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What is the most common color blindness percentage?

Color blindness, also known as color vision deficiency, is the decreased ability to see color or differences between colors. It affects a significant percentage of the population to some degree. Understanding the prevalence of different types of color blindness can help increase awareness and accessibility for those impacted.

Overview of Color Blindness

Color blindness occurs when there is an issue with the retina’s cone cells, which are responsible for detecting color. There are three main types of cone cells that each detect a different wavelength of light corresponding to red, green or blue. Color blindness happens when one or more of these cone cells are absent, not functioning properly, or detect overlapping wavelengths.

The most common types of color blindness are:

  • Red-green color blindness – the most common, where there are issues distinguishing between red and green
  • Blue-yellow color blindness – less common, involving confusion between blue and yellow
  • Complete color blindness (extremely rare) – the inability to see any color at all

Color blindness is usually an inherited genetic condition. It affects males disproportionately more than females, as the genes responsible are carried on the X chromosome. Females have two X chromosomes, so a defect in one can often be compensated for by the other. Males only have one X chromosome, so a defect will cause color blindness.

Global Color Blindness Percentages

Studies estimate that worldwide, between 4-5% of the population has some degree of color blindness. This includes both mild and strong types that make it difficult to impossible to distinguish between certain colors.

Here is a table summarizing the global percentage prevalence of different types of color blindness:

Type Prevalence
Red-green deficiency 1-2% of males, 0.4% of females
Blue-yellow deficiency 1 in 10,000
Complete color blindness 1 in 100,000

As shown, red-green color deficiency is by far the most common. It impacts up to 2% of males and 0.4% of females globally. Complete color blindness is incredibly rare, affecting only 1 in 100,000 people.

Color Blindness Percentages by Geographic Region

The percentage of people with color blindness can vary somewhat between different global regions. This is due to differences in genetic prevalence between populations. Here are statistics on color blindness percentages in different areas:

Region Percentage Affected
Northern European Caucasians 1 in 12 men (8%), 1 in 200 women
Chinese 1 in 20 men (5%), 1 in 400 women
African 1 in 25 men (4%), 1 in 400 women
Hispanic 1 in 30 men (3%), 1 in 150 women

The highest rates are seen among Caucasians, especially those of Northern European descent. African populations tend to have lower rates. The discrepancy between genders holds across regions, with males consistently more affected than females.

Color Blindness Percentages by Country

Looking within specific countries, reported rates of color blindness include:

  • United States: 1 in 12 men, 1 in 200 women
  • Canada: 1 in 12 men, 1 in 250 women
  • Britain: 1 in 12 men, 1 in 230 women
  • Germany: 1 in 12 men, 1 in 250 women
  • France: 1 in 20 men, 1 in 400 women
  • Spain: 1 in 30 men, 1 in 150 women
  • China: 1 in 20 men, 1 in 400 women
  • Japan: 1 in 25 men, 1 in 230 women
  • India: 1 in 25 men, 1 in 500 women

Again this shows some variance, but roughly 1-2% of men and 0.5% or fewer of women tend to be color blind worldwide based on these statistics.

Types of Color Blindness by Prevalence

Looking within the broad categories of color blindness, the most frequent specific types within populations are:

  • Protanopia – 1% of males, 0.01% of females
  • Deuteranopia – 1% of males, 0.01% of females
  • Tritanopia – 0.001% of population

Protanopia and deuteranopia, both types of red-green color blindness, both impact about 1% of males and 0.01% of females globally based on current data. Blue-yellow color blindness (tritanopia) is far less common at a mere 0.001% of all people.

Severity of Color Blindness

Color blindness ranges from mild to strong. Some people may just have difficulty differentiating between subtle shades of red and green, while others are unable to see any color at all. Among those with red-green color deficiency, it is estimated that:

  • 49% have a mild form
  • 41% have a moderate form
  • 10% have a strong, severe form

So about half of cases are mild and do not seriously impact everyday function. But 1 in 10 people with red-green color blindness have a severe form that makes it very difficult for them to distinguish certain colors.


In summary, the most common type of color blindness by far is red-green color deficiency, impacting over 1% of males globally. Complete color blindness is extremely rare at 1 in 100,000 people. While exact percentages vary between regions, approximately 1 in 12 men and 1 in 200 women have some form of color vision impairment. Being aware of these prevalence statistics can help make design, education, employment and other areas more accessible for the color blind.