ADHD Statistics 2022: How Common Is It?

For most children, especially those in the elementary school years, a restless and easily distracted child is a given.

Parents may begin to wonder if their child’s behavior is indicative of something more troubling when it interferes with schoolwork and necessitates frequent disciplinary measures.

ADHD affects 5.4 million children or 8.4% of the population. This includes 335,000 young children between the ages of 2 and 5 are in the United States (or 2.1% in this age group) and 2.2 million children between the ages of six and eleven (or 8.9 percent in this age group)

Children with ADHD are among the most common neurodevelopmental disorders, according to the ADHD statistics provided in our guide below.

Children and adults with ADHD can benefit from a wide range of medications and behavioral therapies.

What is ADHD?

What is ADHD?

ADHD is a common childhood neurodevelopmental condition. It is most commonly diagnosed in childhood but can last into adulthood if left untreated.

Children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) may struggle to pay attention, control their impulsive behaviors, or engage in an excessive activity.

To better manage and reduce the chances of someone having ADHD, scientists are looking into the causes and risk factors.

Genetics has been shown to play a significant role in the development of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Recent research suggests that attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) may be caused by genetics. 

Science is investigating a variety of other potential causes and risk factors such as:

  1. A brain injury
  2. Toxic exposure during pregnancy or at a young age
  3. Pregnancy and the use of alcoholic beverages or tobacco
  4. An untimely birth.
  5. Low fetal mass

According to popular belief, ADHD is caused by eating too much sugar, watching too much TV, being a poor parent, or living in a chaotic household. However, research does not support these popular beliefs.

There is insufficient evidence to conclude that these factors are the primary causes of ADHD.

The most effective way to deal with ADHD is through a combination of medication and behavioral therapy.

The first line of treatment for children with ADHD in the preschool years (4-5 years of age) is behavior therapy, particularly training for parents. 

What works best for a child and his or her family can vary widely. Close monitoring, follow-ups, and making adjustments as needed are all part of good treatment plans.

ADHD Statistics 2021: How Common Is It?

ADHD is a neurological disorder, but the exact cause has not yet been discovered. When the prefrontal cortex grows at a slower rate than the rest of the brain, it results in this condition.

This disparity can be diagnosed as early as the age of 3 years old. In addition, the brains of people with ADHD lack or produce less of certain neurochemicals, such as dopamine and norepinephrine.

The latter is responsible for arousal, drive, and inspiration. Hyperactivity is caused in part by the second factor, which is responsible for bringing about a sense of calm.

ADHD Over The Years

The percentage of children diagnosed with ADHD has fluctuated over time, and its definition is subjective. In 1997, the first national survey of parents on ADHD was completed.

Since then, there has been an upward trend in national estimates of parent-reported ADHD diagnoses across various surveys and age groups.

It’s impossible to say whether this rise reflects a rise in the number of children diagnosed with ADHD or a rise in the number of children diagnosed with the disorder.

The most recent estimates, on the other hand, are in line with previous estimates. Future data will reveal whether the upward trend of the past two decades has plateaued.

Below are the ADHD statistics that vary from demographic, age, state, and treatment. 

ADHD: Demographic, Race, Ethnicity

According to the 2020 data brief from the National Center for Health Statistics, black children aged 3 to 17 years (16.9%) are more likely than white (14.7 percent) and Hispanic (11.9 percent) children to have ever been diagnosed with ADHD or a learning disability.

  • When compared to children in families with incomes above the federal poverty level, children in the lowest income brackets are more likely to be diagnosed with ADHD or a learning disability 
  • When compared to Hispanic children, black and white children, regardless of family income, are more likely to be diagnosed with ADHD or a learning disability.
  • When compared to children with parents who have more than high school education, children with parents who have less than a high school education are more likely to be diagnosed with ADHD.

Children in the United States’ South are more likely than their peers in other regions to have ever been diagnosed with ADHD.

  • 11% in the South
  • 8.4% in the Midwest
  • 8.4% in the Northeast
  • 6.8% in the West

When compared to their urban/suburban counterparts, children in rural areas are more likely to have been diagnosed with ADHD.

  • 11.8 percent of the population lives in rural areas.
  • 9 percent of the population lives in cities or suburbs.

Adults of all races and ethnic groups are being diagnosed with ADHD at higher rates, but disparities still exist (prevalence figures from 2006 to 2017)

  • 0.67 to 1.42 percent White
  • 0.11 to 0.35 percent Asian
  • 0.11 to 0.39 percent Native Hawaiians or Pacific Islanders
  • 0.22 to 0.69 percent Black
  • 0.25 to 0.65 percent Hispanics 
  • 0.56 to 1.14 percent American Indian or Alaskan Native

ADHD is a disorder that affects millions of children in the United States.

According to a national survey of parents conducted in 2016, an estimated 6.1 million children have been diagnosed with ADHD. 388,000 children ages 2 to 5 are included in this total.

Approximately 2,4 million youngsters ages 6 to 11 and  3 million children between the ages of 12 and 17. ADHD is more commonly found in males (12.9%) than females (5.6%).

However, research suggests that ADHD affects a greater number of girls than is commonly reported.

Because of the way girls’ symptoms manifest compared to boys’, ADHD may be missed in girls, which could reflect a general bias in the diagnostic process.

According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, ADHD is one of the most common neurodevelopmental disorders in children.

While estimates vary, the global prevalence of ADHD in children is estimated to be around 5%.

