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The Prevalence of Diabetes

Updated on June 30, 2016

Our knowledge of the prevalence of diabetes is thanks to statistics from data compiled by governments and the World Health Organisation. You may be wondering why this is of any importance to anyone other than the statisticians.

Diabetes Treatment

26% of American diabetics are treated with  insulin by injection. Some of these also take oral medication. (USA National Diabetes Statistics)
26% of American diabetics are treated with insulin by injection. Some of these also take oral medication. (USA National Diabetes Statistics) | Source

Why Consider Diabetes Statistics?

The existence of diabetes statistics has enabled us to realise that the incidence of diabetes is on the increase in the populations of many Western Countries. Knowing this means that governments can plan their spending on health care accordingly and also make efforts to combat the increase by educating the public about diabetes and its causes and putting preventative measures in place. An in depth look at the statistics means that high risk groups can be targeted, which is more efficient than trying to target everyone.

For us as individuals the statistics can be useful too. We can discover if we are in a group with a high risk of becoming diabetic and we can act to reduce the chance of it happening. For writers and business owners the statistics are a clue to things our potential customers or readers might be interested in. For example seeing just how many people in the USA are being treated for diabetes can give the business owner an idea of the market for diabetes related products such as blood and urine test kits. The writer can also assume that because diabetes isn’t an easy condition to live with, people with it will be interested in accessible information about how to manage their condition and as awareness grows, the ‘worried well’ will be interested in articles about how to reduce the risk of becoming diabetic. The best way to reduce the risk is by losing weight if you are overweight.Diabetes UK states that ‘obesity is the most potent risk factor for Type 2 diabetes. It accounts for 80–85 per cent of the overall risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.’

Prevalence of Diabetes Types in the USA and UK

Data from UK and USA government statistics
Data from UK and USA government statistics | Source

Some of the Diabetes Related Products Available

Diabetes Statistics for the USA

USA Data comes from the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion and their ‘National Diabetes Factsheet 2011

USA population in 2010 was approx. 300000000

In 2010 18.8 million people had Diabetes in the USA (6.3% of the population)

7 million people were estimated to be undiagnosed diabetics. (2.3% of the population)

If you want to look at targeting populations with a high incidence of diabetes then 26.9% of the over 65s had diabetes in 2010 which is 10.9 million people.

The statistics also tell us that the ‘worried well’ have good reason to be worried. Research into the percentage of the population with prediabetes, showed 35% of over 20 year olds were prediabetic rising to 50% of 65 year olds. The good news is that changes to an individual’s diet and exercise regime can reverse this taking them out of the diabetes risk zone.

For anyone still thinking that Diabetes statistics are not important to them, it’s worth bearing in mind that the Factsheet reports that in 2007 Diabetes costs in the USA were $174 billion dollars. 67% of that was in direct medical costs and 33% was due to indirect costs such as early deaths and people being unable to work because of deteriorating health. Inevitably some of that will be coming from taxes but also some people are making a lot of money from selling medical supplies for treating diabetes and other diabetes related products such as books and diabetes alert jewelry..

The Prevalence of Diabetes in the USA

Data from the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion  ‘National Diabetes Factsheet 2011'
Data from the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion ‘National Diabetes Factsheet 2011' | Source

UK Diabetes Statistics

UK data comes from the Diabetes UK report ‘Diabetes in the UK 2011/2012: Key statistics on diabetes’

In 2011 there were 65.2 million people in the UK. Of these there are 2.9 million people diagnosed with diabetes and an estimated 850000 who have undiagnosed diabetes. There are proportionally fewer diabetics in Northern Ireland and More in England.

Diabetes costs the NHS (and therefore the taxpayer) 9 billion pounds per year. Another cost is reduced life expectancy of up to 10 years on average for people with type 2 diabetes.

