Diabetes Prevalence: County-Level

 Published: July 2010

United States Map of County-Level Diabetes Prevalence, 2007


















Diabetes – County-Level Prevalence

According to the latest national data released and available by the CDC in 2010, approximately 24 million people – or 8 percent of the U.S. population – have diabetes. Diabetes can lead to health complications such as blindness, kidney damage, lower-limb amputation and cardiovascular disease. The risk of death among people with diabetes is about twice that of people without diabetes of a similar age. The estimated annual medical cost of treating people with diagnosed diabetes is $116 billion. People who have diabetes incur medical expenses that are about 2.4 times higher than those who do not.

Importance of County-Level Data

In November 2009, the CDC released the first U.S. county-level diabetes data. This information:

  • Contributes to understanding of diabetes rates in state legislative districts;
  • Creates better awareness of the size and scope of the diabetes problem, which can help identify services needed to prevent and control diabetes;
  • Offers better tracking of diabetes in the U.S. population, which can lead to targeted population interventions; and
  • May improve understanding of the behavioral, environmental and socioeconomic conditions and patterns that lead to diabetes, potentially enabling more efficient prevention policies.

Legislative Policy Options to Consider Concerning Diabetes

  • Enact policies to help prevent diabetes (e.g., increase access to affordable healthy food, opportunities for safe physical activity and education programs).
  • Appropriate funding for diabetes research;
  • Exempt diabetes monitoring and testing supplies from sales tax;
  • Create a statewide voluntary diabetes registry to track local diabetes prevalence to facilitate targeted prevention and treatment; and
  • Create a statewide plan to reduce diabetes incidence, including task force and pilot programs.

Sources: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Diabetes, At A Glance 2010”; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, MMWR, “Estimated County Level Prevalence of Diabetes and Obesity–United States, 2007,” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Press Release: “Number of People with Diabetes Increases to 24 Million” June 24, 2008.


NCSL Resources Other Resources
Diabetes Overview CDC Diabetes Page
Diabetes Legislation National CDC Diabetes Fact Sheet, 2007
Diabetes Health Coverage: State Laws and Programs National CDC Diabetes Fact Sheet Supplement, 2008
Diabetes in Women American Diabetes Association