Vital Bipolar Statistics You Need to Know

Bipolar Statistics 2024 (U.S. & Worldwide)

Published on: March 13, 2024
Last Updated: March 13, 2024

Bipolar Statistics 2024 (U.S. & Worldwide)

Published on: March 13, 2024
Last Updated: March 13, 2024

Bipolar statistics show that over 45 million people all over the world are impacted by it.

This mood disorder is characterized by intense energy, mood, and sleep fluctuations. 

So, when you hear someone say, “Sometimes, I’m up and sometimes I’m down because I’m bipolar,” it’s not as simple as it sounds.

It’s more than just feeling good and bad or having ups and downs in life. 

One minute, hour, or part of a day, they have a lot of energy and get hyper focused on what they are doing.

On the flipside, that energy can quickly turn into fatigue and sleepiness that disables the person for hours or days.

Most of us can’t even imagine how confusing and complicated living this way might be.

The roller coaster of ups and downs for those with bipolar disorder are so severe that even doing everyday things is a major challenge, or even an obstacle.

Every aspect of their lives is adversely affected by bipolar disorder. It impacts their personal relationships, professional lives, social lives, and their jobs.

Besides that, there is a stigma associated with bipolar disorder that makes life even more challenging for those living with it. 

Resource Contents show

Key Bipolar Statistics 2024

  • As of 2024, an estimated 46 million people around the world live with bipolar disorder.  
  • In 2018, in the United States, the preponderance of bipolar type I was 1%. 

Detailed Bipolar Statistics 2024 


Millions of people worlwide are living with bipolar disorder.

Moreover, many are experiencing bouts of depression, which can be disabling in many circumstances. 

Let’s discuss some detailed bipolar statistics to help you better understand how big the problem is and how it affects those who live with it. 

1. As Of 2024, an Estimated 46 Million People Around the World Live with Bipolar Disorder.  

We say estimated because statistics can only record the instances of bipolar disorder that are reported.

We cannot even imagine how many are living with it and not reporting it or getting treatment.  

Of the 46 million people (about twice the population of New York) with bipolar disorder, 2.8% (around 7 million people) live in the United States.

Bipolar “episodes” can last from days to weeks. 

When they are depressed, they are intensely sad with no motivation and low energy levels. When they are manic, they often feel very optimistic to the point of euphoria.

Sometimes they tend to make impulsive or irrational decisions. It varies from person to person. 


2. In 2018, in The United States, the Preponderance of Bipolar Type I Was 1%.  

The survey for this statistic took data from 11 countries. It was discovered that the prevalence of bipolar type I was higher in the United States than in many of the other countries surveyed.   

The 1% of bipolar type I disorder in the United States is taken from the 2.4% of people in the United States with any type of bipolar disorder

Statistics for this survey were taken from 2018 and recorded in PubMed Central by Tobias A. Rowland and Steven Marwaha.

(Therapeutic Advances in Psychopharmacology)

3. Over Two-Thirds of Those with Bipolar Disorder Also Have at Least One Close Relative with Either Unipolar Major Depression or Bipolar Disorder.

Statistics like this one indicate that there is the potential for it being inherited in some cases.

In fact, 2020 data from the NIH shows that bipolar disorder (BD) is a mental illness that is the most likely to be inherited.

So, if you have bipolar or unipolar major depression, and perhaps anxiety, you may also have at least one close relative with BD.

Let’s not leave out the fact that it could also be isolated and not inherited at all. 


4. 25 Is the Median Age of Onset BD Though It Can Start in Childhood or After 40.

The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) has shown that 25 is the average age for onset bipolar disorder.

However, it can also start in early childhood or in the teen years. 

If it’s left untreated, more often than not, it gets worse, but with proper treatment and early diagnosis, those with BD can enjoy a good quality of life.

Treatments may include psychotherapy, dietary changes, lifestyle changes, and/or medications. 


5. Out of All Mood Disorders, Bipolar Disorder Is More Apt to Be Categorized as Severe Impairment, According to The Archives of General Psychiatry In 2005. 

