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Arthritis-Related Statistics

Note: There are different data sources for some of the arthritis related statistics; therefore, case definitions and terminology will also vary. Read more.


Lifetime risk of symptomatic osteoarthritis (OA)

  • Nearly 1 in 2 people may develop symptomatic knee OA by age 85 years.1
  • Two in three people who are obese may develop symptomatic knee OA in their lifetime.1
  • One in 4 people may develop painful hip arthritis by age 85 years.2


Prevalence of Arthritis

  • From 2010- 2012, an estimated 52.5 million US adults (22.7%) annually were ever told by a doctor that they have some form of arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, gout, lupus, or fibromyalgia.3
  • An estimated 49.7% of adults 65 years or older reported doctor-diagnosed arthritis from 2010-2012.3
  • An estimated 62% of adults with arthritis are <65 years old.
  • By 2040, an estimated 78 million US adults ages 18 years or older are projected to have doctor-diagnosed arthritis.4
  • An estimated 294,000 children under age 18 have some form of arthritis or rheumatic condition; this represents approximately 1 in every 250 children in the United States.5 

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Prevalence of Specific Types of Arthritis

  • The most common form of arthritis is osteoarthritis. Other common rheumatic conditions include gout, fibromyalgia, and rheumatoid arthritis.
  • An estimated 30.8 million adults had osteoarthritis from 2008 to 2011.6
  • An estimated 1.5 million adults had rheumatoid arthritis in 2007.7
  • The annual prevalence of ever having doctor-diagnosed gout among US adults in 2007–2008 was 3.9% (8.3 million individuals) using nationally representative data (NHANES) from 2007–2008.11
    • The prevalence of gout among men was 5.9% (6.1 million), and the prevalence among women was 2.0% (2.2 million).8
  • An estimated 5.0 million adults had fibromyalgia in 2005.6


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Prevalence of Arthritis by Age/Race/Gender

  • From 2010 to 2012 in the United States
    • Of persons ages 18–44, 7.3% ever reported doctor-diagnosed arthritis.3
    • Of persons ages 45–64, 30.3% ever reported doctor-diagnosed arthritis.3
    • Of persons ages 65 or older, 49.7% ever reported doctor-diagnosed arthritis.3
    • Twenty-six percent of women and 19.1% men ever reported doctor-diagnosed arthritis.3
    • 4 million Hispanic adults ever reported doctor-diagnosed arthritis.3
    • 5.9 million Non-Hispanic Blacks ever reported doctor-diagnosed arthritis.3
    • 1.2 million Non-Hispanic Asians ever reported doctor-diagnosed arthritis.3
  • An estimated 294,000 children under age 18 have some form of arthritis or rheumatic condition; this represents approximately 1 in every 250 children in the United States.5


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Overweight/Obesity and Arthritis (adults ages ≥18 years)

  • Adults who are overweight or obese report doctor-diagnosed arthritis more often than adults with a lower body mass index (BMI).
    • Almost 16% of under/normal weight adults report doctor-diagnosed arthritis.3
    • Almost 23% of overweight and 31% of obese US adults report doctor-diagnosed arthritis.3
  • Weight loss of as little as 11 pounds reduces the risk of developing knee osteoarthritis among women by half.9

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Physical Activity and Arthritis

  • Among older adults with knee osteoarthritis, engaging in moderate physical activity at least 3 times per week can reduce the risk of arthritis-related disability by 47%.10

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Disability/Limitations and Arthritis

Leading Cause of Disability

  • Arthritis and other rheumatic conditions are a leading cause of disability among US adults, and were a leading cause of disability among US adults for the past 15 years.12 

Activity Limitation

  • Among all civilian, non-institutionalized US adults 9.8% (22.7 million) had both doctor-diagnosed arthritis and arthritis attributable activity limitations.3
  • Around 43% of adults with doctor-diagnosed arthritis also had arthritis-attributable activity limitations from 2010-2012.3
  • Among adults with doctor-diagnosed arthritis, many report significant functional limitations such as:
    • Walking 1/4 mile— About 1 in 6.
    • Grasping— About 1 in 22.
    • Climbing stairs— About 1 in 9. 

