Erie Vital Signs

Diagnosed with Diabetes

Recent Performance

This trend is negative or needs improvement.

Diabetes affects 29.1 million or almost 1 in 10 people in the United States and has become a major public health concern. It is the leading cause of kidney failure, non-traumatic lower-limb amputations and new cases of blindness among adults in the United States. Diabetes is also a leading cause of heart disease and stroke. With its widespread impact, diabetes emerges as the seventh leading cause of death in the United States.

In Erie County, the percentage of adults who have been told they have diabetes has slowly climbed. In 2013*, 11 percent of adults in Erie County were told they have diabetes, up from 10 percent in 2011. Erie’s diabetes rate is above the statewide average of 10 percent and the national average of 9 percent.

The lowest rates of diabetes are found among adults earning $50,000 a year or more (1 percent), college graduates (2 percent), and 18-44 year olds (2 percent).

*2013 indicates data for the period 2011-13.

The Basics

This indicator reports the percentage of Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance Survey (BRFSS) respondents who chose “Yes” in response to the survey question: Has a doctor, nurse, or other health professional EVER told you that you had diabetes (excluding gestational diabetes)?

Why It's Important

According to the Centers for Disease Control, diabetes can cause serious health complications including heart disease, blindness, kidney failure, and lower-extremity amputations. Diabetes is the seventh leading cause of death in the United States.

The Details

The Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) Survey is a telephone based health survey of adults age 18 and above. Both landline and cell phone users are included. Initiated in 1984 by the CDC, it is now administered nationally, statewide, regionally, and locally. The survey focuses on health care access, health conditions, risk behaviors, and preventive health practices. Standardized questions allow comparison among various population groups. For 2013, Erie County used 3-Year Sum County Level data, for years 2011-2013, which was provided by the Pennsylvania Department of Health. Similar 3-Year Sum data for Pennsylvania was used for comparison.

The Nitty-Gritty Details


This EVS indicator has no subcategories. The raw data for Erie County do provide data for subcategories based on sex, age, education, income, and race.

Peer Areas

The BRFSS data are available for Erie, the state of Pennsylvania, and the United States. Data is also available for the following thirteen of the standard peer selected metropolitan/micropolitan statistical areas (MMSAs): Akron OH, Allentown-Bethlehem-Easton PA-NJ, Boulder CO, Cedar Rapids IA, Flint MI, Gainesville FL, Green Bay WI, Kalamazoo-Portage MI, Lansing-East Lansing MI, Laredo TX, Peoria IL, Roanoke VA, and Spartanburg SC.


Erie County completes a BRFSS every four to five years. The survey is administered every year at the state and national level.


Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System Survey, administered by the Erie County Department of Health following guidelines of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Pennsylvania Department of Health 3-Year Sum County Level data. Links to the data are given above under “All the Nitty-Gritty Details”.

Other Related Data

Additional Studies and Research

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