Prevalence of Select Medical Conditions

United States Population

Lead Author(s): 

Stuart I. Weinstein, MD
Edward H. Yelin, PhD

Supporting Author(s): 

Sylvia I. Watkins-Castillo, PhD

In the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) in 2012, musculoskeletal medical conditions were reported by 126.6 million adults in the United States, representing more than one in two persons age 18 and over of the estimated 2012 population. The rate of chronic musculoskeletal conditions found in the adult population is 76% greater than that of chronic circulatory conditions, which include coronary and heart conditions, and nearly twice that of all chronic respiratory conditions. On an age-adjusted basis, musculoskeletal conditions are reported by 54 persons per every 100 in the population. This compares to a rate of 31 and 28 persons per every 100 in the population for circulatory and respiratory conditions, respectively. The NHIS annual survey of self-reported health conditions is used throughout this chapter to highlight chronic health conditions of the US population. (Reference Table 1.2.1 PDF CSV)
Age-Adjusted Rate of Self-Reported Select Medical Conditions by Sex, United States 2012
On an age-adjusted basis, females report a higher rate of occurrence than males for most major medical conditions. Among females, 56 out of every 100 females in the population report musculoskeletal conditions; among males the rate is only slightly lower at 51 per 100, a slight increase in recent years. (Reference Table 1.2.1 PDF CSV)

Musculoskeletal conditions are found among all age groups, with the proportion of persons reporting these conditions increasing with age. Musculoskeletal conditions are reported by nearly three of four (70%) persons age 65 years and over. This compares to the 61% of persons age 65 to 74 years, and only slightly less than the 72% of those aged 75 years and older, reporting circulatory conditions, the majority of whom report chronic hypertension. (Reference Table 1.2.2 PDF CSV and Table 1.3.2 PDF CSV)

Musculoskeletal conditions were reported at a higher rate among whites and persons of mixed or other races, with 56 and 57 persons, respectively, in every 100 person in the population reporting a musculoskeletal condition. Among persons of the black/African American race, 48 in 100 reported a musculoskeletal condition. Persons of Asian descent reported the lowest level of musculoskeletal conditions, at a rate of 40 persons in every 100 persons in the population. (Reference Table 1.2.3 PDF CSV) The rate of musculoskeletal conditions among black/African Americans and those of Asian descent increased by several percentage points from those reported in 2008.1

  • 1. The Burden of Musculoskeletal Diseases in the United States, Second Edition, American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, Rosemont, IL. 2008


  • 2014

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