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How many people have diabetes?

Scientific support: Dr. Esther Seidel-Jacobs

Diabetes is a common and widespread chronic disease. Every year some 560,000 people are diagnosed with diabetes.

The vast majority of these - around 95 percent - will have type 2 diabetes. An evaluation of data from Germany-wide surveys conducted by the Robert Koch Institute found that there are around 7 million people living with diabetes in Germany. In fact, many people are not aware that they have diabetes:  estimates put the figure of people with undiagnosed diabetes in Germany at around 1.3 million people.

Type 1 diabetes is much rarer. Some 32,000 children and adolescents and 340,000 adults in Germany are living with type 1 diabetes.

The number of people with diabetes will continue to rise

Estimates on the current incidence of type 2 diabetes in Germany range from around 7 to 8 percent of the population, depending on study type and data source.

It is expected that more and more people will go on to develop diabetes in the decades to come. Scientists have calculated that the number of people with type 2 diabetes will probably increase by half again by 2040. This would mean an extra 3.8 to 5.4 million more people developing type 2 diabetes. This equates to an increase of 54 to 77 percent.

Good to know:

There are more than 7 million people in Germany who have diabetes.

We predict that in 2040, a total of 10.7 to 12.3 million people will have type 2 diabetes.

Scientists take into account newly diagnosed cases of diabetes and a drop in the death rate, which will happen in future as a result of medical advances in diabetes care.

More forecasting models are being developed which will also take into account any potential preventative measures.

Is type 2 diabetes only widespread in the elderly?

Type 2 diabetes is most common in older age. Experts estimate that 1 million people over the age of 80 have type 2 diabetes. As life expectancy is increasing, the number of elderly people with type 2 diabetes is also increasing sharply.

Various factors that influence whether someone will develop type 2 diabetes are:

  • Lack of physical exercise
  • Poor diet and
  • Being severely overweight.

These are risk factors we can do something about.

Click here for more information on the causes and risk factors for type 2 diabetes.

How many people have diabetes worldwide?

Around 463 million people have diabetes worldwide according to calculations made in 2019 by the International Diabetes Federation. It is also estimated that the number of people with diabetes worldwide will rise to 700 million by 2045.

The number of people with type 2 diabetes in particular is set to rise worldwide. In the Middle East and Africa, the number of people with diabetes is expected to more than double in the next 25 years.


Deutsche Diabetes Gesellschaft et al.: Deutscher Gesundheitsbericht Diabetes 2019. Kirchheim Verlag, Mainz, 2019
Hoyer, A. et al.: Risk factors in the illness-death model: Simulation study and the partial differential equation about incidence and prevalence. In: PLoS One, 2019, 14: e0226554
International Diabetes Federation: IDF Diabetes Atlas 2017. 8. Auflage. 2017 (Letzter Abruf: 15.12.2019)
Nationale Diabetes-Surveillance am Robert Koch-Institut: Diabetes in Deutschland – Bericht der Nationalen Diabetes-Surveillance 2019. Robert Koch-Institut, Berlin
Rosenbauer, J. et al.: Diabetestypen sind nicht auf Altersgruppen beschränkt: Typ-1-Diabetes bei Erwachsenen und Typ-2-Diabetes bei Kindern und Jugendlichen. In: Journal of Health Monitoring, 2019, 4: 31-53
Tönnies, T. et al.: Projected number of people with diagnosed Type 2 diabetes in Germany in 2040. In: Diabet Med, 2019, 36: 1217-1225
As of: 16.12.2019