Eczema Facts and Statistics: What You Need to Know

Eczema is an inflammatory skin condition that affects about 10% of Americans. Eczema can affect all ages, genders and races, but some people are at increased risk.

The condition is slightly more common in Asians than in White or Black people. Although it can start in adulthood, 75% of people with eczema first have symptoms in childhood.

Learn more about eczema, including eczema facts, figures and treatment protocols, below. 

Eczema on the elbow

Tanja Ivanova / Getty Images

Eczema Overview

Eczema is an inflammatory condition that causes red, itchy patches on the skin. There are different types of eczema, although they share a common set of symptoms. The most common type of eczema is called atopic dermatitis. Other types of eczema include contact dermatitis and stasis dermatitis

How Common Is Eczema?

About 1 in 10 Americans will have eczema during their lifetime. However, 1 in 4 people with eczema don’t experience symptoms until they are adults, but most people with the condition have symptoms starting in childhood. 

In 1997, 8 in 100 American children had eczema. Today, 12 in 100 have the condition. Medical experts aren’t sure what causes eczema, so they don’t know what’s causing this increase. However, they theorize it could be due to skin pollution and climate change.

Eczema by Ethnicity

Eczema affects people of all races and of every ethnicity. However, there are slight differences in eczema risk among Americans of different races, including that:

  • 10% of Black Americans have eczema.
  • 11% of White Americans have eczema.
  • 13% of Asian and Pacific Islander Americans have eczema.
  • 13% of Native Americans have eczema.

In addition to having different rates of eczema, the condition affects races differently. Eczema is more common in Black and White children than Hispanic children, and Black and Hispanic children tend to have more severe symptoms than White children.

Eczema by Age & Gender

Eczema is more common in women than in men. But among children, it affects both sexes equally.

The condition affects all ages, including newborn babies. In fact, 75% of people with eczema first experience symptoms in childhood. Of people with atopic dermatitis, the most common type of eczema, 80% have symptoms before they are 6. In addition, 80% of people with atopic dermatitis no longer have the condition by the time they reach adulthood. 

Causes of Eczema and Triggers

While medical experts don’t know what causes eczema, some theorized that people may have a genetic predisposition to it. In addition, environmental triggers play a role. Common triggers include:

  • Certain materials, including wool and polyester
  • Personal hygiene products including shampoo, soaps and bubble bath
  • Cleaning materials, medical adhesives and other chemicals
  • Allergens including dust, mold and pollen

Eczema Mortality, Complications, and Co-Occurring Conditions

Eczema can have a big impact on your quality of life. Of adults with eczema, 25% say that their health is fair or poor.

Although eczema is not considered a fatal disease, people with atopic dermatitis are at slightly increased risk for death from any cause. In addition, if you have to be hospitalized for atopic dermatitis, your overall life span is about eight years shorter than that of the general population.

That may be because people with eczema are at increased risk for other health conditions. These can include:

  • Seasonal allergies and asthma: About 1 in 3 children with eczema also have asthma or seasonal allergies. 
  • Food allergies: Kids with eczema are 6 times more likely to have a food allergy than kids without eczema.
  • Sleep conditions: Around 6 in 10 kids with eczema have trouble sleeping. About 1 in 4 adults with eczema have trouble sleeping. 
  • Pain: Around 6 in 10 adults with eczema have skin pain. 
  • Infection: Adults with eczema are at increased risk for viral, fungal and bacterial skin infections

Summary

Eczema is a chronic skin condition that affects one in 10 Americans. It’s most common in children, although one in four people with the condition don’t have symptoms until they’re adults. However, 80% of people with atopic dermatitis, the most common type of eczema, will outgrow the condition. 

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How common is eczema?

    Eczema affects one in 10 Americans. The rate of eczema is increasing, although healthcare providers and researchers aren’t sure why.

  • Is there a cure for eczema?

    There’s no cure for eczema, but there is hope. Up to 80% of kids with atopic dermatitis will outgrow the condition. 

  • How do I get rid of eczema?

    Treatments and lifestyle changes including lotion, avoiding triggers and taking prescription medications can help with eczema. 

4 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. National Eczema Association. Eczema stats.

  2. MedlinePlus. Eczema.

  3. Hajar T, Simpson EL. The rise in atopic dermatitis in young children: what is the explanation? JAMA Netw Open. doi:10.1001

  4. National Eczema Association. What is eczema?

By Kelly Burch
Kelly Burch is has written about health topics for more than a decade. Her writing has appeared in The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, and more.