In 2021, about 6.2 million U.S. adults aged
65 or older lived with dementia. Because age is the strongest risk factor for
dementia, it has been predicted that increasing life expectancies will
substantially increase the prevalence of Alzheimer’s disease and related
dementias from about 50 million to 150 million worldwide by 2050.
The prevalence of dementia in the U.S. is
declining among people over age 65, dropping 3.7 percentage points from 2000 to
2016, according to a new RAND Corporation study. The findings are published in
the latest edition of the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of
The age-adjusted prevalence of dementia
declined from 12.2% of people over age 65 in 2000 to 8.5% of people over age 65
in 2016, a nearly one-third drop from the 2000 level. The prevalence of
dementia decreased over the entire period, but the rate of decline was more
rapid between 2000 and 2004.
Differences in the prevalence of dementia
between Black men and white men narrowed, with the prevalence of dementia
dropping by 7.3 percentage points among Black men as compared to 2.7 percentage
points among white men.
The reasons for the decline in the
prevalence of dementia are not certain, but this trend is good news for older
Americans and the systems that support them, said the researchers. This decline
may help reduce the expected strain on families, nursing homes and other
support systems as the American population ages concluded the researchers.
Dementia prevalence is declining
among older Americans, study finds; RAND CORPORATION JOURNAL Proceedings of the
National Academy of Sciences; DOI: 10.1073/pnas.2212205119.