Migraine Statistics
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40 Migraine Statistics & Interesting Facts to Know

by Dr. Nikola Djordjevic, MD

The word migraine comes from “hemicrania,” a Greek word translating to “half-headed” because of the throbbing and lingering pain that’s often felt on either of the two sides of the patient’s head. The neurological condition is as old as mankind. It’s been recorded as far back as 4000 years ago and is even mentioned in biblical texts. Here, we’ve gone through numerous migraine statistics to deliver you some general facts and figures on migraines to help you completely understand how prevalent and severe this debilitating disorder is.

Important Migraine Statistics at a Glance

  • Around a billion people in the world suffer from migraines.
  • There are 39 million migraine sufferers in the US alone.
  • About 10% of school-aged children suffer from migraines.
  • In the US, there’s just one headache specialist for every 90,000 patients.
  • Changes in one’s surrounding climate can trigger migraines in 50% of patients.
  • 60% of migraine patients improve after therapeutic intervention.
  • Over 50% of migraine sufferers never consult with a doctor.
  • The ratio of prevalence in women vs. men is 3:1.
  • Exercising can help prevent and reduce the chance of a migraine.
  • Botox can treat migraines.

Migraine Stats: Demographics

1. Migraines occur mostly in people between the ages of 25 and 55 years.


Migraines are more common in people during the most productive years of life. In many countries, the effects of migraines cost billions of dollars because it’s so prevalent in the working class.

2. Between 5% and 50% of children suffer from headaches in some way.

(The Conversation)

Lending credence to the previous stat, headaches aren’t common in toddlers. However, many adults with lifelong migraine problems say they experienced them first between childhood and adolescence, which answers the question: are migraines lifelong?

3. About 10% of school-aged children suffer from migraines.


Children can also suffer from migraines, which often go undiagnosed. Those affected tend to miss school about twice as many days as those who are unaffected. And half of those affected by migraines had their first crisis before the age of 12 years.

4. The ratio of prevalence in women vs. men is 3:1.


Are migraines more common in women than they are in men? Definitely, migraines affect women more than men. Hormonal changes during the menstrual cycle, pregnancy, menopause, and contraceptive use can all increase the frequency of migraines.

5. About 18% of women and 6% of men are affected by migraines.


Additionally, before puberty, men suffer from migraines more frequently than girls, according to data from the Migraine Research Foundation. By adolescence and then into adulthood, the frequency continues to increase in girls, leaving the proportion much higher among women.

6. Migraines are more prevalent in people over 30 years.

(Migraine Trust)

While the first migraine symptoms can show up starting from the age of 12 (more or less), 8 out of 10 patients make their first complaint before reaching 30. However, migraines are more prevalent in people over 30 years. It usually starts at puberty and has a higher incidence at 30–40 years.

7. The occurrence of migraines decreases in people aged 75 and above.


According to recent CDC migraine statistics, as people advance in age, there’s a sharp reduction in the occurrence of migraines. For men aged 18–44, the occurrence rate is 11%, which then slowly drops down to 3.4% after they reach 75 years. In women, this number peaks at 24.7% for ages 18–44, and the cases go down to 6.3% by age 75 and on.

Migraine Severity

Migraine Statistics

8. Migraines are one of the 20 most disabling diseases in the world.


The disease is among the 20 most “debilitating” diseases according to the World Health Organization (WHO). One of the most mysterious types of headaches, migraines are generally classified as episodic (less than 15 days of pain per month) or chronic (at least 15 days per month for at least 3 months).

9. 67.4% of patients claim to suffer from “moderate” to “severe” migraine-related disabilities.

(BMC Neurology)

A migraine disorder, especially its chronic form, has a great impact on a patient’s quality of life. Those who suffer from it know perfectly well how annoying and painful it can be. They can even cause people to collapse and suffer nasty falls, especially in the elderly.

10. On a global scale, migraines represent the 6th highest cause of years lost due to a disability.


Perhaps not a shock to migraine sufferers, these statistics from the WHO prove that this type of headache is not only painful but also disabling. According to the Study of the World Burden of Morbidity, updated in 2013, the migraine disorder by itself represented the sixth worldwide cause of years lost due to a disability.

11. 90% of victims lose normal functionality.


More than 90% of people cannot work or fully function during a migraine attack. This answers the question: how debilitating is a migraine?

