Policy Brief: The Global Impact of Dementia 2013-2050

‘The Global Impact of Dementia 2013-2050’ is a policy brief for heads of government, updating ADI’s prevalence figures published in the World Alzheimer Report 2009. The new estimates are an increase of 17% on the figures published in 2009, with data showing that the number of people with dementia will increase from 115 to 135 million by 2050. The report also predicts a shift in the distribution of the global burden of dementia. By 2050, 71% of all people with dementia will live in low or middle income countries.

The briefing has been released ahead of the first G8 Dementia Summit, which will take place in London, UK, on 11 December 2013.

The update focused on the new evidence emerging from China and the sub-Saharan African region, applying the new prevalence rates to the latest (2012) UN population projections. This report has been a joint effort of the Global Observatory for Ageing and Dementia Care at King's College London (Prof Martin Prince, Dr Maëlenn Guerchet and Dr Matthew Prina) and Alzheimer’s Disease International.

Key recommendations and conclusions

  • The new data has shown that the current burden and future impact of the dementia epidemic has been underestimated, particularly for the Asia East and Sub-Saharan African regions. The global burden will soon shift to poorer countries
  • Our best estimates show that 10% of dementia cases may be avoided by improvements in public health. Campaigns that target smoking, underactivity, obesity, hypertension and diabetes should be prioritised as well as education and other cognitive enhancement
  • The current economic cost of dementia is $604 billion annually (2010). These costs will escalate at least proportionally with numbers affected, particularly in low and middle income countries
  • Research must be a global priority if we are to improve the quality and coverage of care, find treatments that alter the course of the disease and identify more options for prevention
  • Investment into a search for a cure must be balanced with initiatives to improve access to evidence based packages of care
  • Lessons can be drawn from the HIV epidemic regarding the relationship between success in research and the presence of well-established care systems, access to diagnostic technologies and drug therapies in low and middle income countries and better implementation of ‘global trials’
  • Dementia must be declared a public health priority by initiating national debates regarding the future provision for long term care. So far, only 13 out of 193 WHO countries have national dementia plans in place.
  • All countries, not just those in the G8, must commit to comprehensive plans for collaborative action. International cooperation will be essential and there is a need for a global action plan between governments, industry and non-profit organisations like Alzheimer associations.

Read the report


We have made an infographic incorporating the data from our G8 policy brief ‘The Global Impact of Dementia 2013-2050’ and data from our previous reports.

View the infographic