The Prevalence of Diabetes in the UK

Data from the Diabetes UK ‘Diabetes in the UK 2011/2012: Key statistics on diabetes’
Data from the Diabetes UK ‘Diabetes in the UK 2011/2012: Key statistics on diabetes’ | Source

World Diabetes Statistics

In 2011, according to the International Diabetes Federation, countries with large populations such as Russia and China tend to have a lot of diabetics. That isn’t surprising. However, the proportion of a countries population with diabetes does throw up some surprises. Nauru, Kiribati and the Marshall Island are in the top five for highest proportion of diabetics. They are three small Island Countries in the Pacific Ocean.

The World Health Organisation has produced an interesting report whereby they have estimated how many diabetes cases there will be worldwide by 2030. This is based on the rate of diabetes in countries around the globe in 2000 and the rate of increase of cases from since previous studies were made.

The International Diabetes Federation prediction is higher. In their 2009 report, they believe that 552 million people will be diabetic by 2030

World Prevalence of Diabetes

2000 (estimation)
2030 (projection)
171 million
342 Million
31.7 million
79.4 million
20.8 million
42.3 million
17.7 million
30.3 million
8.4 million
21.3 million
6.8 million
8.9 million

The number of people with diabetes with data from the World Health Organisation

Diabetes in Pets

Domestic dogs and cats can also develop diabetes and there are plenty of products and books available for this market as well. ‘Pet’ states that 1 in 500 cats and 1 in 500 dogs are estimated to be diabetic in Britain. It's reasonable to assume that a similar figure applies to America too.

The Pet Food Manufacturer's Association tells us that there are 8 million dogs and 8 million cats in the UK. According to The Humane Society of USA there are 78.2 million dogs and 86.4 million cats in America.

A less familiar pet, which is very susceptible to diabetes, is the degu. These are rather gerbil like but related more closely to chinchillas. There are very few degu specific products on the market.

Diabetes Prevalence in Cats and Dogs

Number of Diabetic Dogs
Number of Diabetic Cats

Data from, PFMA (UK) and The Humane Society (USA)


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    • tata799 profile image

      Tarek Nofal. 

      4 years ago from Kuwait

      the estimation of Diabetes are vary from country to another country ...statistics are so important or in other word the statistics must be calculated accurately in each country to monitoring the Diabetes prevalence and some countries have not accurate estimation for its population so the calculation of Diabetes is not valid..... great article

    • Pages-By-Patty profile image


      8 years ago from Midwest

      Thank you, Nettlemere, he is greatly missed.

    • Nettlemere profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Burnley, Lancashire, UK

      Pages by Patty - I sorry to hear about your cousin dying so young because of diabetes. It seems particularly unfair that he had only recently been diagnosed too and was presumably still trying to get an insulin balance though medication and so on.

      Avian novice - according to the WHO and others family predisposition is a strong factor for type 1 diabetes, but for type 2 which is by far the most common type, being overweight is the biggest factor. So the rising levels of obesity bring with them a rising tide of diabetes.

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 

      8 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Excellent material. Now the clincher: What is causing all this, according to the WHO? What effect does predisposition(running in the family) have?

    • Marcy Goodfleisch profile image

      Marcy Goodfleisch 

      8 years ago from Planet Earth

      Such interesting information! The statistics in the US are scary - we are seeing a huge increase here, especially in certain populations. Thanks for the excellent charts and statistics; I hope this helps people learn to address the risks. Voted up!

    • Pages-By-Patty profile image


      8 years ago from Midwest

      Very informative article with thought provoking points. Diabetes is quite prevalent, unfortunately. My cousin passed away 2 years ago from diabetes at the age of 48 shortly after being diagnosed. Although he was not obese or with other factors, he simply suffered a diabetic coma from which he did not recover.

      Thanks for bringing awareness to the subject.

    • seigfried23 profile image


      8 years ago

      This an incredible and well-researched hub. thanks for taking the time.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      1/12 people diabetic by 2030?! Insane! Tanks for the awareness boost


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