35 Revealing Down Syndrome Statistics & Facts

Down Syndrome Statistics

Did you know that Down syndrome is the most common genetic disorder children are born with today? Also, according to the Down syndrome statistics, people with Down syndrome have much higher chances of dying due to COVID19 consequences.

Not that long ago, people with Down syndrome used to be institutionalized and were undesirable in society. There have been many myths and misconceptions surrounding this condition. However, it’s time to raise Down syndrome awareness and present an objective view of Down syndrome, and the people diagnosed with it.

But, first, let’s see some of the most intriguing facts and figures regarding this condition.

Top 10 Down Syndrome Statistics for 2024

  • The prevalence of DS around the world is 1 in 1,000.
  • Approximately 95% of people who have Down syndrome have the “trisomy 21” type.
  • A 35-year-old woman has a 1 in 350 chance of giving birth to a baby with Down syndrome.
  • Only 1% of DS cases are inherited.
  • Over 30% of people with Down syndrome who are older than 50 develop Alzheimer’s disease.
  • There are over 6 million people in the world with Down syndrome.
  • 15%–30% of women with Down syndrome can have children.
  • People with Down syndrome are ten times more likely to die due to COVID-19.
  • The average life expectancy of a person with Down is 60 years.
  • Hyperactivity symptoms in children with autism improved in 68% of cases after the use of CBD oil.

If you want to learn more about the causes of Down syndrome, trisomy 21, how people with this condition live, what affects their everyday lives, and how they can use CBD for Down syndrome, keep reading.

Basic Down Syndrome Facts & Statistics

What is Down syndrome, what causes it, and (how) can it be treated?

1. Down syndrome is not an illness, it’s a genetic condition.

(Medical News Today)

As a genetic condition, it can cause various health issues like hearing issues, respiratory problems, epilepsy, thyroid problems, childhood leukemia, and Alzheimer’s disease. People who have Down syndrome often have cognitive-developmental difficulties as well. 

They also share some distinct physical features like upward slanted eyes, flat nose, short neck and height, protruding tongue, low muscle tone, and many others.

2. What causes down syndrome? An extra chromosome.


Down syndrome facts and statistics show we can blame an extra chromosome for this condition. To elaborate, the typical human cell has 23 pairs of chromosomes, which means that there are a total of 46 chromosomes. All of these chromosomes determine people’s physical characteristics like their sex or hair color. People who are born with Down syndrome have an extra chromosome — a total or a partial copy of chromosome 21.

3. Approximately 95% of people who have Down syndrome have the “trisomy 21” type.


Nondisjunction, or trisomy 21, is the most common type of Down syndrome, as the down syndrome rates show. It happens when there are three chromosomes 21, instead of the usual two.  

4. Up to 4% of people with Down syndrome have the translocation type.


This is the second type of Down syndrome. It occurs when there are three chromosomes 21, just like with trisomy, but one of the chromosomes 21 is connected to another chromosome. Usually, it’s attached to chromosome 14, but two chromosomes 21 can also be attached.

5. Mosaic Down syndrome facts show that only 1% of people born with Down syndrome have this type.


This is the least common type of Down syndrome. Mosaicism happens after the fertilization of the egg when the nondisjunction of chromosome 21 happens in only one cell after the division. This way, there is a mixture of cells with different numbers of chromosomes. Some of them have the usual 46 chromosomes, and some have 47.

6. Down syndrome statistics indicate a 35-year-old woman has a 1 in 350 chance of giving birth to a baby with Down syndrome.


Down syndrome can affect people of all races and social statuses, but the greatest risk factor is the age of the mother. By the time they’re 40, women have a 1 in 100 chance of having a baby with Down syndrome, and that incidence rises to 1 in 30, by the time they’re 45.

7. Down syndrome treatment is made of various early therapy programs. 

(MedlinePlus) (WebMD)

There is no cure for Down syndrome. However, if children partake in the early treatment programs, they can learn how to work on their skills. The mentioned treatment programs include physical, speech, educational, and occupational therapy, in addition to recreation and social activities and programs that help children with Down syndrome learn how to work and how to incorporate self-care skills.

8. Down syndrome statistics by age report that approximately 80% of babies born with nondisjunction and trisomy have mothers younger than 35.


