Diabetes mellitus is a prevalent condition in the United States and worldwide. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, around 37 million Americans have diabetes, and one in five people with diabetes aren’t aware they have it.¹ Worldwide, about 415 million people live with diabetes, and the CDC predicts that more than half a billion people will have diabetes by 2040.²
With so many people in the U.S. living with diabetes, it’s important to consider questions about diabetes statistics and trends. They reveal who is most likely to be diabetic based on age, gender, geographic location, race, education level, and other factors. Knowing this info can help us better understand diabetes and — in the case of type 2 diabetes — work to prevent it.
In this guide, we compile the most updated info from the CDC’s National Diabetes Statistics Report and provide some resources and other info that can help you get a clearer picture of the current state of diabetes in the U.S.
Diabetes is caused by the way your body uses the glucose from digesting food. When you eat something, your body breaks down the food into different components, including glucose, which your cells use for energy. Insulin — a hormone created by your pancreas when blood sugar rises— helps to deliver glucose to your cells.³
However, if you don’t have enough insulin or your cells don’t respond properly to insulin, the glucose doesn’t enter your cells and stays in your bloodstream. This raises your blood glucose levels. Over time, heightened blood glucose levels can cause severe issues, like:
- Heart disease
- Nerve and kidney damage
- Eyesight issues
- Erectile dysfunction
- Damage to the feet, skin, and teeth
People with type 1 diabetes lack enough insulin to introduce blood glucose into the body’s cells. As a result, the glucose stays in the bloodstream and causes various symptoms, like fatigue, weight loss, and increased hunger or thirst. This form of diabetes usually starts showing signs in childhood and young adulthood.
While experts are not entirely sure what causes type 1 diabetes, some research shows that genetics and environmental conditions could play a part. Those living with type 1 diabetes must take insulin every day to stay alive, and the common ways to take insulin are through injections, pumps, or pens. Doctors may prescribe other medications if insulin alone isn’t enough.⁴
Type 2 diabetes results from lifestyle choices, genetics, and other related health concerns. You are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes if you:
- Live an inactive lifestyle
- Are overweight or obese
- Have high blood pressure
- Are 45 or older
- Are related to someone with type 2 diabetes
Your doctor can spot type 2 diabetes through a series of blood tests, and you may need daily medication to treat the condition, including insulin. Type 2 diabetes is incurable, but you may go into remission by making some lifestyle changes to manage diabetes symptoms, like losing weight, eating a balanced diet, and exercising.⁵
In addition to type 1 and type 2 diabetes — the two most well-known forms — other kinds of diabetes are important to know.
Prediabetes is the precursor to type 2 diabetes and can be reversed with lifestyle changes, like weight loss, healthy eating, and exercise. It occurs when your blood sugar is higher than average but not high enough to be considered type 2 diabetes.⁶
Gestational diabetes develops during pregnancy and is not an indicator that the pregnant person had diabetes before the pregnancy. Instead, the pregnancy causes heightened blood sugar levels that can be mitigated with exercise and a balanced diet and sometimes require insulin. Gestational diabetes typically resolves after delivery.⁷
Monogenic diabetes is a rare form resulting from a single gene mutation usually inherited by one or both parents. Examples of monogenic diabetes include neonatal diabetes mellitus (NDM) and maturity-onset diabetes of the young (MODY).⁸
Cystic fibrosis-related diabetes
Around 20% of people who live with cystic fibrosis develop CFRD. Cystic fibrosis can cause scarring of the pancreas, which limits the amount of insulin it produces.⁹
The National Diabetes Statistics Report is a continually updated, data-based report that provides information on the status of diabetes in the U.S. The report aims to provide a clear understanding of how diabetes affects the country and, hopefully, to offer steps to lessen diabetes’ impact on American citizens.
The sections below outline the most recent information provided by the report. The information provided here is current as of the publication date of this article.
Prevalence data reveals stats about the U.S. population and how diabetes impacts certain groups based on age, race, ethnicity, education, and socioeconomic status.
As of 2019, 8.7% of the U.S. population has been diagnosed with diabetes. This includes 280,000 people younger than 20 and 1.6 million adults over 20. According to data compiled between 2018 and 2019, people most at-risk of being diagnosed with diabetes include people in the following racial and ethnic categories:
- Native Americans and Alaskan Natives (14.5%)
- Non-Hispanic Black people (12.1%)
- Hispanic people (11.8%)
- Non-Hispanic Asian people (9.5%)
- Non-Hispanic white people (7.4%)
Education level and income also significantly impact the prevalence of a diabetes diagnosis. Of those diagnosed with diabetes, 13.4% don’t have a high school diploma, while only 9.2% have a diploma and 7.1% have education beyond a diploma. 14.4% of women and 13.3% of men who live below the poverty line have received a diabetes diagnosis.¹⁰
The report also provides the following info about prediabetes and undiagnosed diabetes:
- Based on data gathered between 2017 and 2020, about 38% of adults in the United States are prediabetic.
