What is the incidence of attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children in the US?

Updated: Oct 01, 2019
  • Author: Stephen Soreff, MD; Chief Editor: Glen L Xiong, MD  more...
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In 2016, an estimated 6.1 million US children aged 2–17 years (9.4%) were diagnosed with ADHD. Of these children, 5.4 million currently had ADHD, which was 89.4% of children ever diagnosed with ADHD and 8.4% of all U.S. children 2–17 years of age. Almost two-thirds of children with current ADHD (62.0%) were taking medication and slightly less than half (46.7%) had received behavioral treatment for ADHD in the past year; nearly one fourth (23.0%) had received neither treatment. [15]

According to a study by CDC researchers, more than 1 in 10 (11%) US school-aged children (4–17 years) had received an ADHD diagnosis by a health care provider by 2011, as reported by parents A history of ADHD diagnosis by a health care provider increased by 42% between 2003 and 2011. [16]

A study by Akinbami and colleagues showed the following key findings [17] :

  • From 1998-2000 through 2007-2009 - Percentage of children ever diagnosed with ADHD increased from 7-9%

  • ADHD prevalence varies by race and ethnicity, with Mexican children having consistently lower prevalence compared with other racial or ethnic groups.

  • From 1998 to 2009 - Prevalence of ADHD increased to 10% for children with family incomes less than 100% of the poverty level and to 11% for those with family income from 100-199% of the poverty level

  • From 1998 to 2009 - Prevalence of ADHD rose to 10% in the midwestern and southern regions of the United States

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