Mapping Diabetes Rates by Country in 2021
Despite advancements in healthcare lengthening life expectancy across the world, there are still many diseases that are hard to beat. One of these growing and costly diseases is diabetes, but each country is being hit differently.
One of the leading causes of death and disability globally, over half a billion people are living with diabetes today. The World Bank’s IDF Diabetes Atlas reveals that diabetes was responsible for 6.7 million deaths in 2021 alone.
In this graphic, Alberto Rojo Moro uses this World Bank Atlas to map diabetes rates by country, highlighting the countries with the highest rates of the disease.
What is Diabetes?
Diabetes (also known as diabetes mellitusis) a long-lasting condition that affects how the body turns food into energy.
Normally, our bodies break down the food we consume into glucose (a sugar) and release it into our blood. When our level of blood sugar rises, insulin produced by our pancreas signals the body to use excess glucose as energy or store it for later consumption.
Diabetes restricts the pancreas from producing this life-saving insulin properly, thus causing high blood sugar levels. These high glucose levels can eventually impact the heart, kidney, and vision. There are two main types of diabetes:
- Type 1 Diabetes: The immune system attacks and destroys the cells in your pancreas that make insulin. Causes are believed to be genetic and environmental.
- Type 2 Diabetes: The body becomes resistant to insulin or doesn’t produce enough insulin to regulate blood sugar levels. It is caused by a mix of lifestyle factors (including obesity, physical inactivity, poor diet, and smoking) and genetics.
Type 2 diabetes is by far the most common form of the disease, making up between 90-95% of global cases.
Diabetes Rates by Country
With close to 33 million (31%) of its adult population suffering from diabetes, Pakistan was the country with the highest prevalence of diabetes.
|Rank||Country||% of Diabetic Population Aged 20-79|
|2||🇵🇫 French Polynesia||25.2|
|5||🇳🇨 New Caledonia||23.4|
|6||🇲🇭 Marshall Islands||23.0|
|10||🇦🇸 American Samoa||20.3|
|12||🇸🇧 Solomon Islands||19.8|
|17||🇸🇦 Saudi Arabia||18.7|
|21||🇵🇬 Papua New Guinea||16.7|
|22||🇦🇪 United Arab Emirates||16.4|
|23||🇰🇳 Saint Kitts and Nevis||16.1|
|34||🇵🇷 Puerto Rico||13.3|
|37||🇰🇾 Cayman Islands||13.0|
|39||🇹🇹 Trinidad and Tobago||12.7|
|41||🇻🇮 United States Virgin Islands||12.4|
|44||🇦🇬 Antigua and Barbuda||11.7|
|49||🇱🇨 Saint Lucia||11.7|
|52||🇱🇰 Sri Lanka||11.3|
|57||🇿🇦 South Africa||10.8|
|59||🇺🇸 United States||10.7|
|62||🇩🇴 Dominican Republic||10.5|
|74||🇧🇦 Bosnia and Herzegovina||9.1|
|84||🇨🇷 Costa Rica||8.8|
|85||🇻🇬 British Virgin Islands||8.7|
|89||🇰🇵 North Korea||8.6|
|97||🇻🇨 Saint Vincent and the Grenadines||8.0|
|98||🇭🇰 Hong Kong||7.8|
|105||🇸🇲 San Marino||7.4|
|117||🇰🇷 South Korea||6.8|
|130||🇸🇸 South Sudan||6.5|
|134||🇸🇻 El Salvador||6.3|
|135||🇮🇲 Isle of Man||6.3|
|136||🇬🇧 United Kingdom||6.3|
|139||🇳🇿 New Zealand||6.2|
|142||🇲🇰 North Macedonia||6.1|
|146||🇨🇫 Central African Republic||5.8|
|148||🇨🇩 Democratic Republic of Congo||5.8|
|161||🇬🇶 Equatorial Guinea||5.5|
|164||🇸🇹 Sao Tome and Principe||5.5|
|187||🇫🇴 Faroe Islands||3.8|
|196||🇧🇫 Burkina Faso||2.1|
|197||🇨🇻 Cape Verde||2.1|
|198||🇨🇮 Cote d'Ivoire||2.1|
|204||🇸🇱 Sierra Leone||2.1|
The situation in Pakistan is currently not expected to improve in the near future. By 2045, the country is estimated to have 62 million people suffering from diabetes due to numerous reasons including malnutrition.