In 2005, it was discovered that 82.9% of those with bipolar disorder, the level of impairment ranged from moderate to severe.

This data was calculated by the Sheehan Disability Scale.

Another 17.1% of those with this mood disorder experienced moderate impairment.

Diagnostic data from the National Comorbidity Survey Adolescent Supplement shows that of the 2.9% of adolescents with BD, 2.6% live with severe impairment. 


6. A Large Proportion of Adolescents Between 13 and 18 Are Not Getting Treatment for Bipolar Disorders.

In other findings from the National Comorbidity Survey Adolescent Supplement, it’s not unusual for adolescents between 13 and 18 years old to not receive treatment for mood-related disorders, including bipolar I and II.

In one face-to-face survey of over 10,000 adolescents, 49% were treated for either mania or depression, and 38% weren’t getting treatment at all.

Additionally, 13% were being treated for mental conditions other than depression or mania. 

(Springer Link)

7. Bipolar Disorder Is Almost Equally Prevalent in Both Males and Females. 

Bipolar disorder affects men or women almost equally with 2.9% of men and 2.8% of women with this mood disorder. 

This data comes from the National Institute of Mental Health (2017). 

Therefore, everyone has the same chance of developing bipolar disorder across the world.

Remember, it can be present in early childhood or adolescence, but also after the age of 40. 


8. As of 2007, Stats Revealed that People Over 60 Years and Older Experienced the Lowest Rates of The Disorder.

If you are 60 years old or older, the likelihood of having or developing bipolar disorder is the lowest. It’s more prevalent in people between 18 and 29 years old at 4.7%.

The second most-likely age group to experience the mood disorder is between 30 to 44 years old (3.5%). 

The data was uncovered by Harvard Medical School in 2007. Since that time, no new discoveries have been made.

It’s important to know your risk of bipolar disorder and its target demographics for awareness. 


9. The Risk of Suicide in Those with BD Is High at 15% to 17%.

The Treatment Advocacy Center reports that suicide is a high risk in those with bipolar disorder, with percentages as high as 15% to 17% among them.

Due to the severe ups and downs with depression and mania, this is the number one cause of death among people with BD.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), bipolar disorder is a brain disorder that affects the individual’s activity levels, moods, and energy levels.

The symptoms can be quite severe, which can negatively affect their quality of life. 

(Treatment Advocacy Center)

10. Between 30% and 50% of Those with Bipolar Disorder Develop Issues with Compulsive or Regular Substance Use.

Over the years, bipolar stats have shown that people with BD are more apt to develop substance use disorders than the general population.

However, knowing that fact doesn’t explain why it’s that way. 

Some of the educated theories about bipolar disorder and substance use disorders somewhat explain the affiliation between mental illness (including BD) and substance use.

There are three primary pathways to substance use disorder.

  1. Genetics, environmental, and lifestyle. 
  2. The symptoms of BD can cause self-medicating issues.
  3. To stabilize the mood swings of BD, though instead it causes the mood changes to last longer or be more severe.


Impairment and Employment Bipolar Statistics 2024


The nature of bipolar disorder can be disabling for millions of adults and children around the world.

Sometimes, it can impact their ability to work or learn in school. Navigating the world of bipolar disorder is beyond challenging for those with BD. 

Let’s discuss how bipolar disorder affects millions of people who have it all over the globe. 

11. Bipolar Has Stayed Somewhat Stable in The United States, Maintaining About 0.65% of The Population with It Yearly. 

It’s important to note that in the United States, the prevalence of bipolar disorder remains pretty much the same year after year.

The percentage stays at about 0.65% every year. Of course, this only includes reported diagnoses. 


12. The Stigma Associated with Bipolar Disorder Is Linked to Higher Unemployment Rates Among Those with BD.

When we say higher unemployment rates among those with bipolar disorder, we have a number.

In 2003, a survey by the National Depressive and Manic-Depressive Association revealed that about 60% of people with bipolar disorder were unemployed, including those with college degrees. 

Since studies based on employment and bipolar disorder are rare, it’s difficult to be accurate about the estimates in these cases.

