Prevalence of Schizophrenia

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According to the National Institute of Mental Health, about 1.1% of adults in the United States have schizophrenia in a given year, which amounts to around 2.5 million people. Information from the World Health Organization states that schizophrenia affects about 24 million people across the world, with a wordwide prevalence of about .7%.

It’s important to note that prevalence of a disease is different than incidence of the disease. A prevalence of .7% - 1.1% does not reflect how many people are diagnosed with schizophrenia each year. Rather, prevalence refers to the number of people who have schizophrenia at a given time, indicating how widespread the disease is. Incidence, on the other hand, refers to the number of people who are newly diagnosed with schizophrenia during a given time period and indicates the likelihood of being diagnosed with the disease. Because schizophrenia is a chronic disease and people diagnosed with schizophrenia continue to have it throughout their life, prevalence is quite a bit higher than incidence. The World Health Organization estimates that the incidence rate of schizophrenia is about 3 per 10,000 people.

While schizophrenia is a relative rare disease, it is found in every society around the world. Incidence rates have been found to be relatively similar across cultures (typically ranging from .1 to .4 per 1000 people), but it appears that prevalence varies a bit more (ranging from 1 to 7.5 per 1000 people in a given year). This variance between prevalence and incidence can likely be explained by differences in treatment, recovery, death and migration rates between populations.

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