Who Gets Diabetes?
Information on who is at risk of developing type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Risk factors that make certain populations susceptible to diabetes.
Type 1 diabetes occurs equally among males and females but is more common in whites than in nonwhites. Data from the World Health Organization's Multinational Project for Childhood Diabetes indicate that type 1 diabetes is rare in most African, American Indian, and Asian populations. However, some northern European countries, including Finland and Sweden, have high rates of type 1 diabetes. The reasons for these differences are unknown. Type 1 diabetes develops most often in children but can occur at any age.
Type 2 diabetes is more common in older people, especially in people who are overweight, and occurs more often in African Americans, American Indians, some Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islander Americans, and Hispanics/Latinos. National survey data in 2007 indicate a range in the prevalence of diagnosed and undiagnosed diabetes in various populations ages 20 years or older:
- Age 20 years or older: 23.5 million, or 10.7 percent, of all people in this age group have diabetes.
- Age 60 years or older: 12.2 million, or 23.1 percent, of all people in this age group have diabetes.
- Men: 12.0 million, or 11.2 percent, of all men ages 20 years or older have diabetes.
- Women: 11.5 million, or 10.2 percent, of all women ages 20 years or older have diabetes.
- Non-Hispanic whites: 14.9 million, or 9.8 percent, of all non-Hispanic whites ages 20 years or older have diabetes.
- Non-Hispanic blacks: 3.7 million, or 14.7 percent, of all non-Hispanic blacks ages 20 years or older have diabetes.
Diabetes prevalence in the United States is likely to increase for several reasons. First, a large segment of the population is aging. Also, Hispanics/Latinos and other minority groups at increased risk make up the fastest-growing segment of the U.S. population. Finally, Americans are increasingly overweight and sedentary. According to recent estimates from the CDC, diabetes will affect one in three people born in 2000 in the United States. The CDC also projects that the prevalence of diagnosed diabetes in the United States will increase 165 percent by 2050.
Last Updated: 25 January 2019
Reviewed by Harry Croft, MD