Prevalence and incidence

Worldwide prevalence

What is worldwide prevalence of schizophrenia?

Prevalence quantifies the proportion of individuals in a population who have a disease during a specific time period, while incidence refers to the number of new cases of disease that develop in a population during a specific time period. In disorders of short duration, incidence and prevalence rates may be similar, however with disorders of long duration such as with schizophrenia there can be variation between the two. Point prevalence is the proportion of individuals who manifest a disorder at a given point in time, period measures the proportion of individuals who manifest a disorder during a specified period (e.g. one year), lifetime is the proportion of individuals in the population who have ever manifested a disorder who are alive on a given day and lifetime morbid risk also includes those deceased at the time of the assessment.

What is the worldwide prevalence of schizophrenia?

Moderate to high quality evidence suggests worldwide prevalence for any non-affective psychotic disorder, including schizophrenia, is around 0.40% for one year prevalence and around 0.75% for lifetime prevalence. For schizophrenia specifically, point prevalence is around 0.42%, one year prevalence is around 0.30%, lifetime prevalence is around 0.50%, and lifetime morbid risk prevalence is around 0.72%.

Lifetime prevalence rates were higher in cohort studies than in cross-sectional studies, higher in studies from Europe than in studies from North America, higher in more recent studies than in older studies, and higher in lower quality studies than in higher quality studies. These variances in lifetime prevalence rates were similar for one year prevalence rates, apart from North American studies finding higher one year prevalence rates than European studies.

High quality evidence suggests the worldwide, age-standardised point prevalence in 2016 was 0.28%. This rate was similar in males and females, across regions, and over time (1990 to 2016), although the number of cases increased over time (13 million to 21 million) due to population growth.

April 2022

Image: ©tai111 – Fotolia –

Last updated at: 3:53 pm, 3rd April 2022
To view documentation related to this topic download the files below
Fact Sheet Technical Commentary

NeuRA Libraries

Title Colour Legend:
Green - Topic summary is available.
Orange - Topic summary is being compiled.
Red - Topic summary has no current systematic review available.