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18 Important ADHD Statistics

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Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a mental health condition that has become increasingly prevalent over the past few years. As more people get diagnosed with the condition, it becomes increasingly important that we understand this illness and its impact on overall health, and ADHD statistics should help us fulfill that goal.

Many people still don’t understand ADHD, its effects on behavior, or how prevalent it is. A closer look at stats could help us all learn more about it.

Below, we’re going to cover a range of ADHD facts, including how many people have ADHD, how common it is, its effects on children, and how prevalent it is across other demographics.

Crucial ADHD Statistics in 2019

  • 9.4% of children in the US have been diagnosed with ADHD
  • 4.4% of the adult population in the US has been diagnosed with ADHD
  • Only 10.9% of adults with ADHD receive treatment
  • 23% of US children with ADHD don’t receive medicine or mental health counseling
  • ADHD diagnoses in children have grown by over 2 million since 2003
  • 13.5% of children aged 12-17 have been diagnosed with ADHD
  • ADHD is around twice as prevalent in boys
  • It costs five times more to raise a child with ADHD
  • Teens diagnosed with ADHD are more likely to be dangerous drivers.

1. 9.4% of children in the US have been diagnosed with ADHD.

We find ADHD in children much more often than in adults. This is partly because the diagnostic criteria for this disorder were designed with children in mind.

So, how many kids have ADHD? According to the latest nationwide study done in 2016, the answer is 6.1 million children. ADHD symptoms in children include impulsiveness, disorganization, poor time management, trouble with focusing on specific tasks, difficulty with multitasking, and more.

However, while ADHD is primarily associated with children, that doesn’t mean they’re the only ones living with the condition. Let’s take a look at adult ADHD statistics.

2. 4.4% of the adult population in the US has been diagnosed with ADHD.

According to a recent study, ADHD has been reported in 4.4% of the adult population in the US. This means that an estimated 14 million adults in the US live with ADHD. There are concerns that the actual number could be higher due to underreporting.

One interesting fact about ADHD is that it’s more common in children, as 25% of people diagnosed with it at an early age will not carry it into adulthood.

3. Only 10.9% of US adults with ADHD receive treatment.

One-tenth of adults (around 13 million) in the US are living with ADHD without any assistance. This is thought to be in part due to the underdiagnosis of ADHD in adults. As we already indicated, the diagnostic criteria for the mental condition were designed with children in mind instead of adults.

4. 23% of children with ADHD in the US are not receiving medicine or mental health counseling.

This is another worrying ADHD in children statistics. Compared to the incredibly low rates of treatment for adults, children do receive medication and/or mental health counseling. However, nearly a quarter of children with ADHD in the US still don’t get any treatment.

Current treatments include ADHD medication, such as Adderall, Desoxyn, Focalin, and Concerta. Other options include psychotherapy, behavior therapy, social skills training, and help from support groups. Parents of children diagnosed with ADHD may also be recommended to seek parenting skills training for techniques specific to dealing with the condition.

5. ADHD diagnoses in children have grown by over 2 million since 2003.

When looking at the prevalence of ADHD in the US, it’s also important to notice the trends in ADHD diagnosis statistics over time. In 2003, 4.4 million children were diagnosed with ADHD. In 2011, that number increased to over 6.4 million. Since then, there has been a slight dip to the current number of 6.1 million, but the dramatic increase over the past decade remains significant.

Most theories chalk this up to better recognition of the diagnostic criteria over time. That said, the number of children living with ADHD is not increasing. Instead, we are better able to diagnose it nowadays.

6. 13.5% of children aged 12-17 have been diagnosed with ADHD.

A recent meta-analysis of over 175 different pieces of research across the globe has shed some light on ADHD statistics worldwide. Now we have a clear picture of how ADHD affects population across the world by age, sex, and ethnicity. 

Overall, the research found that 10.2% of children aged 4-11 have been diagnosed with ADHD. When it comes to the 12-17 age group, this increases to 13.5%. This explains the increased prevalence of high-school students with ADHD.

7. ADHD is around twice as prevalent in boys.

Girls and women with ADHD are significantly less commonly diagnosed than boys. It’s not certain whether women are less likely to suffer from the condition or less likely to be diagnosed with it due to the current diagnostic criteria.

In any case, 14% of boys aged 4-17 were diagnosed with ADHD in 2015 and 2016, compared to 6.3% of girls.

8. It costs five times more to raise a child with ADHD.

A study found that families with ADHD-diagnosed children spend an average of $15,036 per child each year. On the contrary, families with neurotypical children spend an average of $2,848 per child.

A large part of this cost is undoubtedly due to the treatment costs, which can include medication, therapy, etc.

9. The average age of a child when diagnosed with ADHD is seven.

Though ADHD is most prevalent in high school teenagers, that doesn’t mean most people develop it in high school. According to ADHD statistics, seven is the average age when a child is first diagnosed with ADHD.

However, this average does change with the severity of the symptoms. For instance, children diagnosed with what is termed “mild ADHD” receive it around eight years old, on average. Children with severe ADHD tend to have it diagnosed earlier – at around five years old.

