TB in Specific Populations

Tuberculosis (TB) is a challenging disease to diagnose, treat, and control. It is critical to target prevention and control efforts to certain populations so as to reduce disparities related to TB, and further reduce TB rates both in the United States and worldwide.

African-American Community

Blacks in the United States continue to have a disproportionate share of TB. The percentage of TB cases that occur in  African Americans is higher than expected based on the percentage of blacks in the U.S. population. If looking at only people born in the United States, the proportion of TB in African Americans is even greater. We must better target our efforts to prevent and control TB in this group.

TB disease was once a leading cause of death in the United States, but since 1993, the rates of TB in the country have declined in almost all racial and ethnic groups. In 2018, a total of 9,025 TB cases were reported in the United States; however, Asians continue to be impacted by TB at a greater rate compared to other racial and ethnic groups.

Children photo

TB disease in children under 15 years of age (also called pediatric tuberculosis) is a public health problem of special significance because it is a marker for recent transmission of TB. Also of special significance, infants and young children are more likely than older children and adults to develop life-threatening forms of TB disease.

Correctional Facilities
prison with barbed wire fence

TB in correctional settings is a public health concern. Approximately 4-6% of TB cases reported in the United States occur among people incarcerated at the time of diagnosis. The incarcerated population contains a high proportion of people at greater risk for TB than the overall population.

prison with barbed wire fence

In 2018, a total of 9,025 TB cases were reported in the United States; Hispanics/Latinos continue to be impacted by TB at a greater rate compared to other racial and ethnic groups.


TB in the homeless population is a public health concern. While the reported number of TB cases in the United States decreased slightly in 2011, a disproportionate number of TB cases still occur among high-risk populations, including people experiencing homelessness.

International Travelers

In many countries, TB is much more common than in the United States. TB is a serious international public health problem. Although multidrug-resistant (MDR) and extensively drug-resistant (XDR) TB are occurring globally, they are still rare. All travelers should avoid high risk settings where there are no infection control measures in place.

Pregnancy Woman

While dealing with a TB diagnosis in pregnancy is not easy, there is a greater risk to the pregnant woman and her baby if TB disease is not treated. Babies born to women with untreated TB disease may have lower birth weight than those babies born to women without TB.

Health Disparities in TB

Despite prevention efforts, some groups of people are affected by TB more than others. The occurrence of TB at greater levels among certain population groups is often referred to as a health disparity. Differences may occur by gender, race or ethnicity, income, comorbid medical conditions, or geographic location.

Page last reviewed: April 16, 2013