12. The disease is 3 times as likely to instigate other disorders in patients, such as anxiety.

(Huffington Post)

Migraine sufferers are twice as likely to suffer depression, anxiety, chronic pain, and respiratory disorders, as well as cardiovascular risk factors. This then leads to the need for additional health care.

13. In the United States, about $13 billion is lost every year because of migraines.


This is due to the loss of 113 million workdays due to migraines. This disorder is in the group of chronic diseases that cost the United States about $50 billion every year total.

14. As a result of migraine-caused absenteeism, £8.8 billion is lost every year in England.

(Science Daily)

Following the previous migraine statistics, in England, the cost is about £8.8 billion, with about 86 million workdays lost. Migraines clearly produce a high percentage of work absenteeism and overall lost productivity.

Chronic Migraine Prevalence

Migraine Statistics

15. A chronic migraine patient experiences pain for more than 15 days in a month.

(Migraine Trust)

Chronic migraines are the most frequent form of chronic headache and are a disabling condition. They’re characterized by severe headaches lasting at least 4 hours per day that the patient experiences for more than 15 days a month, occurring for at least 3 months.

16. 1% of the world’s population suffers from chronic migraines.

(Research Gate)

According to migraine statistics worldwide, 1% of the population is affected by a chronic migraine disorder. It disables patients in terms of quality of life and daily activity.

17. There’s a 3% chance of a patient transitioning from episodic to chronic migraines within a year.


The incidence of transformation from suffering episodic migraines to a chronic migraine disorder is 3% per year. Additionally, 6% goes from low-frequency migraines (1–9 days/month) to high-frequency migraines (10–14 days/month).

Migraine Causes

Migraine Statistics

18. Children of migraine-suffering parents have a 90% likelihood of being affected as well.


There are some genetic factors at play here. If one parent suffers from migraines, the possibility that one of their children is affected is 40%; when both have it, this possibility increases to 90%. Other risk factors of chronic migraines are frequent use of painkillers, bad hygienic or dietary habits, anxiety or depression, low socioeconomic status, obesity, being female, and being divorced or widowed.

19. In 15%–20% of all migraine conditions, neurological symptoms usually occur before the headache.

(Mayo Clinic)

A migraine can trigger after symptoms such as dizziness, lightheadedness, or sensitivity to sound and light. It can also make one intolerant to light, according to data from existing ocular migraine statistics.

20. In addition, 10%–15% of migraines are accompanied by neurological symptoms.


Some scientists believe migraines occur due to a change in the body’s serotonin balance, as well as a few other factors. However, researchers have already ruled out the idea that the disease is caused by insufficient irrigation of the brain. In many cases, there aren’t many severe neurological migraine symptoms, but they are present in 10%–15% of the cases.

21. Changes in one’s climate trigger migraines in 50% of patients.

(Migraine Again)

Some people suffer from a migraine upon changes in the air and temperature. Headaches can be aggravated by increased temperature, humidity, or the arrival of storms, as well as sudden changes in barometric pressure or altitude. Many migraine sufferers are also sensitive to seasonal changes (especially summer) or the effects of traveling through time zones.

Migraine Treatments

Migraine Statistics

22. $93.8 million was spent on Excedrin Migraine in 2017.


According to Statista’s compilation of headache statistics from 2017, the sales of this migraine drug nearly reached the $100 million mark, indicating a rise in migraine cases.

23. 60% of migraine patients improve after therapeutic intervention.


In an epidemiological study, 60% of patients with chronic daily headaches who went through a therapeutic intervention saw improvement. Thanks to a greater interest in and therefore better diagnoses of this disease, more patients will benefit from finding the right treatment.

24. Nearly 1 out of every 2 people affected by migraines are never diagnosed.

(Headache Australia)

Despite there being a relatively high chronic migraine prevalence, several cases wait to be diagnosed and treated. Close to half of those suffering are never diagnosed with a migraine attack in the first place.

25. Migraineurs need at least 7 hours of regular sleep every day.


Your sleep needs depend on your age as well as many other factors. Most people should sleep at least 7 hours a night, which is the recommended time to feel rested the next day. Migraineurs in particular must keep the number of hours they sleep as regular as possible. For example, sleeping 3 hours one day and 9 hours the next increases the possibility of having a migraine attack.

