Diabetes: Facts and Figures

Quick Facts

  • 40% of Wisconsin adults are expected to develop type 2 diabetes in their lifetime.1
  • 8% of Wisconsin adults have diabetes.2
  • 28% of Wisconsin adults have diabetes and don't know it.3
  • 37% of Wisconsin adults have prediabetes.3
  • Approximately 356,000 adults and 6,500 children and adolescents in Wisconsin have been diagnosed with diabetes.2,4,5 It is estimated that an additional 138,000 have diabetes but are undiagnosed.3
  • The direct (medical care) and indirect (lost productivity) costs of diabetes in Wisconsin total an estimated $3.9 billion annually.6
  • Diabetes is the seventh leading cause of death in the United States.7

What is diabetes?

According to the National Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), diabetes is a disease in which blood glucose levels are above normal. Most of the food we eat is turned into glucose, or sugar, for our bodies to use for energy. The pancreas, an organ that lies near the stomach, makes a hormone called insulin to help glucose get into the cells of our bodies. When you have diabetes, your body either doesn't make enough insulin or can't use its own insulin as well as it should. This causes sugar to build up in your blood. Diabetes can cause serious health complications including heart disease, blindness, kidney failure, and lower-extremity amputations.

The three main types of diabetes are: type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes, and gestational diabetes Another condition called prediabetes is almost always a precursor to type 2 diabetes. Modest behavior changes can prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes in people who have prediabetes.

More Facts and Figures

For diabetes data on the national, state, and county levels, see the CDC Data and Statistics page.

For more detailed county-level data, contact Lena Swander, Epidemiologist for the Chronic Disease Prevention Program.

The three documents below provide detailed information about diabetes, both nationally and in Wisconsin:


1Gregg EW, Zhuo X, Cheng YJ, Albright AL, Narayan KM, Thompson TJ. Trends in lifetime risk and years of life lost due to diabetes in the USA, 1985-2011: a modelling study. Lancet Diabetes Endocrinol. 2014 Nov; 2(11):867-74.Epub 2014 Aug 12.

2Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS), 2014.

3Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. National Diabetes Statistics Report: Estimates of Diabetes and Its Burden in the United States, 2014. Atlanta, GA: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; 2014.

4National Survey of Children’s Health, 2011-2012 Survey.

5Wisconsin Interactive Statistics on Health (WISH), 2014 Population Module.

6American Diabetes Association. Economic Costs of Diabetes in the U.S. in 2012. Diabetes Care 2013 Apr; 36(4):1033-46.

7Kochanek KD, Murphy SL, Xu JQ, Tejada-Vera B. Deaths: Final data for 2014. National Vital Statistics Reports; Vol 65 No 4. Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics. 2016.

Last Revised: June 13, 2019