Understanding Neurodiversity: How Many Neurodivergent People Are There?

It is estimated that between 15 and 20 percent of the world's population has some type of neurodivergence. Neurodivergent conditions, such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and autism spectrum disorder (ASD), are overrepresented in STEM fields. Up to 15% of the population is believed to be neurodiverse, and according to consulting firm and auditing firm Deloitte, between 10 and 20% of the world's population is considered neurodivergent. However, many neurodivergent individuals don't know that they are neurodiverse, with some sources estimating that 50% of the 15% of the population that is neurodivergent don't know it.

Neurodivergent people can benefit from education and programs that help them develop their strengths and use them to their advantage to live happy and healthy lives. Unfortunately, unemployment among neurodivergent adults reaches at least 30-40%, three times the rate of people with disabilities and eight times that of people without disabilities. To find out if you or a loved one has neurodivergence, it is important to talk to your healthcare provider. There are several online spaces where groups of neurodivergent people meet, exchange information, discuss their experiences and struggles, and offer advice and resources to each other.

Neurodivergent conditions include ADHD, dyslexia, dyspraxia, personality disorders, and bipolar disorder. Companies need to create a culture in which both neurodivergent and neurotypical people can thrive in order to promote workforce diversity and “better integrate and harness the full potential of neurodivergent professionals”. Some neurodivergent people have difficulties because of systems or processes that don't give them the opportunity to show their strengths or that create new or more intense challenges for them. Neurodiversity is an important topic that needs more awareness and information in order for people with neurodivergent diseases to be better prepared to advocate for themselves and thrive both inside and outside of work.

With more understanding about neurodiversity, those who are neurodiverse can find the support, language, accommodations, and resources they need to live happy and healthy lives.

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