Racial Prevalence Trends of Arthritis Among US Adults: 2011 – 2018 Analysis

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A national survey provides insight into the prevalence of arthritis based on race in the US from 2011 – 2018.

Arthritis significantly rose from 2011 to 2018 in respondents who were White, Asian, and other races, but not for respondents who were Black. Not only that but the arthritis types of osteoarthritis and “other” had a greater rising prevalence than rheumatoid arthritis (RA) or psoriatic arthritis (PsA).1

With an aging population, arthritis prevalence is on the rise; the global prevalence of osteoarthritis increased by 113.25% from 247.51 million in 1990 to 527.81 million in 2019.2 Investigators have previously sought to analyze the trends of arthritis based on race. Still, limited data existed on the arthritis prevalence among the Asian population.1

Thus, investigators, led by Shenghao Xu, from the Department of Orthopedics at The Second Hospital of Jilin University in China, sought to examine the racial trends of arthritis prevalence for osteoarthritis, RA, PsA, and other types of arthritis among US adults between 2011 and 2018.

“It is noteworthy that most previous studies have focused primarily on trends in the prevalence of arthritis before 2014, leaving us with limited knowledge about these trends thereafter,” investigators wrote.

Xu and colleagues leveraged data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) from 2011 and 2018. They included respondents ≥ 20 years old. Respondents were considered to have arthritis if they answered yes to the question “Doctors ever said you had arthritis?” The survey then asked a follow-up question on the arthritis type and respondents either chose osteoarthritis or degenerative arthritis, RA, PsA, or “other.”

The team analyzed 22,566 participants with a mean age of 44.8 years and 10,927 (48.08%) males. The sample included 8281 Whites (64.58%), 5120 Blacks (11.45%), 3030 Mexican Americans (8.63%), 2364 other Hispanic Americans (6.38%), 2955 Asians (5.57%), and 806 individuals of other races (3.38%).

The arthritis prevalence rose significantly from 22.98% in 2011-2012 to 27.95% in 2017-2018 (95% confidence interval [CI], 21.47 – 24.55% and 95% CI, 26.20 – 29.76%, respectively; P < .001).

As for specific arthritis types, osteoarthritis increased from 12.02% in 2011 (95% CI: 10.82–13.35%) to 14.93% in 2018 (95% CI: 13.47–16.51%) (P < .001). In contrast, RA and PsA stayed stable (P = .220 and P = .849, respectively). Other arthritis types increased from 2.03% in 2011-2012 (95% CI: 1.54–2.67%) to 3.14% in 2017-2018 (95% CI: 2.56–3.86%).

When examining race, the analysis found the prevalence of arthritis and RA increased significantly in participants who reported as White, Asian, and other races—but not for the Black or Mexican American population. Additionally, osteoarthritis and other arthritis only increased in participants who were White and “other.”

The Black and Mexican American populations had no significant change from 2011 – 2018. The other Hispanic group only demonstrated an increase in RA prevalence. All racial groups had a stable PsA prevalence with no statistically significant changes.

“This nationally representative survey provides robust data for understanding the significant trends in arthritis prevalence among U.S. adults,” investigators wrote. “Across all indicators, rates were higher among White, Black, and other racial groups, with Black individuals showing a relatively stable prevalence without a statistically significant increase over the years.”


  1. Xu S, Shen X, Chen B, et al. Trends in prevalence of arthritis by race among adults in the United States, 2011-2018. BMC Public Health. 2024;24(1):1507. Published 2024 Jun 5. doi:10.1186/s12889-024-18966-0
  2. Long H, Liu Q, Yin H, et al. Prevalence Trends of Site-Specific Osteoarthritis From 1990 to 2019: Findings From the Global Burden of Disease Study 2019. Arthritis Rheumatol. 2022;74(7):1172-1183. doi:10.1002/art.42089