The Journal of Headache and Pain

"European Headache Federation" and of "Lifting The Burden - The Global Campaign against Headache"

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Open Access

Epidemiology of migraine

The Journal of Headache and PainOfficial Journal of the Italian Society for the Study of Headaches and the Italian Society of Pain Clinicians2:2


The 1988 International Headache Society (IHS) classification has greatly contributed to overcoming the obstacles that had made it difficult in the past to compare results of surveys on headache epidemiology. For migraine without aura, the more recent studies of the general adult population indicate lifetime prevalence rates between 6% and 10% for men and between 15% and 26% for women. One–year prevalence rates are between 2% and 15% for men and between 4% and 35% for women. Rates of frequent migraine are 6% in men and 14% in women. Migraine occurs in 3%–6% of prepubertal children with no significant differences between girls and boys. The prevalence of migraine without aura increases progressively from the age of 12 years up to about the age of 40, when it begins to record a gradual, progressive decrease down to 1%–4% in the elderly. For migraine with aura, recent epidemiological investigations by Rasmussen and Olesen indicate a lifetime prevalence rate of 6% and a one-year prevalence rate of 4%.

Key words

MigraineMigraine without auraMigraine with auraEpidemiology