Arthritis and Joint Pain

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Lead Author(s): 

Edward H. Yelin, PhD
Miriam Cisternas, MA

Supporting Author(s): 

Sylvia I. Watkins-Castillo, PhD

Among the major subgroups of musculoskeletal diseases, arthritis and joint pain have the highest prevalence, reflecting the overall aging population.  In 1996 to 1998, 29 million persons (10.7%) reported one or more conditions related to arthritis and joint pain; by 2009 to 2011, 60.8 million persons (19.7%) reported one or more such conditions. However, methodological changes in MEPS in 2001 and 2007 improved the accuracy of capturing these conditions; therefore, the increased number of people with these conditions in 2001 and 2007 cannot be attributed solely to the increased size of the underlying population. The effect of the baby-boom generation aging has resulted in an increase in the proportion of arthritis cases among those age 45 to 64 years as they reach the typical onset age for arthritis. As this wave ages, the proportion of persons with arthritis in the 65-year and older group will increase as well. In 1996 to 1998, 25.6% of persons reporting arthritis were age 18 to 44 years; 37.5% were age 45 to 64 years. By 2009 to 2011, the proportions had changed to 22.7% and 45.1%, respectively. In the next decade, a higher proportion of arthritis and joint pain is expected to occur in persons age 65 years and older. (Reference Table 10.1.1 PDF CSV)
Percent of Population with Arthritis Condition by Age, United States 1996-2011  


  • 2014

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