Even though women older than 35 are at greater risk of conceiving a child with Down syndrome, they are also less likely to have a baby. In contrast, younger women tend to have more babies, so the majority of children with Down syndrome are born to younger mothers.

9. Stats on Down syndrome show only 1% of DS cases are inherited.


Moreover, even though all three types of Down syndrome are genetic disorders, nondisjunction and mosaicism don’t even have the hereditary component.  

Down Syndrome Statistics Worldwide

How many people worldwide are born with this condition?

10. The prevalence of DS around the world is 1 in 1,000.


Sometimes it varies to 1 in 1,100 live births globally. What’s more, every year there are between 3,000 and 5,000 babies born with this condition. This affects thousands of families who care for them since they need regular medical check-ups, mental and physical monitoring, and various therapies to lead a quality life.

11. Down syndrome statistics by race confirm all races have an equal probability of having Down syndrome. 


Overall, no race is more or less prone to DS. However, African-American patients with Down syndrome in the US have significantly shorter life spans, compared to white trisomy 21 patients.

12. It’s estimated that there are over 6 million people in the world with Down syndrome.

(Global Down Syndrome Foundation)

It’s difficult to estimate the exact number since data is based mostly on assumptions — the overall number of the population is divided by the number of the latest live births, which can’t provide us with precise estimates.

13. Down syndrome statistics for the UK indicate that around 1 in 1,000 babies will have this disorder.

(Down’s Syndrome Association) (The Telegraph)

9 in 10 British women who know their baby will have Down syndrome (after getting the results of NIPS (non-invasive prenatal screening)) have an abortion. Since the start of the screening, the number of babies born with this syndrome has dropped by 54%. It’s estimated that about 40,000 Brits have Down’s syndrome.  

14. According to the Down syndrome statistics from Canada, about 45,000 people in this country have DS.


In Canada, Down syndrome is the most common congenital chromosomal aberration. Approximately 1 in 781 babies are born with this developmental disability, and it’s estimated that 45,000 Canadians have Down syndrome.

15. March 21 is marked as World Down Syndrome Day.


Each year, since 2012, on March 21, people try to awake public consciousness about Down syndrome through numerous events and organized activities in which people with Down syndrome and their loved ones participate. The theme of the 2021 year campaign is “We Decide.”  

16. Down syndrome statistics for the USA report that about 6,000 children with Down syndrome are born every year.


That means that 1 in every 700 babies in the US has this genetic condition. This also implies that approximately 250,000 American families are affected by DS.

Down Syndrome and Other Conditions

What medical conditions are most common for people with Down syndrome disorder?

17. Over 30% of people with Down syndrome who are older than 50  develop Alzheimer’s disease.


The National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS) estimates that by the time these people are 60, the percentage number will rise to 50%. Furthermore, Down syndrome statistics suggest that the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease grows with every decade of their lives, but it never gets to 100%.

18. Autism is 10–25 times more likely to occur in individuals who have DS.

(DSRF) (Sunfield)

National Down Syndrome Syndrome Society suggests that children with a dual diagnosis (Down syndrome and autism) are more likely to experience the following medical conditions: respiratory and ophthalmologic problems, congenital heart disease, seizures, severe hypotonia, and anomalies in the anatomical GI tract.

19. Down syndrome stats reveal the lifetime prevalence of epilepsy in people with DS ranges from 1.6%–23.1%.


When it comes to epilepsy, epileptic spasms are very common among children with Down syndrome. In fact, they are prevalent in 6.7%–66.7% of cases. 

Patients with both Down syndrome and epileptic spasms experience more severe developmental delay symptoms than patients with Down syndrome alone.

20. Based on some statistics on Down syndrome and ADHD, gestational age could be linked to ADHD symptoms in children with Down syndrome.  

(News Medical)

The earlier gestational age (the development rate of the fetus) could be associated with increased ADHD symptoms in later life. Nevertheless, as other studies do not confirm ADHD occurrence in this period in healthy individuals, the study result can be questioned.

Babies Born With Down Syndrome Statistics 

What do the stats tell us about prenatal testing? 

21. Parents who already have a child with Down syndrome have up to a 15% more chance of having yet another child with a genetic disorder.

(Healthline) (NICHD)

On the one hand, if a mother is a Down syndrome gene carrier, there’s a 10%–15% chance that the second child will have a translocation type of Down syndrome. On the other hand, when it comes to fathers, the risk is considerably lower—3%.