Years vs. Children with ADHD

The number of children diagnosed with ADHD in the United States has fluctuated over time according to a study published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 2014

ADHD is commonly co-occurring with other mental health issues in children.

At least one mental, emotional, or behavioral disorder was found in six out of ten children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Approximately one-fifth of children with ADHD also had a problem with behavior or decency.

Anxiety affected 3 out of 10 ADHD kids. Children with ADHD are also susceptible to depression, autism spectrum disorder, and Tourette syndrome.

Percentage of children with ADHD and another disorder:

  • Any mental, emotional, or behavioral disorder: 64%
  • Behavior or conduct problems: 52%
  • Anxiety: 33%
  • Depression: 17%
  • Autism spectrum disorder: 14%
  • Tourette syndrome: 1%

About 3 in 4 US children with current ADHD receive treatment

For children aged 2–17 with current ADHD, a national parent survey from 2016 reported on medication and behavioral treatment:

62% were taking medication for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder

  • Ages 2–5: 18%
  • Ages 6–11: 69%
  • Ages 12–17: 62%

47% received behavioral treatment

  • Ages 2–5: 60%
  • Ages 6–11: 51%
  • Ages 12–17: 42%

A total of 77% of those surveyed had received treatment. About 30% of these children were given medication alone. 15% of those surveyed received behavioral therapy alone.

A combined medication and behavioral treatment approach was used to treat about 32% of children with ADHD.

About 23% of children with ADHD did not receive any kind of treatment, whether it was medication or behavioral. It’s unclear what kind of psychosocial support these kids received.

ADHD is more common in high-income countries, according to global surveys.

The lifetime prevalence of ADHD in children in the United States is on the rise, with the most recent estimates putting it at 11% according to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) published a report in 2017.

As of 2016, an estimated 6.1 million children aged 2 to 17 years old in the United States had been diagnosed with ADHD, accounting for 9.4% of the total age group. Adult ADHD affects 2.5 percent of the world’s population according to the study of Psychiatrists’ Royal College, 2009.

In adults aged 18 to 44 years old, the lifetime prevalence of ADHD is estimated to be 8.1 percent, with a current prevalence of 4.4 percent in the United States according to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) published report in 2017.

ADHD statistics in affected adults

According to Harvard Medical School, the prevalence of ADHD among adults in the United States was 4.4 percent in 2001-2003. However, because 85 percent of children with ADHD will likely have the disorder as adults, the rate of ADHD in adults is likely underreported.

Since the diagnostic criteria for ADHD were created for children, the diagnosis of ADHD among adults is growing four times faster than ADHD diagnoses among children in the United States. The percentage of adults with ADHD in each age group is depicted in the graph below:

Years vs. Children with ADHD

According to research, the majority of children with ADHD will develop ADHD as adults. Learning to manage ADHD symptoms is one of the most important things for teenagers to do, as this can have a positive impact on their adult outcomes.

Some adults have reported milder impairments in functioning as a result of learning triggers and coping mechanisms for their ADHD symptoms, according to anecdotal evidence.

Some adults who were previously diagnosed with ADHD have developed effective coping mechanisms and no longer meet the criteria for ADHD later in life. The majority of research indicates that ADHD does not truly ‘go away,’ but that adults report fewer symptoms.

Hyperactivity symptoms, for example, usually diminish with age. Only 11% of adults with ADHD are given medication.

Furthermore, because of co-occurring mental health conditions that mask the symptoms of ADHD, some adults may go undiagnosed and thus untreated. These are some of them:

  • Anxiety disorder affects 47 percent of people.
  • Mood disorders account for 38% of all cases.
  • 20% of the time, you’ll be able to control your impulses.
  • Substance abuse disorders account for 15% of all cases.

ADHD with women

According to a 2014 review, in girls and women with ADHD, symptoms of inattentiveness are more common than symptoms of hyperactivity and impulsivity.

In comparison to men with ADHD and women without ADHD, women with ADHD are more likely to have low self-esteem.

Anxiety and affective disorders frequently co-occur with ADHD in women, who are also more likely than men with ADHD to have phobias and generalized anxiety disorder.

Even when symptoms first appear in childhood, a large percentage of women with ADHD do not receive a diagnosis until they are in their adult years. Girls and women with ADHD use less medication than boys and men with ADHD.

ADHD rates in the United States

ADHD affects approximately 6.4 million children in the United States, ranging in age from 4 to 17. Some states have a higher prevalence of ADHD than others.

The states in the western United States have the lowest rates of ADHD in general. Below is the graph that shows the rates of ADHD across the States in the United States from highest to lowest.

Rates of ADHD in UN vs states

Medications are currently being used to treat 6.1 percent of American children with ADHD. Some states have a higher rate of medication treatment than others.

Approximately 23% of children in the United States who have been diagnosed with ADHD are not receiving medication or mental health counseling.

Final Thoughts

ADHD Statistics 2021

Concerns about ADHD can be addressed by consulting a child psychologist or psychiatrist; a child psychiatrist or developmental pediatrician; or an early intervention agency or public school for children aged 3 and older.

Children with ADHD may benefit even more from a healthy lifestyle than other youngsters. With the help of medication and behavioral therapy, a healthy lifestyle can help your child deal with the symptoms of ADHD.

Maintaining a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein sources is an important part of a healthy lifestyle. Based on one’s age, one should engage in regular physical activity.

Screen time from televisions, computers, phones, and other electronic devices should be limited. Sleeping for the recommended number of hours per night, taking into consideration your age

Joe Davies