Gout Facts and Statistics: What You Need to Know

Roughly 9.2 million people in the United States are affected by gout. Most diagnoses are among older adults and males.

On a global scale, gout cases continue to rise. In 2017, 92 in every 100,000 people were newly diagnosed with the condition. That amounts to a roughly 5.5% increase since 1990.

This article highlights important facts and statistics you should know about gout.

Senior man with Elbow Pain - stock photo

PixelsEffect / Getty Images

Gout Overview

Gout is a form of arthritis that develops when uric acid crystals build up in the body. Uric acid is a waste product. When too much of it is in the bloodstream, it forms crystals over time.

Gout is an arthritic condition that can cause inflammation in one or more joints, permanently damaging the affected joint. People with gout experience pain, redness, swelling, and warmth in the affected joints.

What Causes Gout?

Gout develops when there is too much uric acid in the body. High uric acid levels can occur in people who eat a lot of red meat, drink a lot of sweetened drinks such as soda, and consume alcohol excessively.

How Common Is Gout?

Gout is the most common form of inflammatory arthritis in the United States. The condition affects a large group of the American population. Roughly 9.2 million people in the United States have the disease, and cases have continued to rise since 1990.

While, in 2017 alone, 92 in every 100,000 people were newly diagnosed with the condition globally, the number is higher in the United States, at roughly 2,700 per 100,000 people. Rates vary based on age and sex.

Gout Cases on the Rise

Gout cases have continued to rise in the nearly three decades from 1990 to 2017. At this time, cases rose by roughly 5.5%. The increase is expected to continue because of various factors, including the aging of the population and the popularity of the Western diet.

Gout by Ethnicity

Gout does not affect people of all ethnicities equally. According to a 2021 report, the highest rates are among Asian American and Black American populations.

Gout by Ethnicity
Ethnicity Percent
Non-Hispanic White 4
Black 4.8
Hispanic 2.1
Asian American 5.1–5.6

The Lack of Data on Gout and Ethnicity

Determining how each race is affected by gout can be difficult because data is lacking. However, research has found that Asian American and Black American populations make up more cases of gout than do people of Hispanic and non-Hispanic White descent.

Gout by Age and Gender

Older adults and males are the most likely to be affected by gout. However, the condition can develop in early adulthood. Children and teenagers are extremely unlikely to develop gout.

Gout by Age and Gender: Cases per 1000
Age Group Female Male
Under 35 0.09 0.96
35–44 0.54 12.86
45–54 1.7 23.42
55–64 3.84 35.48
65–74 8.8 49.91
75+ 14.31 53.08

Why Are Men More Susceptible to Gout?

Men are more likely to develop gout because they tend to have higher uric acid levels in their blood throughout their lives. 

Causes of Gout and Risk Factors

Gout is caused by high levels of uric acid in the bloodstream. When levels build up, uric acid forms into crystals within the open spaces of joints, causing inflammation. Eating certain foods can lead to higher levels of uric acid because the digestion process to break down these foods creates more uric acid. Those foods include:

  • Red meat
  • Seafood
  • Alcohol
  • Sugary drinks

Other risk factors can include:

Reducing Gout Risk

While you cannot change your genetics, you can control your weight and what you eat to help reduce your risk of developing gout.

What Are the Mortality Rates for Gout?

Gout is not typically fatal. That said, gout can increase the risk of potentially life-threatening conditions such as cardiovascular disease. People who have severe forms of gout and fail to treat it effectively are more likely to suffer from severe consequences of the disease.

One study found that the average seven-year survival rate for people with gout was around 85%. Of the remaining 15% with the condition, about 66% died from cardiovascular disease.

Other causes of death in people with gout in the study were from complications due to kidney disease, cancer, and infection. The average age of death for patients in the study was about 62 years old.

What Does Survival Rate Mean?

A survival rate is the percentage of people who are still alive with a disease for a specified amount of time after being diagnosed.

Screening and Early Detection

There are no specific screening or early detection tests for gout. If a person is concerned about their risk, they can have a blood test to see how high their uric acid levels are. Once symptoms develop, the healthcare provider will order tests to diagnose gout.

Ultrasound, which is an imaging test designed to look within the joints, can determine if a person has crystallization within the affected joints. This test is done so that healthcare providers can confirm a case of gout and begin treating it to lessen the risk for permanent joint damage.