Down syndrome risk by ethnicity is also a factor. In the US, various demographic factors can influence whether the child will have this genetic disorder or not. These include marital status, Hispanic ethnicity, geographic region, etc.

22. Early tests between the 10th and 12th week of pregnancy can spot Down syndrome.


Chorionic Villus Sampling (CVS) is done between the 10th and 12th week. During the test, a small piece of placenta is taken for analysis.  

23. Non-invasive prenatal testing (NIPT) has 99% accuracy when it comes to discovering Down syndrome.

(Pregnancy Birth & Baby)

Some statistics on Down syndrome show that this is one of the most accurate screening tests. It’s done after the 10th week of pregnancy, and it analyzes the baby’s DNA from the mother’s blood system. 

Nevertheless, depending on the country or state, it should be checked whether this test is covered by your medical insurance. It is not covered by Medicare.

24. According to calculations, 67% of fetuses prenatally diagnosed with Down syndrome are aborted in the US.

(New York Times) (Tennessean)

Although there is no 100% reliable data on the subject, Down syndrome abortion statistics suggest that the number of terminated pregnancies due to DS are even higher in Europe. In other words, the rates might be higher than 90%.  

On the other hand, laws in several US states prohibit doctors from performing abortions if the screening results are positive for Down syndrome.

25. In 2019, only 18 babies with Down syndrome were born in Denmark.

(RightToLife) (UNC)

Down syndrome statistics by country show that Denmark had the lowest number of Down syndrome births since 1970. This rapid decline in numbers began in 2004 with the use of prenatal screenings. After that, the average annual rate slowly started to decline. 

Denmark is not alone in this trend. For example, Iceland down syndrome statistics show the country has a nearly 100% abortion rate when it comes to babies diagnosed with Down syndrome. Only one or two children with Down are born in Iceland each year.

Adults with Down Syndrome Facts

What are the life quality and expectancy of adult people who are diagnosed with Down syndrome?

26. 15%–30% of women with Down syndrome can have children. 


On that note, mothers with Down syndrome are also 50% likely to have a child with DS. On the other hand, men with DS are considered to be infertile due to defective spermatogenesis, but the complete ignorance of the sexual act could be a contributing factor too. 

27. 60 years is the average Down syndrome life expectancy. 


It is very challenging to live up to 60 due to all the serious medical conditions following the disorder. For example, about 40% of children with Down are born with congenital heart defects. They are usually more prone to various infections, respiratory, hearing, and vision problems.

28. People with DS are ten times more likely to die due to COVID-19, which leads to a rise in the Down syndrome mortality rate.


Based on the analyses, DS patients are four times more likely to be hospitalized and ten times more likely to lose their life due to coronavirus-induced complications. Down syndrome is also currently on the CDC’s list of covid risk groups

29. Around 50% of people with DS have only one palmar flexion crease. 

(Lissy Aileen) (Mount Sinai)

One of the interesting Down syndrome statistics shows that half of the people with DS have only one palmar flexion crease (instead of three). While 1 in 30 people can have a single palmar crease (and it’s not something unusual), sometimes it can indicate development problems like Cohen syndrome, Aarskog syndrome, Turner syndrome, or Down syndrome.

If you’re into divination and palmistry, you’ll know that those lines represent the head and the heart (emotions and logic), which, in this case, would mean that the feelings and the reason are narrowly linked together. 

30. Disturbing Down syndrome facts reveal that people with this condition were institutionalized up to the 1980s in the US.

(Global Down Syndrome Foundation)

Before the 80s, those born with DS were taken to specialized institutions as young children or even infants. The outcome was devastating: the average life expectancy for a person with a Down was only 28 years (compared to today’s sixty).  Luckily, Down syndrome awareness has made some changes; today most people with Down syndrome live with their families and are treated with care and respect.

31. The most common cause of death in Down syndrome is congenital heart disease, in addition to respiratory infection. 


Among the many medical conditions commonly associated with Down syndrome, congenital heart disease is one of the leading causes of death in patients with this condition, followed by leukemia, duodenal and esophageal atresia, and Hirschsprung disease.

Additionally, older DS patients are most likely to develop dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.  

