The number of people turning to meditation is skyrocketing, and with so many reported benefits it’s really no surprise!
Meditation is no longer a practice reserved solely for those seeking spiritual enlightenment. It has now become a trendy, mainstream activity.
Meditation Stats and Facts: A Quick Summary
- Over 14% of US adults have tried meditation.
- Since 2012 the number of people practicing meditation has tripled.
- 7% of children in the US now meditate.
- Women are more likely to meditate than men.
- The value of the meditation market is set to double by 2022.
- The top 10 most popular meditation apps generated $195 million in sales in 2019.
- General wellness is the number one reason people gave for meditating.
- It is believed that globally between 200 and 500 million people meditate.
Key Statistics on Meditation: Infographic
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Popularity of Meditation Statistics
Who is leading the way with the practice and exactly how big is the meditation market? Take a look at our mind-blowing meditation statistics below:
1. Over 14% of US adults have tried meditation at least once.
With an estimated adult population in the US of 253 million adults that works out at nearly 36 million people.
Another piece of research, published by Pew Research Centre in 2014, suggested the number was even higher. They reported that as many as 40% of Americans claim to meditate at least once a week.
2. Since 2012 the number of people practicing meditation has tripled.
Previous research in 2012 in to Complementary and Integrative Health Approaches identified yoga, meditation and chiropractic care as the most popular Mind and Body practices.
Meditation is now the second most popular Mind and Body practice in the US. This makes it more popular than seeing a chiropractor and places it just behind yoga, which is also proving to be a huge growing trend.
3. The most popular Mind and Body practices in the US, based on research in 2017:
- Yoga (14.3%)
- Meditation (14.2%)
- Chiropractor (10.3%)
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4. 7% of children in the US now meditate.
This statistic recorded in 2017 is a huge rise from 2012 when the figure was just 1.6%. The growth is due to many US schools now including mindfulness practices, including meditation, as part of their curriculum.
It’s thought that meditation can help to manage the stress and anxiety that many young people face today, and be positive for a number of childhood conditions.
5. Women are 4% more likely to meditate than men.
Data from the National Health Interview Survey in 2017 showed that 16.3% of women used meditation, compared to 12% of men.
Little is known about why women choose to practice more, however research does show that they can enjoy more benefits than men.
It’s believed that the reason for this is down to the way different genders process emotional distress.
Men tend to eternalize their feelings, whereas women internalize and ruminate over an issue, an emotional response which can respond well to meditation.
6. 16% of adults aged 45-64 meditate, making them the most dedicated meditators.
However the popularity of the practice is widespread across the age groups, with the 18-44 and 65 and over group not far behind with 13%.
Here is the popularity of meditation by age group:
- 45-64 age group (15.9%)
- 18-44 age group (13.4%)
- 65+ age group (13.4%)
Meditation Market Size Statistics
The meditation market is growing and there is money to be made, especially through developing products that make it more accessible (and fun!) for the masses.
1. In 2015 the meditation and mindfulness industries are thought to have earned $1 billion.
2. The value of the meditation market is set to double from $1.2 billion in 2017 to $2 billion by 2022.
3. Sales of the top 10 most popular meditation apps generated $195 million in 2019.
Calm, Headspace and Ten Percent Happier were all on the list. This growth is an increase of 52% from 2018, and with the current pandemic estimates suggest this figure will only get higher.
4. Meditation app, Headspace, has been downloaded 65 million times.
Headspace includes short guided meditation sessions, some of which are free and others which are only accessible if you pay the monthly fee.
Benefits of Meditation
There are so many ways meditation can improve both your physical and mental wellbeing.
1. General wellness is the number one reason people gave for meditating.
- General wellness (76.2%)
- Improving energy (60%)
- Aiding memory or concentration (50%)
- Anxiety (29.2%)
- Stress (21.6%)
- Depression (17.8%)
In the case of all the above conditions, 60% of the people questioned in the study reported that meditation helped them significantly.
2. Meditation can cut the wake time of insomniacs by at least 50%.
A 2008 study at Stanford University Medical Center, forms part of a wider look at the impact of mindfulness practices, including meditation, on sleep problems.
Sleep disorders are a real issue in the US right now, and the research overwhelmingly concluded that meditation could offer many benefits.
3. Back pain sufferers practicing meditation were more likely to experience a 30% improvement in their ability to carry out daily tasks compared to those only taking medication.
4. Research shows that people who meditate can reduce their chance of being hospitalized for coronary heart disease by 87%.
The groundbreaking research was initially conducted in 1989 then followed up 15 years later to see if the mantra meditation was still working its magic.
It was found that the group who used the technique had a lower CV mortality rate than the group that didn’t take part in the practice.