Early diagnosis and treatment of gout are important for better health outcomes. When treatment begins, people are made aware of symptoms to watch for, what conditions they are more at risk for, and the steps they need to take to reduce their mortality risk due to a severe disease complication.  

Managing Gout to Reduce Early Death Risk

To manage gout, many people are told to focus on their diet, take any necessary medications, and get proper exercise. These steps not only help reduce gout flare-ups but can also aid in reducing the risk of cardiovascular diseases.


Gout is the most common form of inflammatory arthritis in the United States. Roughly 9.2 million people are afflicted with the disease, with men diagnosed more often than women. Although people of all ethnicities can develop gout, it is more common among people of certain racial and ethnic groups than others.

Gout is caused by high levels of uric acid in the blood. Uric acid forms crystals in the joints that can cause damage. People with gout are at an increased risk of developing other chronic health conditions like cardiovascular disease and kidney disease.

Early diagnosis and treatment can lower the risk of complications. Treatment options for gout usually include medications, dietary changes, and regular exercise.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Who gets gout the most?

    Anyone can develop gout. That said, people in ethnic minority groups and men are the most affected. Older adults are also the most likely to be diagnosed with gout, and the condition is incredibly rare in people under 35.

  • Can you die from gout?

    While gout isn’t typically fatal, the condition can increase your risk of developing potentially life-threatening diseases. People with gout are at an increased risk of dying from conditions such as heart disease, kidney disease, and stroke.

  • Are more people getting gout than before?

    Gout cases are on the rise, and since 1990, the rate of cases has increased by 5.5%. This increase is linked to several factors, such as an aging population and the popularity of the Western diet.

9 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. Berman, J. Yip, K. What is gout? JAMA. 2021;326(24):2541. doi:10.1001/jama.2021.19770

  2. Safiri S, Kolahi AA, Cross M, Carson-Chahhoud K, Hoy D, Almasi-Hashiani A, Sepidarkish M, Ashrafi-Asgarabad A, Moradi-Lakeh M, Mansournia MA, Kaufman JS, Collins G, Woolf AD, March L, Smith E. Prevalence, incidence, and years lived with disability due to gout and its attributable risk Factors for 195 countries and territories 1990-2017: A systematic analysis of the global burden of disease study 2017. Arthritis Rheumatol. 2020 Nov;72(11):1916-1927. doi:10.1002/art.41404

  3. Lawrence RC, Felson DT, Helmick CG, Arnold LM, Choi H, Deyo RA, Gabriel S, Hirsch R, Hochberg MC, Hunder GG, Jordan JM, Katz JN, Kremers HM, Wolfe F; National Arthritis Data Workgroup. Estimates of the prevalence of arthritis and other rheumatic conditions in the United States. Part II. Arthritis Rheum. 2008 Jan;58(1):26-35. doi:10.1002/art.23176

  4. Mount Sinai. Gout Information.

  5. Butler F, Alghubayshi A, Roman Y. The epidemiology and genetics of hyperuricemia and gout across major racial groups: A literature review and population genetics secondary database analysis. J Pers Med. 2021 Mar 22;11(3):231. doi:10.3390/jpm11030231

  6. Singh JA. Racial and gender disparities among patients with gout. Curr Rheumatol Rep. 2013 Feb;15(2):307. doi:10.1007/s11926-012-0307-x

  7. Vargas-Santos AB, Neogi T, da Rocha Castelar-Pinheiro G, Kapetanovic MC, Turkiewicz A. Cause-specific mortality in gout: Novel findings of elevated risk of non-cardiovascular-related deaths. Arthritis Rheumatol. 2019 Nov;71(11):1935-1942. doi:10.1002/art.41008

  8. Survival of gout patients. Ter Arkh. 2012;84(5):45-50.

  9. Norkuviene E, Petraitis M, Apanaviciene I, Virviciute D, Baranauskaite A. An optimal ultrasonographic diagnostic test for early gout: A prospective controlled study. J Int Med Res. 2017 Aug;45(4):1417-1429. doi:10.1177/0300060517706800

By Angelica Bottaro
Angelica Bottaro is a professional freelance writer with over 5 years of experience. She has been educated in both psychology and journalism, and her dual education has given her the research and writing skills needed to deliver sound and engaging content in the health space.