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Migraine Statistics

In the U.S., more than 38 million people have migraine disease, with some estimates suggesting that this number may be even higher, impacting as many as 50 million or more. Some migraine studies estimate that 12 percent of adults in the U.S. population have migraine, and 4 million have chronic migraine.1,2

Most individuals in the U.S. with migraine experience one to two migraine attacks per month, however, those with chronic migraine may have 15 migraine days, or more, per month. Approximately 9 out of every 10 people with migraine cannot function normally during an attack, and roughly one in five are disabled.2

Who gets migraine?

Migraine occur most often in:

  • Women (it has been estimated that women are more than twice as likely to have migraine than men)
  • People between the ages of 15 and 55
  • Lowest income groups
  • Those who are uninsured
  • Native Americans and Caucasians1,2

Migraine statistics & the impact on quality of life

  • 90% miss work or can’t function normally during migraine attack
  • Roughly 90% have a family history of migraine
  • Nearly 45% of individuals with chronic migraine reported that their symptoms were the cause of relatnship difficulties
  • Over 75% of all people with migraine are women
  • More than half of those with migraine needed to scale back on family activities at least once a month as a result of their migraine
  • Almost half of all people with migraine have not been diagnosed
  • Migraine is the third most prevalent and sixth most disabling illness across the globe
  • As many as one out of every ten children will experience migraine
  • Financial security is a concern for a third or more of those with migraine, and about a quarter worry that they will lose their job because of their symptoms
  • About a quarter of all American households have at least one member with migraine
  • Half of all females with migraine have more than one migraine attack per month, and about a quarter have more than four per month
  • Children with migraine are twice as likely to be absent from school than those without migraine
  • Less than 5% of those with migraine actually see a pain or headache specialist
  • It has been estimated that although a quarter of those with migraine would benefit from a regular, preventative treatment, just over 10% actually use this kind of therapy2-4

Most common migraine symptoms

The most common migraine symptoms reported by people with migraine are:

Economic impact of migraine

Because migraine disease strikes during the most productive, working years, the pain takes a financial toll. The World Health Organization’s disability rating for migraine ranks the disease as the 6th most common reason for disability.5

Some estimates suggest the cost of healthcare and the loss of productivity related to migraine in the U.S. is over $35 billion per year. Nearly 160 million workdays are lost each year in America as a result of migraine and its symptoms, and employers who offer benefits may spend over $80,000 each year in migraine-related costs alone for every 1000 employees.2,6


People with migraine also spend much more on their health care than those who don’t have migraine disease. Migraine patients incur 70% higher healthcare-related costs than those without the disease and received up to $1 billion in brain scans annually. Migraine patients often have other comorbid, or co-occurring conditions, such as obesity, mood disorders, back pain, hypertension (high blood pressure), and anxiety.2,6

Written by: Casey Hribar | Last review date: June 2019
  1. Burch R, Rizzoli P, Loder E. The prevalence and impact of migraine and severe headache in the United States: Figures and trends from government health studies. Headache: The Journal of Head and Face Pain. Apr 2018; 58(4), 496-505.
  2. Migraine Facts. Migraine Research Foundation. Accessed May 28, 2019.
  3. Ciccone A. Chronic Migraine Burden has Significant Impact on Relationships, Family Life. NeurologyAdvisor. Published June 30, 2018. Accessed May 28, 2019.
  4. Buse DC, Scher AI, et al. Impact of migraine on the family: Perspectives of people with migraine and their spouse/domestic partner in the CaMEO study. Mayo Clinic Proceedings. May 2016; 91(5), 596-611. Available from: Accessed May 28, 2019.
  5. Headache Disorders. World Health Organization. Published April 8, 2016. Accessed May 28, 2019.
  6. Rosenberg J. Migraine has Impact on Both Healthcare Costs and Lost Productivity. American Journal of Managed Care—Newsroom. Published June 19, 2018. Accessed May 28, 2019.