The 1989 project focused on 73 residents and further research has backed up the finding, however it is still felt further research is needed to understand the full effects.
5. Meditation has been shown to reduce depression relapses by 12%.
Research at the University of Colorado looked at pregnant women who were at a high risk of developing postpartum depression.
Results highlighted that those following the meditation program had a 18% depression relapse rate compared to a 30% relapse rate overall.
6. Following a meditation program can lead to a 73% reduction in Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) symptoms.
A study reviewed in 2018 focused on veterans and noted that as well as a reduction in symptoms, improvements were seen in associated issues such as self-blame and numbing cognitions.
The study forms part of a wider look at mindfulness practices and PTSD, with exciting and positive findings being reported.
7. Meditation can increase telomerase, an enzyme needed to delay the onset of diseases including Alzheimer’s, by 43%.
As we get older, our telomeres, which are the little caps or lids that protect our DNA strands and chromosomes, get shorter. For those suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease this happens at a much faster rate.
Groundbreaking research conducted in 2015 showed that meditation could help to increase telomerase, the enzyme that protects our telomeres, significantly therefore delaying the onset of Alzheimer’s Disease.
8. 25% of people who meditate report having an unpleasant psychological experience.
Meditation isn’t for everyone! A study of 1,232 respondents found a quarter of them experienced negative effects such as anxiety, fear and distorted emotions.
Though the methodology was deemed too simplistic, it did lead researchers to call for more research in to how meditation impacts those with pre-existing mental health conditions.
Meditation in the Workplace
Meditation doesn’t just have benefits for your health, it can also be a powerful tool when used in the workplace.
1. 52% of employers offered mindfulness training in 2018.
The result is a big increase from 36% in the previous year. The report, published by the National Business Group on Health (NBGH), reported that an increasing number of companies were also introducing stress reduction programs.
2. One company found that meditation increased productivity by 120%.
The now iconic study at H.A. Montgomery Company, a chemical plant in Detroit, was one of a kind back in the 1980s.
Team members were encouraged to meditate twice a day for 6 months, using a form of meditation known as Transcendental Meditation.
Results were profound — absenteeism was reduced by 85%, injuries dropped 70% and profits rose a massive 520%!
There is also a lot of evidence to highlight how positive meditation can be in the classroom, for improving performance and the mental wellbeing of children.
1. In 2012, 91 schools in 13 states featured meditation as part of their curriculum.
Though no recent research can suggest the number today, it now forms a part of the curriculum in many states suggesting the number is much higher.
In fact, 41,000 teachers across the US have signed up to use the Calm app both at home and in their classroom.
2. One school reduced suspensions by 45% after introducing a meditation program.
Visitacion Valley Middle School in San Francisco had a problem with violence in the neighborhood, and gang culture would often find its way on to the playground.
They started a program known as ‘Quiet Time’, a form of group meditation.
Just one month later they began to notice positive changes in behavior and two years later they reported a 98% attendance rate and the highest happiness levels in a state-wide school survey.
Though the practice originates in India, meditation is now a global phenomenon with not just the US understanding the power of regular reflection.
1. It is believed that globally between 200 and 500 million people meditate.
2. The global wellness industry, including meditation, is believed to be worth $4.2 trillion.
Monitoring which country meditates most is tricky to quantify, however Google Trends data over a 12 month period shows that Australia and Ireland are the countries that search online for information about meditation more than any other.
The historic findings were discovered during the war in Lebanon in the 1980s. Peace-creating assemblies were formed in Jerusalem, with the result being a 76% reduction in war-related deaths.
