How Many People Have Lupus in the United States?
Epidemiological studies conducted at various medical institutions over the years have produced a wide range of estimates for lupus incidence and prevalence. The Lupus Foundation of America (Foundation) in 1994 commissioned a nationwide market research study to determine how many people in the United States were living with a form of lupus.
The Foundation engaged the nationally renowned marketing research firm of Bruskin-Goldring of Edison, New Jersey, to conduct a national random telephone survey. It is the same study technique major corporations use to determine market size, consumer needs and trends.
The firm conducted four waves of the survey, each targeting 1,000 households in different United States regions. There were 3,552 successfully completed interviews, more than enough responses to provide accuracy within plus or minus two percent. The Foundation then applied the percentage of positive responses to the nation’s population at the time to estimate the total number of people living in the United States with any form of lupus.
This survey was not a peer-review medical epidemiology study. It was a telephone poll where the survey taker asked the respondent if a doctor had ever told them or an immediate family member that they had a form of lupus. The project's goal was to determine the full scope of impact for the entire spectrum of lupus disease in the United States.
Based on the Bruskin-Goldring survey data, the Lupus Foundation of America estimates 1.5 million Americans have lupus.
The Foundation conducted similar surveys in 1997 and 2000. Each time the survey results suggested that the estimated number of Americans living with lupus was comparable to the original 1994 study numbers. The Lupus Foundation of America is confident of this estimate for all lupus variants, given our decades-long history of helping thousands of newly diagnosed lupus patients every year.