This is a complex problem that should be further researched. 


13. Statistics from A National Sample Survey in The United States Showed that Bipolar Disorder Caused a 40% Reduction in The Chances of Paid Employment.

Remember, this data is exclusively from US surveys, so the samples are only from Americans.

Besides being 60% of people with bipolar unemployed and the 40% reduction in the likelihood of getting employed, 88% of the National Depressive and Manic-Depressive Association respondents reported occupational problems.

Some smaller studies have also recorded high rates of unemployment among those with BD.

One six-month follow-up of hospitalized patients with manic episodes revealed that 43% were employed, but that 80% of that group had mild symptoms or were free from symptoms.

You can imagine why this is such a complex and difficult to pindown demographic of people.  

(MyDisabilityJobs, AJMC)

14. Yearly Incomes for Those with Bipolar Disorder Tend to Be Rather Low, with 91% of Workers Earning Under $30,000 per Year. 

Even people with bipolar disorder who have jobs are low earners, according to 2005 data published in the American Journal of Managed Care by Hong Wei Zhang.

Among these employed workers with BD, absenteeism seems to be the biggest issue.

In one study of primary care patients, bipolar diagnosis came with a sevenfold likelihood of absenteeism in the workplace due to health conditions or illness.

The impairment considered in this instance is that of being able to engage in long-term employment. 


15. A New Zealand Study that Focused on The Sociodemographics of Hospitalized Bipolar Patients Showed a Poor Record of Employment.

The United States isn’t the only country with employment issues arising among its population of bipolar disorder individuals.

New Zealand has also studied the problem and essentially came up with similar problems. 

Even having a higher education over the general population of NZ, those with bipolar disorders had worse employment records. 

Additionally, a Dutch study showed that patients with bipolar disorder were more likely to take their own lives and/or become incapacitated compared to the general population.

They also found that they had a lesser quality of life. 


16. This Mood Disorder Comes with Higher Labor Costs than Any Other Mental Illness. 

The Psychiatric Services Journal shows that bipolar disorder creates higher health care costs than several chronic illnesses.

Insurance companies and employers are in constant flux while trying to find better and more efficient care for workers with bipolar disorder. 

If you recall, we discussed that most people with bipolar disorder also have medical health conditions, including chronic illnesses like asthma that disrupt their lives.

Consequently, bipolar disorder is number five in the top ten most expensive medical conditions in the United States.

(Psychiatric Services Journal)

17. In 2006, Stats Showed that It Costs $6,000 More than It Does for Workers without Bipolar Disorder.

For employees with bipolar disorder, annual costs for health care was $6,000 more per year than it was for other employees without BD in 2006.

The costs came in the form of insurance, sick leave, prescriptions, workers’ compensation, and even long- and short-term disability.

Between having manic and/or depressive episodes that can be disabling for several days to weeks, absenteeism, and chronic medical illnesses, people with BD pay more for their own health care, while companies pay more financially and in productivity.

It’s challenging and basically unfair to people with bipolar disorder.


18. Statistics Show that Job Performance Is Affected by 88% Among Workers with Bipolar Disorder.

Keeping in mind that each person with BD is different, the generalized percentage of job duty performance, being 88%, is likely among those with moderate to severe episodes.

It’s a workplace issue that hurts this worker demographic the most.

Also, the issue of changing jobs often comes in second at 65%. The same percentage of employees with BD are not being considered for promotion.

More bipolar at work issues include career change (60%), quitting working outside the home (8%), and being given less responsibility in the workplace (48%).


19. The Best Jobs for Those with Bipolar Disorder Are in Creative, Calm, or Part-Time Jobs. 

For those with bipolar disorder, the need to be creative is important. Creative jobs like freelance writing, makeup artistry, and hair styling are ideal for BD.

Also, working in a calm, virtually stress-free environment is a good idea. Working in a library, as a yoga instructor, massage therapist, or tutor are good jobs for BD workers. 

Part-time jobs that can be done on site or from home like proofreader, receptionist, and accountant, are great jobs for people with BD. 

