Arthritis Home > Rheumatoid Arthritis Statistics

It is estimated that about 2.1 million adults in the United States have rheumatoid arthritis. The disease occurs in all races and ethnic groups but is much more common in women than in men. Although the disease occurs most often in older people, children and young adults can also develop it. According to some recent statistics, the overall number of new rheumatoid arthritis cases may be decreasing.

An Overview of Rheumatoid Arthritis Statistics

Research scientists estimate that about 2.1 million people, or between 0.5 percent and 1 percent of the U.S. adult population, have rheumatoid arthritis. Interestingly, some recent studies have suggested that the overall number of new cases of rheumatoid arthritis may actually be going down. Scientists are investigating why this may be happening.

Gender and Ethnicity

Rheumatoid arthritis occurs in all races and ethnic groups. The disease often begins in middle-age and occurs with increased frequency in older people. About 80 percent of all patients develop rheumatoid arthritis between the ages of 35 and 50. However, children and young adults also develop it.
Like some other forms of arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis occurs much more frequently in women than in men. About two to three times as many women as men have the disease.

Financial and Social Impact of Rheumatoid Arthritis

By all measures, the financial and social impact of all types of arthritis, including rheumatoid arthritis, is substantial, both for the nation and for individuals. From an economic standpoint, the medical and surgical treatment for rheumatoid arthritis and the wages lost because of disability caused by the disease add up to billions of dollars annually.
Daily joint pain is an inevitable consequence of rheumatoid arthritis, and most patients also experience some degree of depression, anxiety, and feelings of helplessness.
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Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
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