The javascript used on this site for creative design effects is not supported by your browser. Please note that this will not affect access to the content on this web site.
Skip Navigation

U.S. Government Information on Organ and Tissue Donation and Transplantation
About Us Terms and Topics FAQs Site Map Español   
External Web Site Policy Go to U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Website Give the Gift of Life
Home  >  About Donation & Transplantation

Allocation—The process of determining how organs are distributed.

Brain Death—Brain death occurs when the brain is totally and irreversibly non-functional. Brain death is caused by not enough blood supply of oxygen which causes the brain cells to die.

Candidate—A patient who has been placed on the National Waiting List for solid organ transplantation.

> Find Out More Terms and Topics

The Need Is Real: Data

Organ transplantation has become an accepted medical treatment for end-stage organ failure. But only you can help make it happen. Here are some important facts about donation:

  • During your visit to someone may have been added to the waiting list. It happens every 10 minutes.
  • Each day, an average of 79 people receive organ transplants. However, an average of 22 people die each day waiting for transplants that can't take place because of the shortage of donated organs.
  • People of every age give and receive organ donations. In 2014, 29,532 people received organ transplants. Below is the number of recipients by age group followed by the number who received organs from deceased and living donors: 
    • < 1 Year Old: 280 (261 deceased, 19 living donors)
    • 1 - 5 Years: 503 (417 deceased, 86 living donors)
    • 6 - 10 Years: 284 (226 deceased, 58 living donors)
    • 11 - 17 Years: 728 (594 deceased, 134 living donors)
    • 18 - 34 Years: 3,148 (2,087 deceased, 1,061 living donors)
    • 35 - 49 Years: 6,407   (4,780 deceased, 1,627 living donors)
    • 50 - 64 Years: 12,791 (10,758 deceased, 2,033 living donors)
    • 65+ Years: 5,391 (4,592 deceased, 799 living donors)
  • As of December 4, 2012, the percentage of recipients who were still living 5-years after their transplant is noted below for kidney, heart, liver, and lung. For more information, click here.
    • Kidney (deceased donor): 83.4%
    • Kidney (living donor): 92%
    • Heart: 76.8%
    • Liver (deceased donor): 74.3%
    • Liver (living donor): 81.3%
    • Lung: 55.2%
  • In 2014, 62% of living donors were women and 38% were men. The statistic is nearly reversed for deceased donation: 40% were women and 60% were men.
  • In 2014, 57% of all deceased donors were Caucasian, 16% were African American, 15% Hispanic/Latino and 6% Asian, and Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander.
  • As of May 2015, the national waiting list was 42% Caucasian, 30% African American, 19% Hispanic/Latino, and 9% Asian, and Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander.
  • In 2010, (the most recent data) there were almost 2.5 million deaths in the U.S. Imagine if every one of those persons had donated.
  • Currently, more than 120 million people in the U.S. are signed up to be a donor—sign up and join them.

More About Statistics  

Statistics can sometimes be overwhelming and difficult to understand. One thing to remember is that every number in the statistic you view is a person—a person who either needs your help and is waiting for a lifesaving transplant or a person who has left a lasting legacy through organ and tissue donation.

Either way, each number represents a life, a mom, a dad, a brother, a sister or a child—someone who is important to someone else, maybe even you.

Statistics change. Some change day to day and some can even change minute to minute. So you may see different numbers each time you return to or some of the other sites linked from here. You may ask why this happens. There are several reasons:

  • One of the most confusing statistics is the number of persons waiting for a transplant. Patients are allowed to register at multiple transplant centers, so you may see a higher number if you count "registrations" rather than "candidates."
  • Additionally, one of the great things that may happen is that donations and transplantations may be taking place at any time, so while the waiting list might continue to grow the number of donors may also rise.
  • The reality is that the number of candidates waiting continues to dwarf the number of donor organs available, and only you can change this—by registering as an organ, eye, and tissue donor and encouraging others to do so as well.

> More about organ donation among minorities
> Statistics & facts for people over 50
> More about African Americans and organ donation  
> More about Asians, and Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders and organ donation
> More about Hispanics/Latinos and organ donation

The Gap Continues to Widen

Right now, there are more than enough people waiting for an organ to fill a large football stadium twice over.

The Gap Continues to Widen graph: Number of People and Year End.

Data from and OPTN/SRTR Annual Report.
** Data include deceased and living donors.

[ Graph description of Gap Continues to Widen ]


Logo Health Resources and Service Administration (HRSA)






Share This Page  External Web Site Policy  Facebook  YouTube
  • Mail
  • Delicious
  • Facebook
  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • Twitter