Circumcision prevalence

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The United States of America

According to Wallerstein, the rate of male circumcision in the U.S. may have been around 10% in 1880, when it was just beginning to become legitimized as a medical procedure, and grew in popularity steadily until it's peak in the 1980's.[1] According to the American Medical Association's most recent major document on medical circumcision, the "Report 10 of the Council on Scientific Affairs", created by their "Council on Science and Public Health" in 1999, the prevalence of circumcision in the United States increased from about 30% in the 1930s to nearly 80% by the early 1970s".[2] Current reports estimate the rate of adult circumcised American men at approximately 80%.[3]

H-CUP 2009 statistical brief

The following graphs represent data from a statistical brief released by the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project (H-CUP).[4]

American circumcision rates from 1993 to 2009.
American circumcision rates by region.
American circumcision rates by state.

2011 CDC report

According to a CDC report released in September 2011, male infant circumcision is on a downward trend. The rates of in-hospital infant circumcisions had increased from 48.3% during 1988--1991 to 61.1% during 1997--2000. They estimated infant circumcision rates during 1999--2010 using three independent data sources (the National Hospital Discharge Survey [NHDS] from the National Center for Health Statistics, the Nationwide Inpatient Sample [NIS] from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, and the Charge Data Master [CDM] from SDIHealth).[5]

CDC 09 2011.gif

The figure above shows the incidence of in-hospital newborn male circumcision, by data source, in the United States during 1999-2010. Incidence of newborn male circumcision decreased from 62.5% in 1999 to 56.9% in 2008 in the National Hospital Discharge Survey (average annual percentage change (AAPC) = -1.4%; p<0.001); from 63.5% in 1999 to 56.3% in 2008 in the Nationwide Inpatient Sample (AAPC = -1.2%; p<0.001); and from 58.4% in 2001 to 54.7% in 2010 in the Charge Data Master (AAPC = -0.75%; p<0.001).

Abbreviations: NHDS = National Hospital Discharge Survey; NIS = Nationwide Inpatient Sample; CDM = Charge Data Master.

Conflicting report

The picture of the slide used in the CDC presentation, seen here, was taken by an Intact America volunteer who attended the AIDS conference in Vienna.

One year earlier, at the AIDS 2010 Vienna conference, CDC spokesman Charbel El Bcheraoui delivered a presentation on circumcision complications,[6] in which a study noting a steep drop in the neo-natal circumcision from 56% to 33% was presented.[7] This is a sharp contrast from the 55% figure the CDC is currently releasing. The CDC disowns the 33% figure,[8] asserting that it was based on calculations by SDI Health, a company in Plymouth Meeting, PA that analyzes health care data, and was not definitive. Andrew Kress, the chief executive of SDI Health, cautioned that the data had not yet been published and was still being analyzed.[9]</ref> Both SDI and the CDC confirmed that the trend had been toward fewer circumcisions each year, adding that measuring the circumcision rate was not the purpose of the study, which was designed to measure the rate of complications from the procedure.[10]

Global prevalence

Global circumcision rates, according to the WHO.


  1. Wallerstein, Edward. Circumcision: An American Health Fallacy. Springer, New York. 1980. pp. 217
  2. "Report 10 of the Council on Scientific Affairs (I-99): Neonatal Circumcision". American Medical Association Official Website. Accessed May 4, 2011.
  3. REFnews Rabin, Roni Caryn (2010-08-16)."Steep Drop Seen in Circumcisions in U.S.", The New York Times. Retrieved 2011-09-24. "Some 80 percent of American men are circumcised, one of the highest rates in the developed world."
  4. Maeda, J. (Thomson Reuters), Chari, R. (RAND), and Elixhauser, A. (AHRQ). Circumcisions in U.S. Community Hospitals, 2009. HCUP Statistical Brief #126. February 2012. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD. http://www.hcup-
  5. REFjournal Bcheraoui, Charbel El; with Xinjian Zhang, Sanjyot Shinde, Peter H. Kilmarx, Robert T Chen, Maria Owings (2011-09-02): Trends in In-Hospital Newborn Male Circumcision --- United States, 1999--2010, in: Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR). 60 (34):1167-1168. Retrieved 2011-09-24.Quote: "Incidence of newborn male circumcision decreased..."
  6. Rates of selected neonatal male circumcision-associated severe adverse events in the United States, 2007-2009: , XVIII International AIDS Conference July 18-23 2010 Vienna Austria, Charbel El Bcheraoui; J. Greenspan, K. Kretsinger, R. Chen, Publisher: International AIDS Society, Vienna, Austria (2010-07-18), retrieved 2011-09-24.
  7. US newborn male circumcision rate dropped sharply in from 2006 to 2009: Quote: "Circumcision rates fell from 56% in 2006 to 33% in 2009."AIDS 2010, Vienna, Austria, Mitchel L. Zoler, Publisher: Elsevier Global Medical News, Vienna, Austria (2010-08-05).
  8. REFnews Rabin, Roni Caryn (2010-08-16)."Rabin", The New York Times. Retrieved 2011-09-24. "C.D.C. was not involved in the collection of the data that was cited, nor has C.D.C. undertaken any review of this particular data for the purpose of calculating rates..."
  9. REFnews Rabin, Roni Caryn (2010-08-16)."Steep Drop Seen in Circumcisions in U.S.", The New York Times. Retrieved 2011-09-24. "Andrew Kress, the chief executive of SDI Health, cautioned that the data had not yet been published and was still being analyzed..."
  10. REFnews Rabin, Roni Caryn (2010-08-16)."Steep Drop Seen in Circumcisions in U.S.", The New York Times. Retrieved 2011-09-24. "What we can tell you is that male infant circumcision rates have declined somewhat in this decade..."