Short-Term Changes in the Prevalence of Probable Dementia: An Analysis of the 2011–2015 National Health and Aging Trends Study

This research uses data from the 2011–2015 National Health and Aging Trends Study to examine whether dementia declined in the United States after 2011 and whether trends reflect changes in the incidence of dementia or mortality, shifts in population composition, or subgroup prevalence. Dementia prevalence declined over the period by 1.4% to 2.6% per year, concentrated among women, non-Hispanic whites and blacks, and persons with no vascular conditions or risk factors, for whom dementia incidence also declined. Prevalence declines are largely attributable to age- and education-related changes in population composition. The role of age and education composition in short-term declines suggests continued short-term declines in dementia prevalence. Persistent high rates among minorities, especially of Hispanic origin, suggest that long-run trends may reverse course, barring new treatments.

Urban Institute