10. Two in three children aged 2-7 treat ADHD with medication.

Out of all currently available treatments, medication is most broadly used, with 62% of ADHD-diagnosed children aged 2-7 using some form of medication. Around 46.7% of children receive behavioral treatment, while one in three receive a combination of the two.

As mentioned, just under a quarter of all children (23%) in the same age group receive no treatment for ADHD.

11. Nine in ten children receive some form of school support.

While medication may be the most commonly prescribed treatment for ADHD, stats show there are other helpful approaches for dealing with the illness. For instance, a national study reported that nine in ten children diagnosed with ADHD received some form of school support back in 2014, such as school accommodation. Six in ten students also received other kinds of behavioral treatment or skills training. This includes parent-delivered behavior-therapy, social skills training, and peer interventions.

12. The United States leads in the number of childhood ADHD diagnoses.

According to ADHD stats, 8.1-9.4% of children in the US are diagnosed with ADHD. This places the US at the number one spot when it comes to ADHD diagnoses worldwide. The country with the second-highest rate of diagnosis is Spain, with 4.7% of children who have ADHD.

However, the US is in fourth place when it comes to ADHD diagnosis in adulthood. Brazil, Northern Ireland, and France have more adults diagnosed at 5.9%, 6%, and 7.3%, respectively.

Other places in the world see ADHD diagnoses between 0.5-2% throughout the lifetime of an individual, as is the case with Peru, Lebanon, Iraq, and others. This is thought to indicate that diagnostic criteria are not yet applied equally from country to country. As such, it may take some time before we are able to assess how much of the global population has ADHD.

13. Around half of families that have one or more children diagnosed with ADHD have at least one parent with the disorder.

According to two separate studies, at least one parent will have been diagnosed with ADHD in 41-55% of families that have at least one child also diagnosed with ADHD. This data is evidence that there may be some genetic component to ADHD diagnoses and also shows how common is ADHD.

14. ADHD affects children of all races.

Certain conditions, such as sickle cell anemia, are more likely to affect people of different races in different ways. However, ADHD impacts children of all races in much the same way. White children are diagnosed at a slightly higher rate of 9.8%, but this isn’t far enough from the 9.5% of black children who are diagnosed with the same condition. However, only around 5.5% of Latino children are diagnosed with this disorder.

It’s not certain how can we explain this difference, but it is consistent with the fact that children from primarily English-speaking households are four times more likely to develop ADHD.

15. Two in three children with ADHD also have a co-occurring condition.

Co-occurring conditions, also known as co-occurring disorders or dual disorders, are cases in which an individual has been diagnosed with more than one mental health condition at a time. That said, child mental health stats portray a terrifying 63.8% of children diagnosed with ADHD in the US also have at least one co-occurring condition.

Out of those, two-thirds aged 2-17 have a co-occurring mental condition — one-third have anxiety problems, one-sixth struggle with depression, one-seventh are diagnosed with autism, and one in 80 children have Tourette’s syndrome.

16. Teens diagnosed with ADHD are more likely to be dangerous drivers.

Teenagers diagnosed with ADHD are at a particularly high risk of automobile accidents, especially in their first months after obtaining the license. ADHD stats show that they are 2.1 times more likely to get involved in an alcohol-related crash than neurotypical teenagers of the same age. Luckily, studies also show that this rate decreases with the drivers’ experience.

17. Kentucky has the highest rate of ADHD diagnoses in the US.

With 14.8% of all children aged 4-17 diagnosed with ADHD in Kentucky, it is the state with the highest prevalence of the condition in the entire country. However, midwestern states have the highest rates of ADHD diagnoses across the board.

Arkansas is just behind Kentucky with a rate of 14.6%, Louisiana is not too far behind with 13.3%, and Indiana is fourth with 13%. Delaware and South Carolina are closer to the national average at 7%.

18. Nevada has the lowest rates of both diagnosis and treatment of ADHD.

Nevada is on the other end of the spectrum with the lowest rate of ADHD diagnosis in the States – only 4.2% of children are diagnosed with the condition. New Jersey, Colorado, Utah, and California follow with rates of 5.5%, 5.6%, 5.8%, and 5.9%, respectively.

However, Nevada also has the lowest rate of medical treatment for ADHD in the country. Only 2% of children are treated with medication, meaning that 3.5% of children in this state have been diagnosed with ADHD, but do not receive medical treatment.

adhd statistics - children

Bottom Line

The stats above indicate that there is still a lot about ADHD that we don’t fully understand, such as potential genetic causes and why it affects more people in English speaking households than other families. 

However, if there’s any key takeaway from the above-discussed ADHD statistics, it’s that we need even more research into mental health and take into account mental health statistics across different demographics, as the causes seem to differ a lot depending on age, occupation, health circumstances, and much more.

ADHD may be largely understood as a children’s disease, but it still affects adults and impacts families in ways that are difficult to capture in stats alone. However, we hope that the stats we discussed in this article will help you understand this subject better.

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