Other Migraine Stats

Migraine Statistics

26. A migraine occurs mostly on one side of the head.


A migraine manifests as an acute recurring pain usually on one side of the head, although about a third of the attacks affect both sides equally. While the majority of those affected suffer from attacks once or twice a month, about 4% of the population has a headache every day.

27. There are 39 million sufferers in the US alone.


More than 39 million women, men, and children are affected by migraines in the US. This is according to recent migraine statistics from 2018 presented by the Migraine Surgery Center. Also, every 10 seconds in the US, someone goes to the emergency room for headache or migraine.

28. Around one billion people in the world have migraines.


Referring to the worldwide statistics from the Migraine and Surgery Center, 15% of all people around the world are migraineurs. In fact, there’s someone who suffers from migraines in 1 of every 4 households around the world.

29. California boasts several entries among the top 20 most migraine-free cities in the US.

(Migraine Again)

Talking about migraine statistics by state, California has a lower frequency of migraine cases. Meanwhile, Tennessee has the highest risk factors in the country.

30. People with migraines often use at least twice as many medical resources.


According to numerous healthcare statistics, compared to those who don’t suffer from migraines, they require more medications and visits to the emergency room.

31. In the US, there’s just one headache specialist for every 90,000 patients.

(Migraine Again)

Despite the fact that migraines can be fatal, according to new headache statistics from 2018, there are just around 500 qualified and certified headache specialists in the United States. Meanwhile, in the whole of England, there are surprisingly just 12 certified migraine specialists.

32. Over 50% of migraine sufferers never consult with a doctor.


Many migraineurs resort to self-help and self-medication. In fact, only 4% of those affected who seek medical help go to pain or migraine specialists. When they seek the appropriate medical help, 50% don’t follow up after their first consultation.

33. The NIH provides just $0.50 per sufferer in migraine research.


Despite the high prevalence of migraines and the negative economic effects, research into the causes and treatments behind the disorder are quite underfunded, according to migraine statistics from 2017.

34. A migraine usually lasts between 4 and 72 hours.


Patients usually have between one and four monthly crises lasting between 4 and 72 hours. Meanwhile, chronic migraine headaches can last longer.

Interesting Facts You May Not Know About Migraines

Migraine Statistics

35. Food can cause migraines.


There are foods that are considered healthy that have their own or added chemicals capable of triggering migraine episodes in people who suffer from them. Among these are chocolate, canned goods, sausages, coffee, cheese, and alcoholic beverages – especially red wine.

36. People actually die from migraines.

(Very Well Health)

One nagging question is: do people die from a migraine? A migraine attack can kill a patient when accompanied by other health conditions. For example, if a person suffers from a stroke or any prevailing artery disease, their heart may not be able to withstand the demand of a severe migraine. In addition, carbon monoxide poisoning can trigger this vicious type of headache and can be fatal.

37. Strong aromas or perfumes can trigger a migraine.


Very strong aromas, along with other intense sensory stimuli (very bright lights, loud noises) can cause this type of headache. Among the most common risk factors are chemical cleaning products, cigarette smoke, and strong perfumes.

38. Chronic migraines impact sexual activity.


Chronic migraines can negatively influence a person’s sex life. Part of this is because the pathology tends to coexist with depression and mood or anxiety disorders, according to established migraine statistics. Plus, some medications used in their treatment may decrease libido.

39. Exercising can help prevent or reduce migraines.

(Migraine Trust)

Regular but moderate exercises such as jogging, walking, swimming, biking, or practicing yoga can help prevent migraines and even reduce their frequency. However, anxiety, stress, or a lack of food or sleep can trigger these events in people who already have it.

40. Botox can treat migraines.


As the disorder becomes better understood, there are more and more treatments to control it and improve each sufferer’s quality of life. An innovative therapeutic alternative for chronic migraines is the use of Botox (OnabotulinumtoxinA) to decrease the frequency and intensity of these headaches.

Wrapping Things Up

Worse than a tension headache found in people with high blood pressure, a migraine is a highly painful type of headache that can be can be quite disabling. It’s a frequent health problem that may require careful evaluation for proper diagnosis. Anxiety, stress, or lack of food and sleep can trigger migraine episodes. Some of the most common symptoms are light and sound sensitivity and dizziness.

The statistics presented here have been able to show how plaguing and disruptive migraines can be to a person. With that in mind, these migraine statistics are intended to help you learn more about this debilitating pathological condition, as well as find ways to prevent and treat it.

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