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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Organ Donor > Statistics & Stories > Organ Donation Statistics

Organ Donation Statistics

How many people are waiting for a transplant? Who receives organs, and what organs are most needed? Scroll down to explore data from the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network

Statistics at a Glance

Number of men, women, and children on the national transplant waiting list as of February 2021.
transplants were performed in 2020.
people die each day waiting for an organ transplant.
of U.S. adults support organ donation
but only
are actually signed up as donors.
Every 9 minutes
another person is added to the transplant waiting list.
collection of small, multicolored people icons
Only 3 in 1,000
people die in a way that allows for organ donation.

One Donor Can Save Eight Lives.

One organ donor can save 8 lives image
One person can donate up to 8 lifesaving organs.
8 lifesaving organs: heart, 2 lungs, liver, pancreas, 2 kidneys, intestines

Find More Statistics

The Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network maintains the national database of information about the candidate waiting list and transplant surgeries. You can build a custom report on their website to learn more about organ transplantation in the U.S.

Learn More About Organ Transplantation by the Numbers

Shared ethnicity is NOT a requirement for matching organ donors and recipients. Matches between donors and recipients of different ethnicities are very common.

Still, a more diverse donor registry gives ethnic minorities on the transplant waiting list a better chance to find a good donor match. Because the immune system markers used to match organ donors and recipients are inherited, people with rare markers are more likely to match someone from a similar ethnic background. Learn more about matching.

Transplant Recipients by (lowercase) Ethnicity (2020): Caucasian – 55.2% African American – 20.6% Hispanic – 16.4% Asian – 5.7% Other – 2.1%


According to a sample of the U.S. population, 90% of adults support organ donation but only 50% are actually signed up as donors. Source: 2019 National Survey of Organ Donation Attitudes and Practices.

Deceased donation by age

You’re never too old to save lives as a donor. One U.S. man gave the gift of life –and a liver – when he was 92 years old.

Deceased donation by age

Some people choose to make a difference as living donors and donate certain organs or tissues while they’re still alive. Learn more about living donation.

As of 2019, 165 million people in the U.S. have registered as donors. 

Not everyone who registers as a donor is able to donate. In fact, only 3 in 1,000 people die in a way that allows for deceased organ donation. That’s why more willing donors are needed. 

Learn more about the deceased donation process, and secure your chance to save lives by registering as a donor.

What can be done to save more lives?

Register in your state
Just one donor can save up to 8 lives.
Talk to your family and friends
Make your wishes known to your friends and family.
Get the word out on social media
Help raise awareness of the importance of donation.
There are lots of organizations that could use your help.
Date Last Reviewed:
Sign Up as a Donor

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Take a few minutes to sign up online and leave behind the gift of life.

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