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Original Contribution
August 2003

Alzheimer Disease in the US Population: Prevalence Estimates Using the 2000 Census

Author Affiliations

From the Rush Institute on Healthy Aging (Drs Hebert, Bienias, Bennett, and Evans), the Rush Alzheimer's Disease Center (Drs Bennett and Evans), Rush-Presbyterian– St Luke's Medical Center, Chicago, Ill; and the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Ga (Dr Scherr).

Arch Neurol. 2003;60(8):1119-1122. doi:10.1001/archneur.60.8.1119

Context  Current and future estimates of Alzheimer disease (AD) are essential for public health planning.

Objective  To provide prevalence estimates of AD for the US population from 2000 through 2050.

Design  Alzheimer disease incidence estimates from a population-based, biracial, urban study, using a stratified random sampling design, were converted to prevalence estimates and applied to US Census Bureau estimates of US population growth.

Setting  A geographically defined community of 3 adjacent neighborhoods in Chicago, Ill, applied to the US population.

Participants  Alzheimer disease incidence was measured in 3838 persons free of AD at baseline; 835 persons were evaluated for disease incidence.

Main Outcome Measure  Current and future estimates of prevalence of clinically diagnosed AD in the US population.

Results  In 2000, there were 4.5 million persons with AD in the US population. By 2050, this number will increase by almost 3-fold, to 13.2 million. Owing to the rapid growth of the oldest age groups of the US population, the number who are 85 years and older will more than quadruple to 8.0 million. The number who are 75 to 84 years old will double to 4.8 million, while the number who are 65 to 74 years old will remain fairly constant at 0.3 to 0.5 million.

Conclusion  The number of persons with AD in the US population will continue to increase unless new discoveries facilitate prevention of the disease.