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Approximately 20% of US Adults Are Diagnosed With Arthritis


The prevalence of reported diagnosed arthritis in the United States is highest overall in older adults with comorbid chronic conditions.


  • Researchers reviewed data from the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) from 2019 to 2021 to update the prevalence of self-reported arthritis in the United States.

  • The sample sizes for the 2019, 2020, and 2021 NHIS were 31,997, 21,153, and 29,482, with survey response rates of 59.1%, 48.9%, and 50.9%, respectively.

  • The unadjusted and age-standardized prevalence estimates were calculated for adults aged 18 years and older and based on self-reported health and demographic data.


  • Overall, arthritis was diagnosed in 53.2 million adults aged 18 years and older in the United States; of these, 88.3% were aged 45 years and older and 48.3% were 65 years and older.

  • Age-standardized prevalence of arthritis was higher in women vs men and among veterans vs nonveterans (20.9% vs 16.3% and 24.2% vs 18.5%, respectively).

  • When categorized by race, age-standardized prevalence of arthritis was higher among non-Hispanic White individuals, compared with Hispanic or Latino individuals or non-Hispanic Asian individuals (20.1%, 14.7%, and 10.3%, respectively).

  • The prevalence of arthritis also was higher among individuals with self-reported diagnosis of chronic conditions including dementia, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, stroke, heart disease, diabetes, and cancer than in those without these conditions; approximately half of adults aged 65 years and older with arthritis reported at least one of these conditions.


“These prevalence estimates can be used to guide public health policies and activities to increase equitable access to physical activity opportunities within the built environment and other community-based, arthritis-appropriate, evidence-based interventions,” the authors write.


The study was led by Elizabeth A. Fallon, PhD, of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia. The data were published online in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report on October 13, 2023.  


The cross-sectional design prevented conclusions of causality between individual characteristics and arthritis diagnosis; other limitations included the reliance on self-reports, possible response bias, and the inability to calculate prevalence of arthritis subtypes. 


The study received no outside funding. The researchers had no financial conflicts to disclose.

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  • Posted on November 15, 2023