Down Syndrome and Smoking Weed

What is the link between cannabis and Down syndrome?

32. Only 3 mg of THC per kilogram for 4 weeks can lead to the preservation of neurons of people with Down syndrome.

(Rx Leaf)

One study has discovered that Alzheimer’s disease and Down syndrome have the same build-up of amyloid plaques in the brain. The build-up causes cognitive malfunction, especially in people with Down older than 30. Perhaps statistics for Down syndrome could be improved by using cannabis for medical purposes as cannabinoids tend to reduce the cognitive impairments made this way.

33. People with Down syndrome and ADHD could potentially ease their ADHD symptoms with cannabis, with only an 8% chance of side effects.


Medicinal cannabis can help people with ADHD since it has antipsychotic and anti-anxiety properties. Medicinal marijuana helps manage impulsivity and hyperactivity. Yet, clinical research is needed to fully justify the claim, especially for people with DS.

34. CBD oil for treating children with various disorders can cost more than $500 a month.

(Working Mother)

Even though cannabidiol can do wonders for different disorders, health care doesn’t always cover this cost, and in some states, it’s not even legal. Hence, as statistics of Down syndrome show, if people want to treat their child with CBD oil, they will have to spend a fortune. State revenues from marijuana taxes are pretty high. 

35. Hyperactivity symptoms in children with autism improved in 68% of cases after the use of CBD oil.


Since autism is Down syndrome comorbidity, it can probably help people with DS and on the autism spectrum. The same study has found that CBD  lessens the anxiety symptoms in 47.1% of cases, and influences the overall improvement in 74.5% of cases.

The Bottom Line

If you are raising a child with Down syndrome, or you take care of someone with this genetic disorder, we hope that these facts and stats for Down syndrome helped you realize that you’re not alone.

Having a genetic disorder can bring many difficulties to people who are affected, but those challenges can be won with the support of family, friends, and highly skilled medical professionals. Speaking of which, respecting the rules concerning coronavirus is especially advisable to people with the disorder.


How to prevent Down syndrome?

There’s absolutely no way to prevent this genetic disorder. The only thing a person with a high chance of having a baby with Down syndrome can do is to have a talk with a genetic counselor before conceiving.

What are the chances of having a baby with Down syndrome?

About one in 700 babies is born with Down syndrome. Age-wise, the chances of giving birth to a baby with DS are 1 in 1,200 for women who are 25 years old, 1 in 350 for women aged 35, 1 in 100 for women who are 40 years old, and 1 in 30 for women over 45. In other words, as the woman grows older, the risk becomes higher. Other risk factors include genetics. For example, 10%–15% of mothers are gene carriers, compared to only 3% of fathers.

CVS (chorionic villus sampling) and amniocentesis are the most precise tests carried out during pregnancy to determine if the baby has Down syndrome. While CVS is conducted between 9 and 14 weeks of pregnancy, amniocentesis is performed in the second trimester (15–20 weeks of gestation).

What gender is Down syndrome most common in?

Both men and women are equally affected by this condition, with a somewhat higher rate in men of about 1.15:1. 

Compared to women with DS, men with DS are also less likely to be fertile (except for men with mosaic Down syndrome), while about 50% of women with trisomy 21 can have children.

Can smoking weed cause Down syndrome in a baby?

So far, there hasn’t been enough evidence to support the relationship between Down syndrome and smoking weed, i.e. the claim that marijuana use causes Down syndrome. According to some resources, the states where cannabis is legal have witnessed increased rates of births with Down syndrome. 

On the other hand, a large case study by the American Academy of Pediatrics does not cite Down syndrome as one of the adverse effects of smoking marijuana.

Either way, cannabis or marijuana use during pregnancy and breastfeeding should be avoided for various detrimental effects on the baby, such as brain development impairment.

What is the average life expectancy for someone with Down syndrome?

People with Down syndrome usually live 60 years, but this is not a written rule. Despite the fact that severe medical conditions follow this condition, some patients can live to their seventies. 

The best examples are Sprightly Georgie Wildgust (78) and Robin Smith (78), who were, among other things, the oldest people with Down syndrome in the UK.

Whereas the average life expectancy of people with DS was much lower in the 80s — only 28 years. Down syndrome statistics have been much improved by allowing for appropriate treatment, support, and care.

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