Bipolar disorder


Last updated 5 March 2021 - see all updates

1. Main facts and figures

  • in 2014, there were no meaningful differences between ethnic groups in the percentage of adults who had a positive screening for bipolar disorder
  • the small number of positive screenings for certain ethnic groups means any apparent differences are too uncertain to draw reliable conclusions
  • these figures should not be used as evidence of real differences between ethnic groups in the population as a whole

2. Things you need to know

What the data measures

The data measures the percentage of people aged 16 and over in England who screened positive for bipolar disorder.

Bipolar disorder is a mental health condition that affects a person’s moods, which can swing from one extreme to another. It used to be known as manic depression.

Percentages have been rounded to 1 decimal point.

You can read more about bipolar disorder on the NHS website.

Not included in the data

The data does not include:

  • people who live in institutional settings (such as hospitals or prisons)
  • people who live in temporary housing (such as hostels or bed and breakfasts)
  • homeless people

The ethnic groups used in the data

Data is shown for the following 5 aggregated ethnic groups:

  • Asian
  • Black
  • Mixed and Other ethnic groups
  • White British
  • White Other

This is because the number of people surveyed was too small to make reliable conclusions about all of the 18 ethnic groups used in the 2011 Census.


Read the detailed methodology document (PDF opens in a new window or tab) for the data on this page.

A positive screen for bipolar disorder indicates that someone is likely to have bipolar disorder based on symptoms they have described. A full clinical assessment would be needed for diagnosis.

It is unlikely that everyone who screened positive for bipolar disorder responded accurately when surveyed, particularly when interviewed. This may be because of the social stigma that some people attach to these conditions. People were more likely to report these conditions in the self-completion section of the survey, but not everyone completed this section.

If someone could not take part in a long interview due to a physical or mental health condition, some information about this was recorded by the interviewer on the doorstep. This information may be biased due to it having been collected from another household member.

The statistics have been age-standardised so comparisons can be made between ethnic groups as if they had the same age profile (the number of people of different ages within an ethnic group). They do not show the actual percentage of people in each ethnic group who screened positive for bipolar disorder.

The figures on this page are based on survey data. Find out more about:

In the data file

See Download the data for:

  • the unweighted number of people surveyed
  • confidence intervals for each ethnic group – find out more about how we use confidence intervals to determine how reliable estimates are

3. By ethnicity and sex

Percentage of people aged 16 years and over screening positive for bipolar disorder by ethnicity and sex
Ethnicity All Men Women
% % %
Asian 1.4 2.0 0.7
Black 3.5 2.9 4.0
Mixed/Other 1.8 1.6 2.0
White - British 2.0 2.3 1.8
White - Other 2.0 3.1 1.1

Download table data for ‘By ethnicity and sex’ (CSV) Source data for ‘By ethnicity and sex’ (CSV)

Summary of Bipolar disorder By ethnicity and sex Summary

This data shows that:

  • no meaningful difference between ethnic groups has been observed in terms of the likelihood of screening positive for bipolar disorder

  • the percentage of people screening positive for bipolar disorder ranged from 1.4% to 3.5% depending on their ethnic group; the range was slightly wider when looking only at women, from 0.7% to 4% (but again, these differences are not reliable)

4. Data sources


Type of data

Survey data

Type of statistic

National Statistics


NHS Digital

Publication frequency

Every 7 years (further publications dependent on further surveys being commissioned)

Purpose of data source

The Adult Psychiatric Morbidity Survey provides data on the prevalence of treated and untreated psychiatric disorders in English adults aged 16 and over.

5. Download the data

apms_adults_screening_positive_for_bipolar - Spreadsheet (csv) 1 KB

This file contains the following: ethnicity, year, gender, value, denominator, numerator, confidence intervals