This chronic disease has also reached alarming levels in many Oceanic island countries and territories, including French Polynesia, New Caledonia, and American Samoa. Each has a diabetic prevalence above 20%, with reasons ranging from malnutrition to obesity.
Meanwhile, African nations like Benin and The Gambia recorded the lowest prevalence of diabetes in the world. In 2021, African countries had a combined total of 23.6 million adults with diabetes, less than 2% of the continent’s population. However, this number is predicted to double to 55 million by 2045.
Most Diabetic Countries in Absolute Terms
In China, diabetes was prevalent in 10.6% of the nation’s adult population in 2021. While this only puts the country in 60th place in terms of prevalence rate, this is equivalent to roughly 140 million adults with diabetes because of the country’s large population.
Similarly, India’s 9.6% prevalence of diabetes equaled 77 million adults suffering from the disease in the country, more than double the number of Pakistan’s diabetic citizens.
A similar story follows in the Americas, where Mexico has the highest adult prevalence of diabetes at 16.9% or 14.1 million people. Though the U.S. has a lower rate at 10.7%, its higher population gives it an estimated 32.2 million adults with diabetes.
Breaking down diabetes rates by country highlights that this a global health challenge. To address the growing burden of diabetes, we need to focus on prevention, early detection, and management of diabetes.
This article was published as a part of Visual Capitalist's Creator Program, which features data-driven visuals from some of our favorite Creators around the world.
Ranked: The Best U.S. States for Retirement
Getting ready for retirement? See which states score the highest in terms of affordability, quality of life, and health care.
Ranked: The Best U.S. States for Retirement
What is the most important aspect of retirement planning?
If you said finances, you’re probably right. But have you ever thought about where the best place is to retire? Being strategic about location can make a big impact on your quality of life, and perhaps help your savings go just a bit further.
To help break it down, we’ve visualized data from personal finance platform, WalletHub, which ranked the best U.S. states for retirement as of 2023.
Data and Methodology
WalletHub ranked each state using 47 metrics across three dimensions.
- Affordability (7 metrics worth 40 points)
- Quality of Life (22 metrics worth 30 points)
- Health Care (18 metrics worth 30 points)
Here are some examples of what each dimension measures:
- Affordability: Cost of living and taxation
- Quality of Life: Quality of elder-abuse protections and crime rates
- Health Care: Number of health professionals per capita and life expectancy
Visit the source for the full list of metrics.
The final scores (visualized as the bars in the infographic above) represent each state’s weighted average across all metrics. See below for more comprehensive results.
|Quality of Life|
According to this methodology, Virginia is currently the best state for retirement. Although the Southeastern state does not excel in any one dimension, it scores consistently well across all three to create a very balanced retirement profile.
This gives it a slight advantage over second place Florida, which excels in quality of life and affordability, but falls further behind in terms of health care. Third-placed Colorado is a mirror of Florida, offering excellent health care but a lower quality of life in comparison.
How to Interpret These Results
It’s important to remember that this ranking is purely based on data and the methodology above, and may not be tailored to your individual preferences.
For example, if you believe that health services will be very important during retirement, you may rank Minnesota (#1 in terms of health care) much higher than eighth place.
You may notice that prioritizing one dimension will often come at a trade-off in others. Looking at Minnesota once more, we can see that the state is also one of America’s most expensive.
Looking to retire outside of the U.S.? Check out this graphic on the top 25 countries to retire in.
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