192, 240–246.e1. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jpeds.2017.08.040
11 DuPaul, G. J., Gormley, M. J., & Laracy, S. D. (2013). Comorbidity of LD and ADHD: implications of DSM-5 for assessment and treatment. Journal of learning disabilities, 46(1), 43–51. https://doi.org/10.1177/0022219412464351
12 Reinblatt, Shauna P., et al. (April 2015). Pediatric Loss of Control Eating Syndrome: Association with Attention‐Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder and Impulsivity. Int. J. Eat. Disord., 48: 580-588. doi:10.1002/eat.22404. Retrieved from: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/eat.22404
13 Ginsberg, Y., Quintero, J., Anand, E., Casillas, M., & Upadhyaya, H. P. (2014). Underdiagnosis of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder in adult patients: a review of the literature. The primary care companion for CNS disorders, 16(3), PCC.13r01600. https://doi.org/10.4088/PCC.13r01600
15 Katzman, M. A., Bilkey, T. S., Chokka, P. R., Fallu, A., & Klassen, L. J. (2017). Adult ADHD and comorbid disorders: clinical implications of a dimensional approach. BMC psychiatry, 17(1), 302. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12888-017-1463-3
16 Zulauf, C. A., Sprich, S. E., Safren, S. A., & Wilens, T. E. (2014). The complicated relationship between attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder and substance use disorders. Current psychiatry reports, 16(3), 436. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11920-013-0436-6
17 Lee, Steve S et al. (2011). Prospective Association of Childhood Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and Substance Use and Abuse/Dependence: A Meta-Analytic Review. Clinical Psychology Review. Vol. 31,3: 328-41. doi:10.1016/j.cpr.2011.01.006. Retrieved from: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0272735811000110?via%3Dihub
18 Zablotsky B, Alford JM. Racial and ethnic differences in the prevalence of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder and learning disabilities among U.S. children aged 3–17 years. NCHS Data Brief, no 358. Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics. 2020.
19 Zhao, Xin, et al. (Feb. 23, 2019). Family Burden of Raising a Child with ADHD. SpringerLink. DOI: 10.1007/s10802-019-00518-5. Retrieved from: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs10802-019-00518-5
20 DuPaul, G. J., Chronis-Tuscano, A., Danielson, M. L., & Visser, S. N. (2019). Predictors of Receipt of School Services in a National Sample of Youth With ADHD. Journal of Attention Disorders, 23(11), 1303–1319. https://doi.org/10.1177/1087054718816169. Retrieved from: https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/1087054718816169?rfr_dat=cr_pub%3Dpubmed&url_ver=Z39.88-2003&rfr_id=ori%3Arid%3Acrossref.org&journalCode=jada
21 Takeda T., Stotesbery K., Power T., et al. (December 2010). Parental ADHD Status and Its Association With Proband ADHD Subtype and Severity. The Journal of Pediatrics.Volume 157, Issue 6, 995 – 1000.e1. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jpeds.2010.05.053. Retrieved from: https://www.jpeds.com/article/S0022-3476(10)00480-4/fulltext
22 Smalley, Susan L. et al. Familial Clustering of Symptoms and Disruptive Behaviors in Multiplex Families With Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder. (September 2000). Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry. Volume 39, Issue 9, 1135 – 1143. https://doi.org/10.1097/00004583-200009000-00013. Retrieved from: https://jaacap.org/article/S0890-8567(09)66327-9/fulltext
23 Curry, A., Yerys, B., Metzger, K., et. al. (June 2019). Traffic Crashes, Violations, and Suspensions Among Young Drivers With ADHD. Pediatrics. 143 (6) e20182305; DOI: 10.1542/peds.2018-2305. Retrieved from: https://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/143/6/e20182305
24 van Emmerik-van Oortmerssen, K., van de Glind, G., van den Brink, W., Smit, F., Crunelle, C. L., Swets, M., Schoevers, R. A. (April 2012). Prevalence of Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder in Substance Use Disorder Patients: A Meta-Analysis and Meta-Regression Analysis. Drug and Alcohol Dependence. Volume 122, Issues 1–2. Pages 11-19. doi:10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2011.12.007. Retrieved from: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0376871611005291?via%3Dihub
25 Markel, C., Wiener, J. (2014). Attribution Processes in Parent-Adolescent Conflict in Families of Adolescents With and Without ADHD. Canadian Journal of Behavioural Science/Revue Canadienne Des Sciences Du Comportement. 46, 40-48. doi:10.1037/a0029854. Retrieved from: https://psycnet.apa.org/record/2012-30261-001?doi=1
27 Kent, Kristine M et al. (April 2011). The Academic Experience of Male High School Students with ADHD. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology. Volume 39, 3. 451-62. doi:10.1007/s10802-010-9472-4. Retrieved from: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10802-010-9472-4
28 DuPaul, G. J., Weyandt, L. L., O’Dell, S. M., & Varejao, M. (2009). College Students With ADHD: Current Status and Future Directions. Journal of Attention Disorders. 13(3), 234–250. https://doi.org/10.1177/1087054709340650. Retrieved from: https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/1087054709340650
29 Halmøy, A., Fasmer, O. B., Gillberg, C., & Haavik, J. (2009). Occupational outcome in adult ADHD: impact of symptom profile, comorbid psychiatric problems, and treatment: a cross-sectional study of 414 clinically diagnosed adult ADHD patients. Journal of attention disorders, 13(2), 175–187. https://doi.org/10.1177/1087054708329777
30 Ginsberg, Y., Quintero, J., Anand, E., Casillas, M., & Upadhyaya, H. P. (2014). Underdiagnosis of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder in adult patients: a review of the literature. The primary care companion for CNS disorders, 16(3), PCC.13r01600. https://doi.org/10.4088/PCC.13r01600
31 Quinn, P. O., & Madhoo, M. (2014). A review of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder in women and girls: uncovering this hidden diagnosis. The primary care companion for CNS disorders, 16(3), PCC.13r01596. https://doi.org/10.4088/PCC.13r01596
Updated on February 5, 2021