March 5, 2021

Parkinson’s Disease Statistics


Due to the nature of the condition, inconsistency of symptoms and possible under-diagnosis (especially in the early stages), Parkinson’s disease statistics vary significantly depending on the source of data. Some source’s suggest up to 40% of people who have the condition go undiagnosed.


  • Approximate overall prevalence of Parkinson’s disease in the general population:
    • US  0.3% (1 in 300)
    • UK  0.2% (1 in 500)
  • Between 0.5-1-5 million Americans have Parkinson’s disease and 50,000-60,000 new cases are diagnosed each year. Estimated cost to the US economy $6+ billion.
  • Some 120,000 UK citizens have Parkinson’s disease and 10,000 new cases are diagnosed each year.
  • An estimated 100,000 Canadians have the disease.
  • Worldwide figure is estimated to be 5-6.5 million people.
Parkinson's Disease Statistics

Parkinson's Disease Statistics

  • Average age of onset is 60 years.
  • % of general population with Parkinson’s:
    • 65-69 years old =  0.5-1%
    • 80+ years old = 1-3%. Other studies indicate a figure around 5%.
  • Young Onset Parkinson’s represents 5-10% of Parkinson’s patients. The definition of Young Onset Parkinson’s vary between sources with some including only patients under 40 years, whilst others include patients up to 50 years old. Parkinson’s has been documented in a patient as young as 3 years old.
  • One study indicated that the % of doctors patients who exhibited signs of Parkinsonism:
    • Over 60 years old = 10%.
    • Over 85 years old = 50%
Following Parkinson’s disease statistics, the next article will look into Parkinson’s disease causes and associated risk factors.

What is Parkinson’s Disease

The British physician James Parkinson first described Parkinson’s disease as “the shaking palsy” in 1817. Parkinson’s disease is a non-contagious degenerative brain disorder that involves the deterioration and death of nerve cells/neurons leading to a loss of function and synchronization of electrical impulses.

The brain stem, in particular the midbrain structure the substantia nigra (“black substance”), is significantly affected by a high rate of cellular death of dopamine secreting cells. As a result, one of the 4 neural Dopamine pathways in the brain, the nigrostriatal pathway (associated with movement), experiences a significant decrease in dopamine function.

Parkinson’s disease is a chronic and progressive disorder that primarily affects muscle and movement. However, approximately 20% will develop dementia in varying degrees of severity within 10-15 years from an initial Parkinson’s diagnosis.

What is Parkinson's Disease

An Essay on the Shaking Palsy

Parkinson’s disease is the 2nd most common neuro-degenerative disease after Alzheimer’s disease. Although significant research progress has been made in the last decade, the exact cause of Parkinson’s disease is still not fully understood.

The collective term Parkinsonism applies to a group of disorders whose similar symptoms result from degeneration and death of nerve connections that produce dopamine. Parkinson’s disease is the best known form of Parkinsonism and is therefore referred to as Idiopathic (no known cause) Parkinson’s disease or Primary Parkinsonism. The other forms of Parkinsonism include those whose condition is the results of another neurological disorder or the cause is suspected or known.

The next article in the Parkinsons disease early symptoms series will consider Parkinson’s disease statistics.