Menopause Facts and Statistics: What You Need to Know

Menopause is a normal part of aging for people who menstruate. The average age of menopause in the United States is 51.

This article will review basic facts about menopause—including how common it is, who gets it, and how likely it is to cause complications. 

Menopausal woman experiencing hot flashes

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Menopause Overview

Menopause is a natural biological process that marks the end of menstrual cycles. An individual is considered to be in menopause after 12 months without a menstrual period. Menopause comes with several changes in an individual’s health. 

Menopause Symptoms

Common symptoms of menopause include:

How Common Is Menopause?

Menopause is a normal part of aging for women and those who menstruate. Everyone with a menstrual cycle will go through menopause during their lifetime. By 2025, it is estimated that there will be 1.1 billion postmenopausal women worldwide.

Menopause by Ethnicity

Everyone who menstruates will experience menopause. The age of menopause onset may vary by ethnicity, but the research is mixed. Some studies have found that Black Americans experience menopause slightly earlier (six months) than White Americans. Other studies have found no difference in the onset of menopause based on race or ethnicity. 

Where you live may play a role in determining when you go through menopause. Studies show that people in developing countries may experience natural menopause earlier than those in developed countries. Also, people in urban areas have been found to go through menopause later than those in rural areas. Additionally, those living at higher altitudes experience menopause 12 to 18 months earlier than those at lower altitudes. 

Menopause by Age & Gender

Menopause occurs in all individuals who menstruate. Although the average age of menopause onset in the United States is 51, the age of onset can range from 40 to 58.

Menopause occurs most often between the ages of 50 and 52. It’s estimated that 95% of people will have their final period between the ages of 44 and 56.

Individuals who go through menopause before age 40 are in early menopause. It’s estimated that about 5% of people will go through early menopause. About 1% will experience primary ovarian insufficiency, a condition that causes early menopause.

Risk factors for early menopause include smoking and never having been pregnant. 

Causes of Menopause

Common causes of menopause include:

  • The natural decline in hormones: Over time, the ovaries start making less estrogen and progesterone. This usually begins in the late 30s, causing the menstrual periods to change and become irregular in the 40s. 
  • Surgery: An oophorectomy is a procedure to remove the ovaries, which causes immediate menopause. 
  • Cancer treatment: Chemotherapy and radiation therapy can induce menopause, but menopause that occurs in this way may not be permanent. 
  • Primary (or premature) ovarian insufficiency: This condition causes menopause to occur before age 40. The cause is usually unknown.

Screening and Early Detection

Menopause is usually diagnosed with a thorough medical history and physical exam. Your healthcare provider will ask questions about your new symptoms and how long they have been occurring. 

Tests are usually not needed to diagnose menopause but may include blood tests to measure:

During menopause, FSH increases, and estrogen decreases. A thyroid function test may be ordered because hypothyroidism can cause symptoms similar to menopause.


Menopause is a natural biological process that marks the end of menstrual cycles. It is a normal part of the aging process for those who menstruate. The average age of menopause onset for women in the United States is 51. The age of onset may vary by ethnicity, but the research is mixed. Menopause is usually diagnosed by giving a detailed medical history and undergoing a physical. Common symptoms include absent periods, hot flashes, night sweats, vaginal dryness, and weight gain. 

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is the average age of menopause?

    In the United States, the average age of menopause onset is 51. This age can vary significantly from person to person, and the average age span is 40 to 58. Those who go through menopause before age 40 are in early menopause. 

  • How do I know if I’m in menopause?

    Most individuals in menopause have experienced irregular menstrual periods for months to years before the onset of menopause. This time is known as perimenopause. Common symptoms of menopause include absent periods, hot flashes, night sweats, vaginal dryness, weight gain, and hair thinning. 

8 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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  2. Office on Women’s Health. Menopause.

  3. National Institute on Aging. What is menopause?

  4. Shifren J, Gass M. The North American menopause society recommendations for clinical care of midlife women. Menopause. 2014;21(10):1038-1062. doi:10.1097/gme.0000000000000319

  5. McKnight KK, Wellons MF, Sites CK, et al. Racial and regional differences in age at menopause in the United States: findings from the reasons for geographic and racial differences in stroke (REGARDS) study. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2011;205(4):353.e1-353.e3538. doi:10.1016/j.ajog.2011.05.014

  6. Gold E. The timing of the age at which natural menopause occurs. Obstet Gynecol Clin North Am. 2011;38(3):425-440. doi:10.1016/j.ogc.2011.05.002

  7. Yale Medicine. Menopause

  8. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. The menopause years.

By Carrie Madormo, RN, MPH
Carrie Madormo, RN, MPH, is a health writer with over a decade of experience working as a registered nurse. She has practiced in a variety of settings including pediatrics, oncology, chronic pain, and public health.