Diabetes by Age and Race
The diabetes epidemic extends to 26 million Americans, 8.3 percent of the population. The Southern states have the highest rates of diagnosed diabetes, while no particular region of the country stands out with the lowest rates. As the nation’s population ages, more people are diagnosed with this disease, currently the 7th leading cause of death in the U.S. African-Americans are two times more likely to die from diabetes that whites.
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Nearly 26 million people, or 8.3 percent of the U.S. population, have diabetes. The chronic disease is the seventh-leading cause of death and the primary cause of kidney failure, nontraumatic lower-limb amputations and new cases of blindness among adults across the country. Overall, the risk of premature death among people with diabetes is about twice that of people without the disease.1
- Higher proportions of the population in Southern states are diagnosed with diabetes. Alabama, Mississippi and West Virginia have the highest percentages of diabetes diagnoses at 11 percent of their respective populations, followed closely by Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas at 10 percent. Puerto Rico is the only other state or territory with a double-digit diabetes rate.
No particular region stands out with particularly low diabetes rates.
- Several Western states—Alaska, Colorado, Montana and South Dakota—have low rates of diabetes.
- Health policies in Connecticut and Vermont mandate health insurance to cover diabetes testing, treatment and self-management, while all three states require coverage of medication, education and services used to treat the disease.3
- People are more likely to be diagnosed with the disease between the ages of 64-75 (20 percent), followed by people over 75 (18 percent).
- People in the 18-to-44 age range are diagnosed least often; 2 to 5 percent of this population has been diagnosed with diabetes.
- African-Americans are two times more likely to die from diabetes (40.5 per 100,000) than whites (19.9 per 100,000).
- The mortality gap between whites and African-Americans is highest in Nebraska where African-Americans are 2.8 times more likely to die from diabetes than whites, followed by Mississippi where African-Americans are 2.7 times more likely to die from diabetes than whites, and South Carolina, 2.6 times more likely to die.
- Every state for which CDC data are available has a racial disparity in the mortality rate of diabetes for whites and blacks.