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Research on ADHD Prevalence

While survey data is not uniform across studies, the larger picture is consistent, as follows:

Overall prevalence of U.S. children (ages 3-18) with ADHD increased by 42% from 2003 (8%) to 2011 (11%)—a total of 6 million children. While parents may notice their toddler’s’ excessive motor activity, most ADHD symptoms are hard to distinguish under age 4. 

Further breakdown by age:

    • Ages 3-5: 265,000 (2%), with age 6 the most common age of onset 
    • Ages 6-12: 2.4 million (10%)
    • Ages 13-18: 3.3 million (9-13%)

Another survey found that of the 9% of adolescents diagnosed with ADHD, nearly half (4%) showing severe impairment.

    • Boys (13%) are 3 times more likely to be diagnosed than girls (4-6%)
    • Black, White and non-Hispanic children are more often diagnosed (10-12%) than Hispanic (8%) or Asian (3%) children
    • Found in all countries and ethnic groups, studied to date 

75% of children experience symptoms into adulthood, with 15-30% of them ultimately outgrowing their symptoms.

    • Although symptoms improve with age, 70% of children with ADHD have symptoms through adolescence. Recent studies suggest up to 66% continue to be significantly impaired by symptoms in adulthood. 

Read more about symptoms and CFI’s treatment options for ADHD.


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