scales with diabetes over green background

The Staggering Rates of Diabetes in the United States

A new study out of the University of Iowa reveals what healthcare experts have long suspected: type 2 diabetes remains the most common type of diabetes by a long shot. According to the study, 91.2 percent of people with diabetes have type 2, and 5.6 percent have type 1. The study researching the rates of diabetes was published in the British Medical Journal and also notes that 8.5 percent of Americans have type 2 diabetes, while only .5 percent have type 1. Because of these staggering rates of diabetes, more money will need to be routed toward treating type 2 diabetes.

infographic showing rates of diabetes in the united states


About 84.1 million American adults live with prediabetes, and only 10 percent of the people who have prediabetes are aware they have it.



Twenty-five percent of Americans over 65 have diabetes. The average age of type 2 diabetes diagnosis is 54. The average age of diagnosis for type 1 is 14.

Gestational diabetes

Six to 8 percent of pregnant women will develop gestational diabetes during pregnancy. Gestational diabetes will usually disappear after giving birth, but it increases a woman’s chance of later developing type 2 diabetes. Poorly managed gestational diabetes is dangerous for both mother and child. It can cause preeclampsia (dangerously high blood pressure) in the mother.

Risks for infants include:

  • Being very large and obstructing birth
  • Being born early with underdeveloped lungs
  • Having low blood sugar
  • Developing type 2 diabetes later in life


Some races may be more likely to develop diabetes. The following races have higher diabetes populations:

  • 7.4% non-Hispanic whites
  • 8% Asian Americans
  • 12.1% Hispanics
  • 12.7% African Americans
  • 15.1% Native American/Alaska Native


The following U.S. states have the highest diabetes populations:

  • 15% West Virginia
  • 14.6% Alabama
  • 13.6% Mississippi
  • 13.5% Arkansas
  • 13.1% Kentucky
  • 13% South Carolina
  • 12.7% Tennessee
  • 12.1% Georgia
  • 12.1% Louisiana
  • 12% Oklahoma


Type 1 diabetes cannot be prevented. Researchers are still looking into the causes of this disease.

Type 2 diabetes can sometimes be prevented by eating a healthy diet and getting about 150 minutes of exercise each week.

Risk factors and symptoms

You may be more likely to develop diabetes if you:

  • Are age 45 or older
  • Have a family history of diabetes or prediabetes
  • Have high blood pressure
  • Have a history of strokes or heart disease

Common symptoms of both types of diabetes include increased hunger, frequent urination, fatigue, weight loss, and blurred vision. If you have any of these symptoms, talk with your doctor about checking your blood sugar levels with an easy blood sugar test and A1c test.