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Data & Statistics

CDC uses datasets from parent surveys and healthcare claims to understand diagnosis and treatment patterns for Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). On this page you can see information from different studies.

How many children have ADHD?

The percent of children estimated to have ADHD has changed over time and can vary by how it is measured. The American Psychiatric Association states in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5, 2013) that 5% of children have ADHD1. However, other studies in the US have estimated higher rates in community samples.

Children ages 4-17:
  • Approximately 11% of children 4-17 years of age (6.4 million) have ever been diagnosed with ADHD, according to parent report from 2011-12. [Read key findings]
  • The percent of children with an ADHD diagnosis continued to increase, from 7.8% in 2003 to 9.5% in 2007 and to 11.0% in 2011-12. [Read key findings]
  • The percent of children with an ADHD diagnosis varied by state, from a low of 5.6% in Nevada to a high of 18.7% in Kentucky. [Read key findings]
Children ages 2-5:
  • Approximately 237,000 children aged 2 to 5 years in the United States had an ADHD diagnosis, according to parent report from 2011-12. [Read key findings]
  • The number of young children with ADHD increased by more than 50% from the 2007-2008 survey. [Read key findings]
  • Among children with ADHD, parents reported that just under 9 out of 10 children received school support at some point in their lives, which includes school accommodations and help in the classroom. [Read key findings]
  • Among children with ADHD, 6 out of 10 children received some type of psychosocial treatment at some point in their lives: [Read key findings]
    • 3 out of 10 received parent-delivered behavior therapy.
    • 4 out of 10 received social skills training.
    • 3 out of 10 received peer interventions.
    • 2 out of 10 received cognitive behavioral therapy.
  • Among children with ADHD, parents also reported on alternative treatments: [Read key findings]
    • About 1 out of 10 children received neurofeedback.
    • About 2 out of 10 children had taken dietary supplements.
State-based Information about ADHD Diagnosis (2011-2012)

Detailed Information by State

Learn more about ADHD rates, diagnosis, and medications throughout the years.

Timeline of ADHD diagnostic criteria, prevalence, and treatment

How many children are receiving 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 both behavior therapy and medication as good options, preferably both together. For young children (under 6 years of age) with ADHD, behavior therapy is recommended as the first line of treatment, before medication is tried. Read more about the recommendations »

There are no comprehensive data on ADHD treatment from a single source. CDC uses parent report and healthcare claims data to understand treatment patterns.

Children ages 4-17

Parent report:

  • The percent of children 4-17 years of age taking ADHD medication increased from 4.8% in 2007 to 6.1% in 2011. [Read key findings]
  • More US children were receiving ADHD treatment in 2011 compared to 2007; however, as many as 17.5% of children with current ADHD were not receiving either medication for ADHD or mental health counseling in 2011. [Read key findings]
  • The percent of children taking medication for ADHD varied by state, from a low of 2% in Nevada to a high of 10.4% in Louisiana. [Read key findings]
  • Among children with special health care needs, 9 out of 10 children with ADHD were receiving treatment. [Read key findings] Of these children:
    • About 4 in 10 (43%) were treated with medication alone — the most common single ADHD treatment.
    • About 1 in 10 (13%) received behavior therapy alone.
    • Less than 1 in 3 children with ADHD received both medication treatment and behavior therapy, the preferred treatment approach for children ages 6 and older.
  • About 1 in 10 children with special health care needs with ADHD were receiving neither medication treatment nor behavior therapy. [Read key findings]
ADHD medication and behavior therapy among children with ADHD (ages 4-17) with special health care needs
Map showing: Use of ADHD medication and behavioral therapy among children with ADHD (ages 4-17) with special health care needs

View text version

Detailed information by state

Children ages 2-5

Parent report:

  • Approximately 44% of young children with current ADHD were taking medication for ADHD, according to parent report from 2011-12. [Read key findings]
  • 53% of young children with current ADHD had received behavioral treatment in the past year, according to parent report from 2011-12. [Read key findings]
Only 1 in 2 young children with ADHD received psychological services that may include behavior therapy.

Healthcare claims data:

  • About 3 in 4 children ages 2-5 years with ADHD received ADHD medication, and only about half or fewer received any form of psychological services, based on healthcare claims data. [Read article]
  • During 2008–2011, 2–5 year-old children covered by Medicaid were twice as likely to receive clinical care for ADHD compared with similar-aged children covered by commercial employer sponsored insurance. [Read article]

Read more detailed findings here

More information in maps

More information in tables

Detailed information by state

State-based Prevalence Data of all Children Receiving ADHD Medication Treatment (2011-2012)

Detailed Information by State

Footnotes:
  1. American Psychiatric Association. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth edition: DSM-5. Washington: American Psychiatric Association, 2013.
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