road signs reading diabetes; states with highest diabetes population

Which States Have the Highest Diabetes Population?

Diabetes is considered by many health experts to be a national epidemic. With nearly 30 million Americans (almost 10 percent of the total population) being afflicted with the type 2 diabetes, it’s easy to see why there is so much alarm over this disease in the healthcare community. One surprising factor that may determine if you develop type 2 diabetes is geography. However, some states have higher populations of people with this disease. Here’s a list of states with the highest diabetes population.

States with highest diabetes population

The following states have the highest diabetes population in the United States:

infographic showing top 10 states with highest diabetes population


Diabetes and geography

Diabetes is most prevalent throughout the southeastern region of the U.S., often referred to as the Bible belt. When referencing the impact of diabetes on this region, it’s sometimes called the “diabetes belt” due to the high proportion of people afflicted with the disease.

Some health experts postulate that this region is saddled with diabetes due to the geo-economics of the region, which is disproportionately more impoverished than other parts of the country. Poverty can also mean people lack access to good healthcare and healthy, whole foods. In fact, there are more food deserts here, or concentrated areas that lack fresh produce and other healthy foods, compared to other parts of the country.

Other risk factors

Where you live is not the only thing that may determine if you develop diabetes. You may be likely to develop diabetes if you:

  • Are age 45 or older
  • Have a family history of diabetes or prediabetes
  • Are African American, Native American, Latino, or Pacific Islander
  • Have high blood pressure
  • Have a history of strokes or heart disease

If you suspect you may have diabetes, talk with your doctor about testing your blood sugar so you can stay healthy, happy, and independent longer.