Work Limitation

  • Approximately 1 in 3 people with doctor-diagnosed arthritis (31%) between the ages of 18 and 64 report arthritis-attributable work limitation.12
  • Among all civilian, non-institutionalized US adults ages 18-64, 5% (8.2 million) report arthritis-attributable work limitations.14 [This translates into 1 in 3 (31%) of adults with doctor-diagnosed arthritis in that age group12.]  
  • State-specific prevalence estimates of arthritis-attributable work limitation show a high impact of doctor-diagnosed arthritis on working-age (18-64 years) adults in all US states, ranging from a low of 3.4% to a high of 15% of adults in this age group.13 

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Health Related Quality of Life (HRQOL) and Arthritis

  • People with doctor-diagnosed arthritis have significantly worse HRQOL than those without arthritis. Adults with arthritis report two to four times as many unhealthy days in the past month than those without arthritis.16
  • Physical health is affected most by arthritis (6.6 unhealthy days per month on average), but also mental health (5.4 unhealthy days per month on average).14


Arthritis Healthcare Utilization


  • In 2011 there were an estimated 6.7 million hospitalizations with a principal diagnosis of arthritis and other rheumatic conditions.15

Ambulatory Care

In 2010 there were more than 100 million ambulatory care visits with a primary diagnosis of arthritis or other rheumatic conditions, or nearly 10% of all ambulatory care visits that year. Between 2% to 6% of all ambulatory care visits listed arthritis as the primary diagnosis.15

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Arthritis-Related Mortality

  • From 1979–1998, the annual number of arthritis and other rheumatic conditions (AORC) deaths rose from 5,537 to 9,367.16
  • Three categories of AORC account for almost 80% of deaths: diffuse connective tissue diseases, especially lupus (34%), other specified rheumatic conditions (23%), and rheumatoid arthritis (22%).16
  • In 1979, the crude death rate from AORC was 2.46 per 100,000 persons. In 1998, it was 3.48 per 100,000 persons; rates age-standardized to the year 2000 population were 2.75 and 3.51, respectively.16

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Mental/Emotional Health and Arthritis

  • Arthritis is strongly associated with major depression (attributable risk of 18.1%), probably through its role in creating functional limitation.17
  • Almost 7% of adults with arthritis report severe psychological distress.18

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Total Joint Replacements in Arthritis

  • In 2011, there were 757,000 total knee replacement procedures performed, with osteoarthritis accounting for 95%.15
  • In 2011, there were 512,000 total hip replacement procedures (OA accounted for 80%).15

