The prevalence of diagnosed type 2 diabetes in the United States in 2016 was 8.6%, or 21.0 million adults, while the prevalence of diagnosed type 1 diabetes was 0.55%, or 1.3 million adults, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Non-Hispanic white adults had a higher prevalence of diagnosed type 1 diabetes compared with Hispanic adults, and non-Hispanic blacks had the highest prevalence of diagnosed type 2 diabetes, as reported in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

The researchers, led by Kai McKeever Bullard, PhD, used NHIS data from 2016 to identify US diabetes prevalence by type. The 2016 NHIS Sample Adult Core consisted of 33,028 adults aged 18 years and older, with a final response rate of 54.3%. Respondents were asked whether a doctor or healthcare professional had ever told them that they had diabetes, other than during pregnancy. Among those who said they had diabetes, questions were asked regarding age at diagnosis and insulin and oral hypoglycemic medication use. Adults who reported having type 1 diabetes but reported not using insulin were classified as having type 2 diabetes, as were persons who reported type 2 diabetes, unknown diabetes type, or who would not report diabetes type. Respondents who reported having another diabetes type were classified as having “other type.”

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A total of 3,519 respondents reported having diabetes, including 211 classified as having type 1; 3,210 classified as having type 2 (including 182 who reported having type 1, but not taking insulin; 2,897 who reported having type 2; one who reported an unknown type; and one refusal); and 98 classified as having “other” type. The prevalences of type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes, and other diabetes types were 0.55%, 8.58%, and 0.31%, respectively. The weighted percentages of all diagnosed diabetes cases that were type 1 and type 2 were 5.8% and 90.9%, respectively; the remaining were other types. Based on the weighted NHIS population, the estimated numbers of adults with type 1, type 2, and other diabetes types were 1.3 million, 21.0 million, and 0.8 million, respectively.

The prevalence of type 1 diabetes was higher among men (0.64%) than among women (0.46%) and higher among non-Hispanic whites (whites) (0.67%) than among Hispanics (0.22%). By age group, the prevalence of type 2 diabetes was highest among adults aged 65 years and older and lowest among adults aged 18 to 29 years, and by race/ethnicity, was higher among non-Hispanic blacks (11.52%) than among non-Hispanic Asians (6.89%), whites (7.99%), and Hispanics (9.07%). The prevalence of type 2 diabetes decreased with higher levels of educational attainment.

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“This first study to estimate the prevalence of diagnosed type 1 and type 2 diabetes based on self-report and current insulin use among US adults provides information to track prevalence of diabetes by type to monitor trends and assess the burden of disease for education and prevention programs,” the authors concluded. “Knowledge about national prevalences of type 1 and type 2 diabetes might facilitate assessment of the long-term cost-effectiveness of public health interventions and policies aimed at improving diabetes management and help to prioritize national plans for future type-specific health services.”


Bullard KM, Cowie CC, Lessem SE, et al. Prevalence of diagnosed diabetes in adults by diabetes type – United States, 2016. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2018 Mar 30;67(12):359-361. doi: 10.15585/mmwr.mm6712a2