20% of US adults face chronic pain, CDC finds

About one-fifth of adults in the U.S. experienced chronic pain in 2019, with 7.4 percent reporting frequent high-impact chronic pain that prevented them from life or work activities, according to a new CDC report. 

The CDC analyzed data from the 2019 National Health Interview Survey, which includes insights on the amount of Americans who reported experiencing chronic pain within the past three months. 

Four report findings: 

1. Chronic pain and high-impact chronic pain were more prevalent in women than men. About 22 percent of women experienced chronic pain, with nearly 9 percent reporting high-impact pain. For men, 19 percent suffered chronic pain and about 6 percent reported high-impact pain. 

2. Older Americans had higher rates of chronic pain. Nearly 9 percent of people ages 18 to 29 experienced chronic pain compared to about 31 percent of people age 65 and older. The prevalence of high-impact pain also increased with age. 

3. Rates of chronic and high-impact pain were highest among non-Hispanic white adults compared to other races at 24 percent and 8.4 percent, respectively. About 19 percent of non-Hispanic Black adults, 13 percent of Hispanic adults and 6.8 percent of non-Hispanic Asian adults had chronic pain. 

4. People who lived in more rural areas saw higher chronic and high-impact pain rates. About 28 percent of people who lived in rural areas reported chronic pain compared to about 16 percent of those who lived in large cities. 

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