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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
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Home > 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.*

Statistics at a Glance

113,000+
Number of men, women and children on the national transplant waiting list as of January 2019.
36,528
transplants were performed in 2018.**
20
people die each day waiting for a transplant.
95%
of U.S. adults support organ donation
but only
58%
are actually signed up as donors.
every 10 minutes
another person is added to the 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 optn.transplant.hrsa.gov 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

36,528 transplants were performed in 2018 – a new record high for the sixth 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 2018, about 62% of organ recipients were male; 38% female.
  • More than 84,000 corneal transplants were performed in 2017.
  • 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 2018, there was a total of 17,553 donors; 10,722 were deceased donors and 6,831 were living donors.

  • 35% of deceased donors in 2018 were over the age of 50.
  • 61% of deceased donors in 2018 were male, 39% 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 2018, more than 145 million people over the age of 18 had registered as organ donors. That's more than half of all U.S. adults. (54 percent)****

  • In 2017, registered donors authorized through state registries accounted for:
    • 49% of recovered organs
    • 55% of recovered tissues
    • 56% of recovered eyes

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

  • States with the highest percentage of registered donors (2018):
    • Montana (93% of the population is registered)
    • Alaska (92%)
    • Washington (89%)

Donate Life America Annual Report exit disclaimer (PDF - 27.9 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.
SIGN UP >
Talk to your family and friends
Make your wishes known to your friends and family.
FAQS >
Get the word out on social media
Help raise awareness of the importance of donation.
CONNECT >
Volunteer
There are lots of organizations that could use your help.
GET INVOLVED >

* Some statistics in this section are updated annually, and based on latest available reports. Data on this page is current as of January 2019. For the most recent statistics, please visit the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network (OPTN) Data Reports.

** OPTN data as of January 16, 2019.

*** From: DLA Donor Designation Report update released October 2018.

Sign Up as a Donor

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

Register Now >