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  1. Murphy L, Schwartz TA, Helmick CG, Renner JB, Tudor G, et al. Lifetime risk of symptomatic knee osteoarthritis. Arthritis Rheum 2008;59(9):1207–1213 doi: 10.1002/art.24021. PubMed PMID: 18759314. abstract
  2. Murphy LB1, Helmick CG, Schwartz TA, Renner JB, Tudor G, Koch GG, et al. One in four people may develop symptomatic hip osteoarthritis in his or her lifetime. Osteoarthritis Cartilage. 2010;18(11):1372-9. doi: 10.1016/j.joca.2010.08.005. PubMed PMID: 20713163; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC2998063. abstract
  3. Barbour KE, Helmick CG, Theis KA, Murphy LB, Hootman JM, Brady TJ, et al. Prevalence of Doctor-Diagnosed Arthritis and Arthritis-Attributable Activity Limitation — United States, 2010–2012. Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2013;62(44):869-873. PubMed PMID: 24196662. abstract
  4. Hootman JM, Helmick CG, Barbour KE, Theis KA, Boring MA.  Updated projected prevalence of self-reported doctor-diagnosed arthritis and arthritis-attributable activity limitation among US adults, 2015-2040.  Arthritis & Rheumatology. 2016 Mar 25. [Epub ahead of print]. doi: 10.1002/art.39692. PubMed PMID: 27015600. abstract 
  5. Sacks JJ, Helmick CG, Luo Y, Ilowite NT, Bowyer S. Prevalence of and annual ambulatory health care visits for pediatric arthritis and other rheumatologic conditions in the United States in 2001–2004. Arthritis Rheum. 2007;57:1439-1445. PubMed PMID: 18050185. abstract
  6. Cisternas MG, Murphy L, Sacks JJ, et al. Alternative Methods for Defining Osteoarthritis and the Impact on Estimating Prevalence in a US Population-Based Survey. Arthritis Care Res (Hoboken). 2015 Aug 28. doi: 10.1002/acr.22721.  PubMed PMID: 26315529. abstract
  7. Myasoedova E, Crowson CS, Kremers HM, Therneau TM, Gabriel SE. Is the incidence of rheumatoid arthritis rising?” results from Olmsted County, Minnesota, 1955-2007. Arthritis Rheum. 2010;62(6):1576-1582. PubMed PMID: 20191579; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC2929692. abstract
  8. Zhu Y, Pandya BJ, Choi HK. Prevalence of gout and hyperuricemia in the US general population: The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2007–2008. Arthritis  Rheum. 2011; 63(10):3136–3141.
  9. Felson DT, Zhang Y. An update on the epidemiology of knee and hip osteoarthritis with a view to prevention. Arthritis Rheum. 1998;41(8):1343–1355. PubMed PMID: 8704632. abstract
  10. Penninx BW, Messier SP, Rejeski WJ, Williamson JD, DiBari M, Cavazzini C, et al. Physical exercise and the prevention of disability in activities of daily living in older persons with osteoarthritis. Arch Intern Med. 2001;161(19):2309–2316. PubMed PMID: 11606146. abstract
  11. Brault MW, Hootman J, Helmick CG, Theis KA, Armour BS. Prevalence and most common causes of disability among adults, United States, 2005. Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2009;58(16):421-426. PubMed PMID: 19407734. abstract
  12. Theis KA, Murphy L, Hootman JM, Helmick CG, Yelin E. Prevalence and correlates of arthritis-attributable work limitation in the U.S. population among persons ages 18–64: 2002 National Health Interview Survey Data. Arthritis Rheum. 2007;57(3):355–363. PubMed PMID: 17394215. abstract
  13. Theis KA, Hootman JM, Helmick CG, Murphy L, Bolen J, Langmaid G, et al. State-specific prevalence of arthritis-attributable work limitations – United States, 2003. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2007;56(40):1045-1049. PubMed PMID: 17932480. abstract
  14. Furner SE, Hootman JM, Helmick CG, Bolen J, Zack MM. Health-related quality of life of US adults with arthritis: analysis of data from the behavioral risk factor surveillance system, 2003, 2005, and 2007. Arthritis Care Res (Hoboken). 2011;63(6):788-99. PubMed PMID: 21538946. abstract
  15. United States Bone and Joint Initiative: The Burden of Musculoskeletal Diseases in the United States (BMUS), Third Edition, 2014. Rosemont, IL. Available at Accessed on April 19, 2014.
  16. Sacks JJ, Helmick CG, Langmaid G. Deaths from arthritis and other rheumatic conditions, United States, 1979-1998. J Rheumatology. 2004;31(9):1823–1828. PubMed PMID: 15338507. abstract
  17. Dunlop DD, Lyons JS, Manheim LM, Chang RW. Arthritis and heart disease as risk factors for major depression: the role of functional limitation. Med Care. 2004;42(6):502–511. PubMed PMID: 15167318. abstract
  18. Hootman JM, Cheng WV. Psychological distress and fair/poor health among adults with arthritis: state-specific prevalence and correlates of general health status, United States, 2007. Int J Public Health. 2009;54(suppl 1):S75–S83. PubMed PMID: 19363591. abstract

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