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.*

Statistics at a Glance

Number of men, women and children on the national transplant waiting list as of April 2018.
transplants were performed in 2017.
people die each day waiting for a transplant.
of U.S. adults support organ donation
but only
are actually signed up as donors.
every 10 minutes
another person is added to the waiting list.
Peoples icon
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 save 8 lives image
One person can donate up to 8 lifesaving organs.
8 lifesaving organs

More Statistics You Should Know

As of April 2018, there are more than 114,000 candidates for transplant on the U.S. national waiting list.
  • 2 out of every 3 people on the waiting list are over the age of 50.
  • Almost 2,000 children under 18 are on the waiting list.
  • Almost 70,000 people (58 percent) on the list are ethnic minorities.

STATS FOR GRAPHIC ABOVE: Waiting List by (lowercase) Ethnicity (4/2018) Caucasian – 41.5% African American – 28.9% Hispanic – 19.6% Asian – 8% Other – 2.3%

STATS FOR GRAPHIC ABOVE: Organs People Are Waiting For (4/2018) Kidney – 83% Liver – 12.1% Heart – 3.5% Lung – 1.2% Other – 2.5%

See current data by age, ethnicity, health status, gender, average waiting times, candidates vs. registrants, and more at OPTN Data Reports.

34,770 transplants were performed in 2017 – a new record high for the fifth consecutive year.

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

STATS FOR GRAPHIC ABOVE: Transplant Recipients by (lowercase) Ethnicity (2017) Caucasian – 56.2% African American – 21% Hispanic – 15.6% Asian – 5.4% Other – 1.9%

  • In 2017, about 62 percent of organ recipients were male; 38 percent female.
  • More than 84,000 corneal transplants were performed in 2017.
  • More than 1 million tissue transplants are performed each year.

STATS FOR GRAPHIC ABOVE: Transplants Performed in 2017 by Organ Kidney (singular) – 19,484 Liver – 8,082 Heart – 3,244 Lung – 2,449 Kidney/Pancreas – 789 Pancreas – 213 Intestine – 109 Heart/Lung – 29

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

In 2017, a total of 42,609 organs were donated. Organ donors can be deceased or living.

  • More than 4 out of 5 donations came from deceased donors, and 1 out of 5 donations from living donors.

STATS FOR GRAPHIC ABOVE: Organs Donated by Deceased and Living Donors (2017) Living - 6,181 Deceased - 36,407

  • Nearly 6 in 10 donors are deceased and about 4 out of 10 are living donors.

STATS FOR GRAPHIC ABOVE: Number of Deceased and Living Donors (2017) Living Donors - 6,181 Deceased Donors -10,281

  • 34 percent of deceased donors in 2017 were over the age of 50.
  • 60 percent of deceased donors in 2017 were male, 40 percent female.

STATS FOR GRAPHIC ABOVE: Deceased Donors by (lowercase) Ethnicity (2017) Caucasian – 66% African American – 15.6% Hispanic – 13.9% Asian – 2.5% Other – 1.9%

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 2017, more than 138 million people over the age of 18 had registered as organ donors. That's more than half of all U.S. adults. (54 percent)***

Registered Donors In The US (7/2017)

  • In 2016, registered donors authorized through state registries accounted for:
    • 46% of recovered organs
    • 51% of recovered tissues
    • 54% of recovered eyes

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

  • States with the highest percentage of registered donors (2015):
    • Montana (89% of the population is registered)
    • Alaska (86%)
    • Washington (85%)

Donate Life America Annual Report exit disclaimer (PDF - 4.3 MB)

Donate Life America's Donor Designation Report exit disclaimer

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.

*Some statistics in this section are updated annually, and based on latest available reports. Other statistics, such as those from the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network (OPTN) Data Reports are updated daily.

** Data include deceased and living donors.

*** From: DLA Donor Designation Report update released 3/31/16

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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