Skip Navigation Archive: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Archive: Agency for Healthcare Research Quality
Archival print banner

This information is for reference purposes only. It was current when produced and may now be outdated. Archive material is no longer maintained, and some links may not work. Persons with disabilities having difficulty accessing this information should contact us at: Let us know the nature of the problem, the Web address of what you want, and your contact information.

Please go to for current information.

Mental Disorders Among Most Costly Conditions in Children

AHRQ News and Numbers, April 22, 2009

AHRQ News and Numbers provides statistical highlights on the use and cost of health services and health insurance in the United States.

Treating mental disorders in children, such as depression, cost $8.9 billion in 2006, according to the latest News and Numbers from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). The Agency's analysis found that a total of $98.8 billion was spent to treat all medical problems in children age 17 and under in 2006.

The five most costly medical conditions in children were:

  • Mental disorders—$8.9 billion.
  • Asthma—one of the most common serious chronic illnesses in children, was the second most expensive disorder to treat—$8 billion.
  • Trauma-related disorders—including fractures, sprains, burns, and other physical injuries from accidents or violence—$6.1 billion.
  • Acute bronchitis—inflammation of the airways of the lungs that cause shortness or breath and wheezing—$3.1 billion.
  • Acute infectious diseases—such as viral and bacterial infections—$2.9 billion.

AHRQ, which is part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, improves the quality, safety, efficiency, and effectiveness of health care for all Americans. The data in this AHRQ News and Numbers summary are taken from the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS), a detailed source of information on the health services used by Americans, the frequency with which they are used, the cost of those services, and how they are paid. For more information, go to The Five Most Costly Children's Conditions, 2006: Estimates for the U.S. Civilian, Noninstitutionalized Children, Ages 0 to 17.

For other information, or to speak with an AHRQ data expert, please contact Bob Isquith at or call (301) 427-1539.

Current as of April 2009
Internet Citation: Mental Disorders Among Most Costly Conditions in Children: AHRQ News and Numbers, April 22, 2009. April 2009. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD.


The information on this page is archived and provided for reference purposes only.


AHRQ Advancing Excellence in Health Care