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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? This section introduces you to the data and connects you to more detailed statistics on the waiting list, transplantation, organ donation, and registration.1

Statistics at a Glance

Number of men, women, and children on the national transplant waiting list as of March 2020.
transplants were performed in 2019.2
people die each day waiting for an organ transplant.
of U.S. adults support organ donation4
but only
are actually signed up as donors.3
every 10 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.
the organ shortage continues
Each year, the number of people on the waiting list continues to be much larger than both the number of donors and transplants, which grow slowly.
Graph that shows the growing number of people on the waiting list while the number of donors and transplants grows slowly.

Data from and OPTN/SRTR Annual Report. OPTN has current, in-depth statistics. Click to view.

Description of The Organ Shortage Continues Graph

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

More Statistics You Should Know

39,718 transplants were performed in 2019 – a new record high for the seventh consecutive year.

  • Each day, about 80 people receive organ transplants. Of these recipients, the breakdown of ethnic backgrounds includes:

Transplant Recipients by (lowercase) Ethnicity (2018): Caucasian – 55.2% African American – 20.6% Hispanic – 16.4% Asian – 5.7% Other – 2.1%

  • In 2019, about 62% of organ recipients were male; 38% female.
  • More than 85,000 corneal transplants were performed in 2018.
  • More than 1 million tissue transplants are performed each year.

Transplants Performed in 2018 by Organ: Kidney (singular) – 21,167; Liver – 8,250; Heart – 3,408; Lung – 2,530; Kidney/Pancreas – 835; Pancreas – 192; Intestine – 104; Heart/Lung – 32

For current data reports on transplants performed, including by recipient age, ethnicity, gender, or state, visit the OPTN Data Reports.

In 2019, there was a total of 19,267 donors; 11,870 were deceased donors and 7,397 were living donors.

  • 36% of deceased donors in 2019 were over the age of 50.
  • 60% of deceased donors in 2019 were male, 40% female.

Number of Deceased and Living Donors (2018): Living Donors - 6,831 Deceased Donors - 10,722

Deceased Donors by Ethnicity (2018): Caucasian – 65.4%, African American – 16.1%, Hispanic – 14.1%, Asian – 2.3%, Other – 2.0%

For current statistics about deceased and living donors, including age, race/ethnicity, gender, state and more, visit the OPTN Data Reports.

People Registered as Donors in the U.S.

In 2020, more than 156 million people over the age of 18 had registered as organ donors. That's more than half of all U.S. adults. (60 percent)3

  • In 2018, registered donors authorized through state registries accounted for:
    • 50% of recovered organs
    • 56% of recovered tissues
    • 61% of recovered eyes

(Other donations were authorized by family/next of kin consent.)

Donate Life America Annual Report exit disclaimer (PDF - 11.5 MB)

The Organ Procurement and Transplant Network (OPTN) has current, in-depth statistics and data about the waiting list, donors, and transplants. Visit the OPTN site >

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.

1 Some statistics in this section are updated annually and based on the latest available reports. Data on this page is current as of March 2020. For the most recent statistics, please visit the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network (OPTN) Data Reports.

2 OPTN data as of March 6, 2020.

From: DLA Donor Designation Report update released September 2019.

4 Data from the 2019 National Survey of Organ Donation Attitudes and Practices.

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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