- From 2008 to 2020, the number of people aware that they were prediabetic rose from 6.5% to 17.4%.¹¹
- As of 2019, 23% of adults with diabetes were unaware they had the illness. This equates to 8.5 million people over age 18.¹²
The report also provides information about newly diagnosed diabetes. For example, in 2019, 1.4 million people aged 18 and up in the U.S. were diagnosed with diabetes. New cases were most prevalent in people aged 45 and older, but the new cases did not show significance regarding race or ethnicity.
Education level did impact new cases, with only 5.2% of people with more education than a high school diploma being diagnosed. Compare this to 7.8% and 8.2% of those with and without a high school diploma being diagnosed, respectively.
Data about new incidences among children is a bit outdated, with the most recent statistics dating back to 2015. But here is what the report reveals:
- Between 2014 and 2015, over 18,000 people under age 20 were diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, while around 6,000 children and teens between 10 and 19 were diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.
- Between 2002 and 2010, type 1 diabetes increased significantly among Hispanic children and adolescents. However, between 2011 and 2015, non-Hispanic Asian children and Pacific Islander children showed the most significant uptick in the diagnosis of type 1 diabetes.
- From 2002 to 2015, type 2 diabetes diagnoses increased for all U.S. children between the ages of 10-19 years, especially for non-Hispanic Black children.¹³
The National Diabetes Statistics report also includes information on diabetes complications, including data about risk factors, complication prevention, and co-occurrence of other conditions. Here are some important statistics the report reveals:
- The most significant risk factors for diabetes complications include smoking, obesity, physical inactivity, and high A1C, blood pressure, and cholesterol.
- Around 20% of people diagnosed with diabetes are cigarette smokers.
- About 90% of those with diabetes are overweight, obese, or extremely obese.
- 34.3% of people with diabetes are physically inactive, getting less than 10 minutes of exercise per week.
- Nearly 50% of people with diabetes have an A1C level higher than 7%. A normal A1C level is below 5.7%.
- 69% of those diagnosed with diabetes have high blood pressure or are on high blood pressure medication.
- A little over 44% of those living with diabetes have high cholesterol.¹⁴
- Around 79% of those diagnosed with diabetes were under a doctor’s care.
- 77.3% of people with diabetes are managing or trying to lose weight, with 23.8% increasing their weekly physical activity to at least 150 minutes.¹⁵
- Around 17 million cases of diabetes were reported during ER visits in 2018.
- Between 2017 and 2020, 39.2% of adults with diabetes also had chronic kidney disease. 11.8% had severe vision loss or blindness.
- In 2019 alone, close to 88,000 deaths in the U.S. resulted from diabetes, making it the seventh leading cause.¹⁶ Diabetes was the eighth leading cause of death in 2020.¹⁷
In addition to the National Diabetes Statistics Report, the CDC also provides the Diabetes Report Card, updated every two years with information and statistics about diabetes trends in the U.S. These trends include information on at-risk populations, geographic locations, and other topics. Below, we outline some of the most critical information from the most recent report card updated in 2021.
Because the cause of type 1 diabetes is still unclear, providing risk factors for this condition is not easy. With type 2 diabetes, there are clear lifestyle choices and health issues that contribute to the condition in addition to genetics, so providing information about at-risk populations is somewhat easier. However, here is what we know about who is at most risk for type 1 diabetes:
- While type 1 diabetes can begin at any age, it is often diagnosed in childhood, teen years, or early adulthood.
- Non-Hispanic white people are the most likely racial group to develop type 1 diabetes.
- Type 1 diabetes makes up 5-10% of diabetes cases in the U.S.
More is known about at-risk populations and type 2 diabetes. People from certain racial and ethnic groups and those with low income and less education are more likely to develop the illness. Here is what we know:
- Among some racial and ethnic groups, specific subgroups have a higher prevalence of type 2 diabetes. For example, among Hispanic people, Mexican (14.4%) and Puerto Rican (12.4%) adults are more likely to develop the illness, and among Asian people, Asian Indians (12.6%) and Filipinos (10.4%) have the highest rate.
- If you are an adult with diabetes and a low education level, you are not as likely to pursue preventive care as your well-educated counterparts.
- Diabetes diagnosis shows a proportional relationship with household income. The higher the income, the less likely you are to be diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.¹⁷
The state you live in can help determine how likely you are to be diagnosed with diabetes. In the U.S., about 9.8% of adults over age 18 have been diagnosed with diabetes. The CDC provides a chart that includes every U.S. state, Washington D.C., Guam, and Puerto Rico and indicates whether those locations’ average percentage of diagnosed cases is higher or lower than the U.S. average.
For example, in Texas, about 12% of the population has been diagnosed with diabetes, which is well above the nation’s average. The same is true for Guam (15.4%), West Virginia (13.4%), and Louisiana (12.9%). Compare these figures with states like Colorado (6.6%), Wisconsin (7.4%), or Vermont (7.6%) to better understand how geographic location may impact diabetes incidence.
All told, 26 states and territories have a diabetes prevalence higher than the nation’s average. They include:¹⁷
- New Mexico
- North Carolina
- Puerto Rico
- South Carolina
- West Virginia
There are many risk factors that predispose someone to type 2 diabetes. Some of these risk factors are out of your control, like your age, race, or genetics, but you can change other factors that include lifestyle choices. Making these changes lessens the likelihood of developing type 2 diabetes.