(Columbus Recovery Center)

20. High-Stress or Hectic Jobs Are Not the Best for Those with Bipolar Disorder.


There are good jobs for people with bipolar disorders, but there are also bad jobs for them.

Some jobs that are draining, triggering, or otherwise less stimulating include working overnight or alternating shifts in health care or factories, food services, teachers, and emergency services. 

These are the type of jobs that could quickly trigger episodes of mania or depression that can last longer than usual.

These are things people with bipolar disorder must consider before applying for jobs. 

(Columbus Recovery Center)


How Many Types of Bipolar Disorder Are There?

There are three known types of bipolar disorder.    

1. Bipolar I, which is characterized by mania that often lasts for at least one week.

Afterwards, they usually experience a depressive episode that may last up to a couple of weeks.

When these symptoms occur at the same time, it is called a mixed bipolar episode.   

2. Bipolar II, which is described as a pattern of hypomanic and depressive episodes.

Depressive episodes often last longer than with bipolar I and are severe.

However, hypomania is where they have high energy (not as bad as bipolar I) and get agitated while also having pressured speech.   

3. Cyclothymic disorder presents with frequent mood swings known as “rapid cycling”.

In the lows, they experience mild to moderate depression.

These highs and lows occur more often and last longer. They can even last up to two years.

Does Bipolar Disorder Come with Accompanying Health Issues?

Many people with bipolar disorder do report recurring and chronic medical issues.

Most generally, they report high blood pressure, migraines, osteoarthritis, asthma, and high cholesterol. 

How Is Bipolar Disorder Treated?

The goal of treatment for BD is to give them better control over their mood swings and other symptoms that come with the mood disorder.

After all, this is a lifelong illness that requires consistent and long-term treatments. 

Medications such as mood stabilizers and/or antidepressants are the most common form of treatment.

Psychotherapy, behavioral therapy, psychoeducation, family therapy, and interpersonal therapy seem to have good results for some patients. 

As a last resort in very severe cases, electroconvulsive therapy, ECT is used when medications and therapies don’t help.

There are also natural therapies and supplements recommended by some doctors and psychiatrists. 

Treatment is determined by the individual’s bipolar disorder severity and frequency of manic and depressive episodes. 

Is It Challenging to Work with Someone with Bipolar Disorder?

While it can be challenging to see the mood swings and mania and depressive episodes in people with bipolar disorder, working with them requires some patience, listening, and learning what their triggers are.

Positive support and empathy are important traits to have when working alongside someone with BD. 

Also, if someone at work shares with you that they have bipolar disorder, keep that to yourself and don’t spread it around.

They trusted you enough to share their private health situation, so avoid betraying that trust. 


This is data and the statistics we discovered to share with you in this article.

We hope this brings more awareness of BD and how it affects the people around you living with it.

It may come with a stigma, as most mental illnesses do, but there are 46 million people living with it across the world, so awareness and understanding are vital.

If you or someone you know is experiencing the symptoms of onset bipolar disorder, don’t hesitate to find help for them. 

Early diagnosis and treatment are important to the mental and physical health of those affected by bipolar disorder.

Remember to be patient and empathetic so you don’t trigger a manic or depressive episode at home, school, or work.

Treatment plans for BD are personalized to the individual and their symptoms. 

Some things that you can do to manage your bipolar disorder include:

  • Take regular breaks at work.
  • Get some fresh air while you’re at lunch or take a walk.
  • Practice meditation and deep breathing.
  • Take proper time off work for treatments.
  • Develop a support system you can reach out to when you need it.

Bipolar statistics not only help to bring awareness of BD, but can also help employers, friends, coworkers, and family members better support them.


AJMCColumbus Recovery CenterMyDisabilityJobs
Psychiatric Services JournalSingleCareSpringer Link
The British Journal of PsychiatryTherapeutic Advances in PsychopharmacologyTreatment Advocacy Center

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Written by Kelly Indah

I’m a statistics researcher here at EarthWeb with a special interest in privacy, tech, diversity, equality and human rights. I have a master’s degree in Computer Science and I have my Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) certification.