Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is a complex debilitating condition affecting more than 70 million people worldwide. With the increased prevalence in risk factors such as diabetes, hypertension, and cardiovascular disease in an aging population, CKD prevalence is also expected to increase. Increased awareness and understanding of the overall CKD burden by health care teams (patients, clinicians, and payers) is warranted so that overall care and treatment management may improve. This review of the burden of CKD summarizes available evidence of the clinical, humanistic, and economic burden of CKD and the current unmet need for new treatments and serves as a resource on the overall burden. Across countries, CKD prevalence varies considerably and is dependent upon patient characteristics. The prevalence of risk factors including diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, and congestive heart failure is noticeably higher in patients with lower estimated glomerular filtration rates (eGFRs) and results in highly complex CKD patient populations. As CKD severity worsens, there is a subsequent decline in patient health-related quality of life and an increased use of health care resources as well as burgeoning costs. With current treatment, nearly half of patients progress to unfavorable renal and cardiovascular outcomes. Although curative treatment that will arrest kidney deterioration is desired, innovative agents under investigation for CKD to slow kidney deterioration, such as atrasentan, bardoxolone methyl, and spherical carbon adsorbent, may offer patients healthier and more productive lives.