Figures and facts about brain injury / brain disorders

The following numbers are approximate.


In the world

  • 1 in 6 children has a brain disorder
  • 50% of elderly people have a brain disorder
  • 1 in 4 people has a brain disorder


The Netherlands

Total per year:

  • approximately 130,000 to 160,000 people per year are diagnosed with brain damage.
  • of these, approximately 19,000 are children and young people aged 0 to 24.
  • acquired brain injury is the leading cause of death in children and young people.
  • approximately 40,000 people are left with significant permanent disabilities due to brain injury.
  • approximately 650,000 people experience disabilities as a result of brain injury (3.8% of the population of 17 million).


About 41,000 people suffer a stroke every year. That is about 117 people per day. About 80% of those affected by a stroke
people have a cerebral infarction and 20% have a cerebral hemorrhage.


Traumatic brain injury
Each year, approximately 21,000 people are admitted to hospital with a diagnosis of traumatic brain injury.
Among people with moderate to severe traumatic brain injury:

See also data from the US





  • Every year about 700 people get meningitis. (This is the bacterial form. The viral form usually heals on its own within two weeks).


Brain tumor

  • Every year, a malignant brain tumor affects approximately 1,150 people. In the Netherlands, approximately 3,103 people live with a brain tumor.
  • A benign brain tumor affects approximately 450 people per year. This is usually a meningioma, a tumor of the meninges.


Dementia and Alzheimer's

  • Five people a day, approximately 43,800 people a year, develop Alzheimer's disease.
  • The Netherlands has approximately 270,000 people with dementia.
  • About 70% of those 270,00 people with dementia have
    Alzheimer's disease.
  • Vascular dementia affects approximately 16% of the 270,000 people.
  • About 14% of the 270,000 people with dementia have another cause of the disease.


Multiple sclerosis
Multiple sclerosis affects approximately 731 people every year. In the Netherlands there are approximately 17,000 people with Multiple Sclerosis.


Parkinson's disease
Parkinson's disease occurs in approximately 8,000 people per year. In the Netherlands, approximately 35,000 people have Parkinson's disease.


Huntington's disease

  • About 1700 people in the Netherlands have Huntington's disease. There are no figures available for the number of new cases of illness.


Oxygen deficiency

  • Every year 2,500 people in the Netherlands have to be resuscitated.
  • It is estimated that 250 people = 10% of the 2500 resuscitated people will suffer serious brain damage due to oxygen deficiency. That percentage may be even higher, because the remaining 90% survived the resuscitation neurologically "reasonably" to well. (Hart Foundation figures).
  • About 80 people drown every year. There are no concrete figures about the number of people who almost drowned and therefore inhaled water and may have suffered oxygen damage to the brain.


Congenital brain disorders

  • Brain disorders appear to occur in 100,300 children and manifest themselves in the first year of life. Examples: intellectual disabilities or abnormalities of the central nervous system.


Figures about our brain
Our brains contain 100 billion brain cells.
Each brain cell has an average of a thousand synapses. If you multiply the 100 billion brain cells by a thousand synapses you can calculate the number of data points. Converted into computer language, that is 100 terabytes of information if all synapses are used... Because 1 terabyte = 1000 gigabytes.


See also our Dutch page about figures and facts


Stroke fact,, traumatic brain injury, Parkinsonnet en Parkinsonvereniging, stichting Alzheimer Nederland, Multiple Sclerose Fondation Charcot stichting, ( Nederlandse Kankerregistratie, Hersenstichting, Vilans, Hartstichting, Nederlandse vereniging voor neurologie