Chronic Kidney Disease Facts and Statistics: What You Need to Know

About 37 million Americans have chronic kidney disease or CKD, and 9 out of 10 of those people don't know they have it. Most people have a pair of kidneys, which are organs located below the ribs that filter the blood to get rid of toxins and process waste to create urine.

"Chronic kidney disease" is a medical term that means one or both kidneys slowly become damaged or less able to filter the blood, and over time, may not be able to filter blood at all. 

Learn important facts and statistics you should know about chronic kidney disease.

Woman sitting in a hospital gown in a healthcare provider's office.

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Chronic Kidney Disease Overview

The kidneys are organs located below the ribs that filter the blood to get rid of toxins and process waste to create urine. While most people have two kidneys, some people only have one, or one that works, and are still able to live healthy lives. Sometimes one or both kidneys can slowly become damaged and less able to filter the blood, eventually not being able to filter at all. This is called chronic kidney disease or CKD.

How Common Is Chronic Kidney Disease?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that about 37 million Americans, over 1 in 7, have chronic kidney disease.

Of those with CKD, it is more common in:

  • People age 65 years and older, followed by people 45–64 years old
  • Women
  • Non-Hispanic Black Americans, followed by Hispanic people

More people are being diagnosed with and dying from CKD than in previous years, and the rates are expected to continue to increase.

Chronic Kidney Disease by Ethnicity

Chronic kidney disease affects non-Hispanic Black Americans more than any other race or ethnicity with 16% of adults in this community experiencing the condition. Compared to White Americans, Black Americans have a nearly 4 times greater incidence of CKD.

Chronic kidney disease may affect Black Americans at higher rates because people of this population:

  • Are more likely to have conditions that lead to CKD, including diabetes and hypertension (high blood pressure)
  • Are less likely to have health insurance, which can interfere with getting preventive care
  • Face challenges related to access to medical care, which also interferes with the prevention

Hispanic Americans, non-Hispanic Asian Americans, and non-Hispanic White Americans experience CKD at similar rates to one another, at 13.6%, 12.9%, and 12.7%, respectively.

Chronic Kidney Disease by Age & Gender

The risk of developing chronic kidney disease increases with age, and people who are 65 and older are most likely to experience the condition. This is partially because organ function can decrease over time, but also because other health conditions such as diabetes can damage the kidneys.

Even though the risk increases with age, it is possible for children to develop CKD due to birth defects, illnesses passed down from parents, infections, and other causes.

Women are more likely to experience chronic kidney disease than men, but there is not a big difference in the risk between the two groups.


Chronic kidney disease becomes more common with age, especially among people who are 65 years old and older. This is because:

  • The kidneys filter about 1% less each year after a person turns 40 years old.
  • People are more likely to have other medical conditions as they age that lead to kidney damage.

The percentage of adults with CKD increases with age, as follows:

  • 6.0% among people 18 to 44 years old
  • 12.4% among people 45–64 years old
  • 38.1% among people 65 years and older

It is estimated that less than 0.01% of children experience chronic kidney disease, but the exact number is unclear. While CKD is rare in children, the rates are increasing and it is becoming more common.


Compared to men, women are more likely to experience chronic kidney disease, with the condition affecting 12% of men and 14% of women.

It is not fully understood why more women than men have CKD. However, it may be because:

  • Urinary tract infections, or UTIs, can cause kidney damage and women tend to have more UTIs.
  • Pregnancy complications including high blood pressure and eclampsia can cause kidney damage.
  • Certain types of birth control can cause kidney damage.

Causes of Chronic Kidney Disease and Risk Factors

The causes of chronic kidney disease and risk factors are different by age, especially among adults vs. children. For example, CKD in babies is most likely caused by birth defects or genetic illnesses, while adult CKD is most likely caused by non-communicable diseases including diabetes and high blood pressure.

Causes of chronic kidney disease by age include:

Factors for chronic kidney disease that raise the incidence of CKD include:

  • Health conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease
  • Being overweight or obese
  • Having a family member with CKD
  • Having a medical history that includes kidney damage
  • Recurrent or severe urinary tract infections
  • Pregnancy complications
  • High levels of blood sugar
  • Being Black or Hispanic
  • Older age

What Are the Mortality Rates for Chronic Kidney Disease?

Chronic kidney disease is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States and is responsible for nearly 16 deaths per 100,000 people. There are 96 deaths per 1,000 people age 65 and older with CKD. However, there are treatments, such as dialysis, that decrease the death rates.

Treatments that decrease the mortality rates of chronic kidney disease include:

Survival Rate

The survival rate is the percentage of people who survive a disease such as chronic kidney disease for a specified amount of time. The way it is presented may vary.

People in the earlier stages of chronic kidney disease are more likely to survive, and survival rates of CKD have increased in recent years among all stages. For example, the mortality rate for early-stage CKD dropped from roughly 10 people per 1,000 to 5 people per 1,000, while the mortality rate for stage 5 CKD dropped from roughly 200 to 100 people per 1,000.

Screening and Early Detection

One of the best ways to prevent chronic kidney disease is to detect it early with a screening:

  • Urine test: A protein called albumin is present in the bloodstream, but it can be detected in the urine when the kidneys are damaged.
  • Blood test: Creatinine is a waste product in the blood and can be measured to determine how well the kidneys are working.

Detecting chronic kidney disease early, getting treatment, and making lifestyle changes can help to keep the kidneys working and prevent kidney failure.


Chronic kidney disease or CKD is a serious medical condition that happens when the kidneys are damaged and do not effectively filter toxins from the body. It is common, affecting 37 million Americans.

Older people, especially those who are 65 years old or older, are at the greatest risk. Other health conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure can lead to CKD. While this is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States, it is preventable and treatable, and survival rates are increasing.

18 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.
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By Ashley Olivine, Ph.D., MPH
Dr. Ashley Olivine is a health psychologist and public health professional with over a decade of experience serving clients in the clinical setting and private practice. She has also researched a wide variety psychology and public health topics such as the management of health risk factors, chronic illness, maternal and child wellbeing, and child development.