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (2018). Use of Yoga, Meditation, and Chiropractors Among U.S. Adults Aged 18 and Over [Online]. Available from: https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/databriefs/db325-h.pdf [Accessed 23 December 2020]. ↩
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (see footnote 1) ↩
- US National Library of Medicine (2019). Prevalence, patterns, and predictors of meditation use among U.S. children: Results from the National Health Interview Survey [Online]. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6502253/ [Accessed 20 December 2020]. ↩
- Religious people meditate more, unsurprisingly Buddhists and Hindus meditate the most. (2018). Meditation is common across many religious groups in the U.S. [Online]. Available from: https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2018/01/02/meditation-is-common-across-many-religious-groups-in-the-u-s/ [Accessed 21 December 2020]. ↩
- National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (2017). National Health Interview Survey 2017 [Online]. Available from: https://www.nccih.nih.gov/research/statistics/nhis/2017 [Accessed 23 December 2020]. ↩
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (see footnote 1) ↩
- Fortune (2016). Meditation Has Become A Billion-Dollar Business [Online]. Available from: https://fortune.com/2016/03/12/meditation-mindfulness-apps/ [Accessed 23 December 2020]. ↩
- Marketdata Enterprises (2017). $1.2 Billion U.S. Meditation Market To Grow Strongly, Following Path of Yoga Studios [Online]. Available from: https://www.marketdataenterprises.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/Meditation-Mkt-2017-Press-Release.pdf [Accessed 23 December 2020]. ↩
- TechCrunch (2019). Top 10 meditation apps pulled in $195M in 2019, up 52% from 2018 [Online]. Available from: https://techcrunch.com/2020/01/30/top-10-meditation-apps-pulled-in-195m-in-2019-up-52-from-2018/ [Accessed 21 December 2020]. ↩
- Business of Apps (2020). Headspace Revenue and Usage Statistics (2020) [Online]. Available from: https://www.businessofapps.com/data/headspace-statistics/ [Accessed 21 December 2020]. ↩
- Entertainment Software Association (2019). 2019 Essential Facts about the Computer and Video Game Industry [Online]. Available from: https://www.theesa.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/ESA_Essential_facts_2019_final.pdf [Accessed 23 December 2020]. ↩
- Nature Research (2016). Prevalence, patterns, and predictors of meditation use among US adults: A nationally representative survey [Online]. Available from: https://www.nature.com/articles/srep36760 [Accessed 23 December 2020]. ↩
- US National Library of Medicine (2010). A Mindfulness-Based Approach to the Treatment of Insomnia [Online]. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3060715/ [Accessed 23 December 2020]. ↩
- NIH National Library of Medicine (2016). Effect of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction vs Cognitive Behavioral Therapy or Usual Care on Back Pain and Functional Limitations in Adults With Chronic Low Back Pain: A Randomized Clinical Trial [Online]. Available from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27002445/ [Accessed 23 December 2020]. ↩
- The Good Body (2019). Benefits of Meditation: 42 (Life-Changing) Reasons to Start Today [Online]. Available from: https://www.thegoodbody.com/benefits-of-meditation/ [Accessed 23 December 2020]. ↩
- National Library of Medicine - The Ochsner Journal (2014). Meditation and Coronary Heart Disease: A Review of the Current Clinical Evidence [Online]. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4295748/ [Accessed 23 December 2020]. ↩
- National Library of Medicine (2018). A Pragmatic Randomized Clinical Trial of Behavioral Activation for Depressed Pregnant Women [Online]. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5699449/ [Accessed 23 December 2020]. ↩
- National Library of Medicine (2018). Brief Mindfulness Meditation Improves Attention in Novices: Evidence From ERPs and Moderation by Neuroticism [Online]. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6088366/ [Accessed 23 December 2020]. ↩
- National Library of Medicine - Journal of Psychiatry and Neuroscience (2017). Mindfulness-based treatments for posttraumatic stress disorder: a review of the treatment literature and neurobiological evidence [Online]. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5747539/ [Accessed 23 December 2020]. ↩
- National Library of Medicine (2015). Stress, Meditation, and Alzheimer's Disease Prevention: Where The Evidence Stands [Online]. Available from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26445019/ [Accessed 23 December 2020]. ↩
- PLOS ONE (2019). Unpleasant meditation-related experiences in regular meditators: Prevalence, predictors, and conceptual considerations [Online]. Available from: https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0216643 [Accessed 23 December 2020]. ↩
- Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) (2020). Meditation Offerings Can Help Employees in Difficult Times [Online]. Available from: https://www.shrm.org/resourcesandtools/hr-topics/employee-relations/pages/meditation-offerings-can-help-employees-in-difficult-times.aspx [Accessed 23 December 2020]. ↩
- The Transcendental Meditation Program (2019). Promoting Corporate Development [Online]. Available from: http://www.tmprogram.com.au/book/chap_5.html [Accessed 23 December 2020]. ↩
- http://Graphs.net (2012). Benefits of Meditation in Education [Online]. Available from: https://graphs.net/benefits-meditation-education.html [Accessed 23 December 2020]. ↩
- The Atlantic (2014). Should Schools Teach Kids to Meditate? [Online]. Available from: https://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2014/01/should-schools-teach-kids-to-meditate/283229/ [Accessed 23 December 2020]. ↩
- Mindworks (2019). How Many People Meditate? [Online]. Available from: https://mindworks.org/meditation-knowledge/how-many-people-meditate/ [Accessed 23 December 2020]. ↩
- Global Wellness Institute (2018). 2018 Global Wellness Economy Monitor [Online]. Available from: https://globalwellnessinstitute.org/industry-research/2018-global-wellness-economy-monitor/ [Accessed 23 December 2020]. ↩
- World Peace Group (2019). Lebanon peace project reduces war deaths by 76% [Online]. Available from: https://www.worldpeacegroup.org/lebanon_peace_project_research.html [Accessed 23 December 2020]. ↩