Data and Statistics About ADHD
CDC uses datasets from parent surveys and healthcare claims to understand diagnosis and treatment patterns for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Estimates for diagnosis and treatment can vary depending on the source. This page includes ADHD data from different sources.
Facts about ADHD
Millions of US children have been diagnosed with ADHD
- The estimated number of children ever diagnosed with ADHD, according to a national 2016 parent survey,1 is 6.1 million (9.4%). This number includes:
- 388,000 children aged 2–5 years
- 2.4 million children aged 6–11 years
- 3.3 million children aged 12–17 years
- Boys are more likely to be diagnosed with ADHD than girls (12.9% compared to 5.6%).1
The number of US children ever diagnosed with ADHD has changed over time
Estimated number of US children who ever had a diagnosis of ADHD
About this chart:
1 NSCH 2003-2011: National Survey of Children’s Health, telephone survey data; estimate includes children 4-17 years of age [Read key findings]
2 NSCH 2016: Redesigned as an online and mail surveyexternal icon, estimate includes children 2-17 years of age [Read key findings]
Because the 2016 NSCH survey used different methods, estimates are not directly comparable with estimates based on previous NSCH data. Because of an increased focus on ADHD in younger children, age ranges were expanded to include children 2-17 years of age.
For more information:
Many children with ADHD also have other disorders
According to a national 2016 parent survey,1 6 in 10 children with ADHD had at least one other mental, emotional, or behavioral disorder:
- About 5 in 10 children with ADHD had a behavior or conduct problem.
- About 3 in 10 children with ADHD had anxiety.
Treatment for ADHD
Treatment for ADHD can include behavior therapy and medication. For children 6 years of age and older, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends behavior therapy and medication, preferably both together. For children under 6 years of age behavior therapy is recommended as the first line of treatment.
About 3 in 4 US children with current ADHD receive treatment
A national parent survey from 20161 reported on medication and behavioral treatment for children 2–17 years of age with current ADHD:
- 62% were taking ADHD medication
- 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%
- Altogether, 77% were receiving treatment. Of these children:
- About 30% were treated with medication alone.
- About 15% received behavioral treatment alone.
- About 32% children with ADHD received both medication treatment and behavioral treatment.
- About 23% children with ADHD were receiving neither medication treatment nor behavioral treatment.
It is not known what type of behavioral treatment these children received.
Most children with ADHD receive some types of services
A more in-depth national survey2 from 2014 reported on treatment and services that children with ADHD had received at some point prior to the survey. This survey was conducted with parents of children 4–17 years of age who had ever been diagnosed with ADHD.
- Almost 9 out of 10 children had received school support, which includes school accommodations and help in the classroom.
- About 6 out of 10 children had received some type of behavioral treatment or skills training:
- 3 out of 10 received parent-delivered behavior therapy (/ncbddd/adhd/behavior-therapy.html).
- 4 out of 10 received social skills training.
- 3 out of 10 received peer interventions.
- 2 out of 10 received cognitive behavioral therapy.
Healthcare claims data show treatment gaps
In addition to parent-reported data, healthcare claims from Medicaid or employer-sponsored insurance provide another way to understand treatment patterns. A study3 looking at the healthcare claims data for young US children found:
- During 2008–2011, children ages 2–5 years covered by Medicaid were twice as likely to receive clinical care for ADHD compared with similar-aged children covered by commercial employer-sponsored insurance.
- About 3 in 4 children ages 2–5 years who had clinical care for ADHD recorded in their healthcare claims from 2008–2014 received ADHD medication, and fewer than half received any form of psychological services.
It is not known what types of psychological services these children received, or whether these children received behavioral treatments that were not entered into the healthcare claims data.
- Danielson ML, Bitsko RH, Ghandour RM, Holbrook JR, Kogan MD, Blumberg SJ. Prevalence of parent-reported ADHD diagnosis and associated treatment among U.S. children and adolescents, 2016. Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology. 2018, 47:2, 199-212.
- Danielson ML, Visser SN, Chronis-Tuscano A, DuPaul GJ. A national description of treatment among U.S. children and adolescents with ADHD. Journal of Pediatrics. 2018, 192, 240–246.e1.
- Visser, SN Danielson ML, Wolraich ML, Fox M, Grosse SD, Valle LA, Holbrook JR, Claussen AH, Peacock, P. Vital signs: National and state-specific patterns of attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder treatment among insured children aged 2–5 years — United States, 2008–2014. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR); 2016,65, 443–450.