The main risk factors for developing type 2 diabetes are:
- Being overweight or obese
- Being over age 35
- Having close relatives who are diabetic
- Belonging to certain racial groups (African American, Asian American, Latinx, Pacific Islander)
- Lacking regular physical activity
- Living with prediabetes or gestational diabetes¹⁸
The top three ways to reduce your chances of developing type 2 diabetes if you have the above risk factors are to:
- Lose weight
- Eat healthily
You can also consult the CDC’s National Diabetes Prevention Program to get more information about how to prevent type 2 diabetes.
Although diabetes is a serious condition and can lead to severe health risks, there are ways to manage it and thrive. One of the most important ways is to make sure you establish a care plan with your doctor and stick with it. This care plan can include many steps like medication, diet, exercise, and regular health checkups.
The CDC recommends the following steps to ensure your diabetes is well-managed:
- Regularly check your A1C levels
- Maintain healthy blood pressure and cholesterol
- Quit smoking
- Follow a well-balanced meal plan
- Get daily exercise
- Remember to take medication every day
- Regularly check and keep a record of blood sugar levels
- Lower stress levels
- Get help for any mental health issues
- Get quality sleep each night
- Consult your doctor or other members of your healthcare team as needed²⁰
Many online resources are available to provide help to those living with or caring for someone with diabetes. We’ve compiled a list of resources we think are most helpful, but there are dozens of websites about this topic. Take a look at our list of valuable resources about diabetes below.
- American Diabetes Association
- American Heart Association
- Association of Diabetes Care and Education Specialists
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- Children’s Diabetes Foundation
- Diabetes Center for Kids
- Diabetes Center for Teens
- National Institute of Diabetes
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2022, January 24). The facts, stats, and impacts of diabetes. Retrieved September 14, 2022, from https://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/library/spotlights/diabetes-facts-stats.html.
 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2020, January 2). CDC global health - infographics - World Diabetes Day. Retrieved September 14, 2022, from https://www.cdc.gov/globalhealth/infographics/diabetes/world-diabetes-day.html.
 Cleveland Clinic. (2021, March 28). Diabetes: types, risk factors, symptoms, tests, treatments & prevention. Retrieved September 14, 2022, from https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/7104-diabetes-mellitus-an-overview.
 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2017, July). Type 1 diabetes. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Retrieved September 14, 2022, from https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/diabetes/overview/what-is-diabetes/type-1-diabetes.
 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2017, May). Type 2 diabetes. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Retrieved September 14, 2022, from https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/diabetes/overview/what-is-diabetes/type-2-diabetes.
 Cleveland Clinic. (2021, March 25). Prediabetes. Retrieved September 14, 2022, from https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/21498-prediabetes.
 Cleveland Clinic. (2021, January 14). Gestational diabetes. Retrieved September 14, 2022, from https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/9012-gestational-diabetes.
 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2017, November). Monogenic diabetes. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Retrieved September 14, 2022, from https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/diabetes/overview/what-is-diabetes/monogenic-neonatal-mellitus-mody.
 Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. (n.d.). Cystic fibrosis-related diabetes. Retrieved September 14, 2022, from https://www.cff.org/managing-cf/cystic-fibrosis-related-diabetes.
 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2021, December 29). Prevalence of diagnosed diabetes. Retrieved September 14, 2022, from https://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/data/statistics-report/diagnosed-diabetes.html.
 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2021, December 29). Prevalence of prediabetes. Retrieved September 14, 2022, from https://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/data/statistics-report/prevalence-of-prediabetes.html.
 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2021, December 29). Prevalence of both diagnosed and undiagnosed diabetes. Retrieved September 14, 2022, from https://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/data/statistics-report/diagnosed-undiagnosed-diabetes.html.
 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2021, December 29). Incidence of newly diagnosed diabetes. Retrieved September 14, 2022, from https://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/data/statistics-report/newly-diagnosed-diabetes.html.
 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2021, December 29). Risk factors for diabetes-related complications. Retrieved September 14, 2022, from https://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/data/statistics-report/risks-complications.html.
 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2021, December 29). Preventing diabetes-related complications. Retrieved September 14, 2022, from https://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/data/statistics-report/preventing-complications.html.
 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2021, December 29). Coexisting conditions and complications. Retrieved September 14, 2022, from https://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/data/statistics-report/coexisting-conditions-complications.html.
 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2022, May 17). National and state diabetes trends. Retrieved September 14, 2022, from https://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/library/reports/reportcard/national-state-diabetes-trends.html.
 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2022, July). Risk factors for type 2 diabetes. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Retrieved September 14, 2022, from https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/diabetes/overview/risk-factors-type-2-diabetes.
 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2016, December). Preventing type 2 diabetes. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Retrieved September 14, 2022, from https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/diabetes/overview/preventing-type-2-diabetes.
 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2016, December). Managing diabetes. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Retrieved September 14, 2022, from https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/diabetes/overview/managing-diabetes.