U.S. organ transplants surpassed the 30,000 milestone in 2015 because Americans are increasingly willing to donate their organs, health officials said. Doctors performed a record 30,973 transplants of kidneys, livers and other organs last year, 5% more than in 2014, according to the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network (OPTN), a wing of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that tracks such medical donations.
The number of organ donations has been on a steady incline for the last decade. But the number of people waiting for organs—currently 121,700 patients—still far outnumbers the number of people willing to donate. The network estimates that 22 people in the country die every day waiting for organs.
OPTN's transplant data shows that the number of African-American and Hispanic recipients increased last year, an important step to the organization because those two groups are over-represented on waiting lists. Almost 22% of recipients were African-American and almost 16% were Hispanic.