Special Education

National Survey Puts ADHD Incidence Near 7 Percent

By Darcia Harris Bowman — May 29, 2002 2 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

Approximately 1.6 million elementary school children in the United States have been diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, according to the first nationwide survey on the condition.

Read “Attention Deficit Disorder and Learning Disability,” from the National Center for Health Statistics, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (Requires Adobe’s Acrobat Reader.)

Drawing on responses from 78,041 households canvassed by the U.S. Census Bureau in 1997 and 1998, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta found that parents of nearly 7 percent of children ages 6 to 11 reported having been told by health-care providers that those children had ADHD.

That finding, released last week, tracks with a smaller analysis released in March by the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., that estimated a minimum of 7.5 percent of school-age children have the disorder. (“Study: Minimum ADHD Incidence Is 7.5 Percent,” March 27, 2002.)

The CDC study also looked at the incidence of learning disorders among children in the elementary-age group and found that 7.7 percent, or about 1.8 million, had at least one learning disability.

An estimated 2.6 million U.S. children have either ADHD or a learning disability, or both. Overall, 3.3 percent of all American 6- to 11-year-olds have ADHD, 4.2 percent have learning disabilities, and 3.5 percent have both, the study said.

Dr. David Fleming, the acting director of the CDC, said in a statement that the survey provides a valuable snapshot of ADHD. But he cautioned that “much more needs to be learned about ADHD and about the spectrum of impairments associated with ADHD.”

Gender Gap

According to the survey, the percentage of boys diagnosed with the behavioral disorder was almost three times greater than that of girls, while learning disorders were equally common in both genders. White children are more likely than Hispanic or black children to be diagnosed with ADHD.

The results of the study suggest that having access to health care may strongly influence ADHD diagnosis. Children whose families had private insurance or Medicaid were more likely to be diagnosed with ADHD than those without some form of medical insurance.

The authors found that among children without a diagnosis of either ADHD or a learning disorder, only 3 percent had seen a mental-health professional during the past 12 months.

Among children diagnosed with either condition, the percent who had received mental-health care in the past year was 17 percent for those with learning disorders, 34 percent for those with just ADHD, and 51 percent for those with both.

Related Tags:

A version of this article appeared in the May 29, 2002 edition of Education Week as National Survey Puts ADHD Incidence Near 7 Percent

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Student Well-Being Webinar
A Whole Child Approach to Supporting Positive Student Behavior 
To improve student behavior, it’s important to look at the root causes. Social-emotional learning may play a preventative role.

A whole child approach can proactively support positive student behaviors.

Join this webinar to learn how.
Content provided by Panorama
Recruitment & Retention Live Online Discussion A Seat at the Table: Why Retaining Education Leaders of Color Is Key for Student Success
Today, in the United States roughly 53 percent of our public school students are young people of color, while approximately 80 percent of the educators who lead their classrooms, schools, and districts are white. Racial
Jobs January 2022 Virtual Career Fair for Teachers and K-12 Staff
Find teaching jobs and other jobs in K-12 education at the EdWeek Top School Jobs virtual career fair.

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Special Education 6 Ways to Communicate Better With Parents of Students With Learning Differences
For students who learn or think differently, a strong network of support is key. Here are 6 tips for bridging the communication gap between families and schools.
Marina Whiteleather
3 min read
network of quote bubbles
cagkansayin/iStock/Getty
Special Education New York City Will Phase Out Controversial Gifted and Talented Program
The massive change is aimed at addressing racial disparities in the biggest school system in the country.
Michael Elsen-Rooney, New York Daily News
4 min read
Students write and draw positive affirmations on poster board at P.S. 5 Port Morris, an elementary school in The Bronx borough of New York on Aug. 17, 2021. New York City will phase out its program for gifted and talented students that critics say favors whites and Asian American students, while enrolling disproportionately few Black and Latino children, in the nation's largest and arguably most segregated school system.
Students write and draw positive affirmations on poster board at P.S. 5 Port Morris, an elementary school in The Bronx borough of New York on Aug. 17, 2021. New York City will phase out its program for gifted and talented students that critics say favors whites and Asian American students, while enrolling disproportionately few Black and Latino children, in the nation's largest and arguably most segregated school system.
Brittainy Newman/AP
Special Education 3 Reasons Why Being a Special Education Teacher Is Even Harder During the Pandemic
Special education teachers were often left to navigate the pandemic on their own, a new survey shows.
6 min read
Paraprofessional Jessica Wein helps Josh Nazzaro answer questions from his teacher while attending class virtually from his home in Wharton, N.J.
Paraprofessional Jessica Wein helps Josh Nazzaro answer questions from his teacher while attending class virtually from his home in Wharton, N.J.
Seth Wenig/AP
Special Education Opinion Inclusive Teachers Must Be 'Asset-Based Believers'
Four veteran educators share tips on supporting students with learning differences as they return to classrooms during this pandemic year.
16 min read
Images shows colorful speech bubbles that say "Q," "&," and "A."
iStock/Getty