Percentage of adults who report having diabetes

PLACES Project, Centers for Disease Control.
Dashboard-City Average

Why do we measure diabetes?

Diabetes is one of the top 10 leading causes of death in the U.S. Most diabetes cases are Type 2 diabetes, which is increasing in prevalence but can be reversed if caught and diagnosed early enough.1 With this condition, the body loses its ability to regulate blood sugar levels because of resistance to the hormone insulin.2,3 Family history of the disease, physical inactivity, and obesity increase the risk for Type 2 diabetes.3 It is highly linked to high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, kidney disease, stroke, and vision and nerve damage.4 However, Type 2 diabetes can be treated with medication and healthy lifestyle changes—highlighting the need for access to primary health services.5 

Only 5% of diabetes cases are Type 1, which is not associated with obesity and lifestyle factors and occurs when the body’s immune system destroys cells that make insulin.2,3

How do we measure diabetes?

This metric includes adults, aged 18 or older, who report having been told they have diabetes.

Strengths and Limitations

Strengths of Metric

Limitations of Metric

• It is better to measure the prevalence of adults living with diabetes than deaths from the disease, because it is difficult to identify diabetes as the underlying cause of death.

• Approximately one in four cases of diabetes are undiagnosed, which suggests that this metric is an underestimation.1

• This metric does not include children.

• The metric is self-reported and depends on the accuracy of the person surveyed.


Diabetes is calculated by the following formula:

Diabetes Calculation

This metric includes both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes, but excludes gestational diabetes. For more information on the calculation, please refer to the City Health Dashboard Technical Document.

Data Source

Estimates for this metric are from 2018 one year of modeled PLACES Project Data (formerly 500 Cities Project) from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Multi-year data are available for this metric. For more information, please refer to Using Multi-Year Data: Tips and Cautions

Years of Collection

Data from 2021, 1 year modeled estimate.


  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Diabetes Quick Facts 2017;

    https://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/basics/quick-facts.html. Accessed January 16, 2018.

  2.  American Heart Association. About Diabetes. 2018;

    http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/More/Diabetes/AboutDiabetes/About-Diabetes_UCM_002032_Article.jsp#.Wl5qK66nG2w. Accessed January 16, 2018.

  3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. National diabetes fact sheet: national estimates and general information on diabetes and prediabetes in the United States, 2011. Atlanta, GA2011.

  4. American Heart Association. Why Diabetes Matters. 2018;

    http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/More/Diabetes/WhyDiabetesMatters/Why-Diabetes-Matters_UCM_002033_Article.jsp#.Wl5uBa6nG2w. Accessed January 16, 2018.

  5. American Heart Association. Prevention & Treatment of Diabetes. 2018;

    http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/More/Diabetes/PreventionTreatmentofDiabetes/Prevention-Treatment-of-Diabetes_UCM_002036_Article.jsp#.Wl5u8q6nG2w. Accessed January 16, 2018.

Last updated: July 26, 2023