Autism Prevalence Rate

Past & Present: Autism Prevalence Rate

1985: The prevalance of Autism is 1 in 2500 births

2000: Autism rates rise to 1 in 500

2004: 1 in 166 children are affected with Autism

2009: 1 in 91 births result in an Autism diagnosis

2012: 1 in 88 children diagnosed with an Autism Spectrum Disorder by age eight

Autism is "a continuing urgent public health concern." Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

CDC estimates 1 in 88 children in United States has been identified as having an autism spectrum disorder

Autism is a developmental disability that causes repetitive behavior and difficulty with communication and social interaction in young children throughout adulthood. The severity of these symptoms may vary from person to person.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 1 in 88 children in the United States has been identified as having an autism spectrum disorder (ASD), according to a new study released March 29, 2012, which looked at data from 14 communities.

"Behind all these statistics are real people and real families struggling every day... At 1 in 88, the United States is experiencing a national epidemic."Mark Roithmayr, president of Autism Speaks

Autism spectrum disorders are almost five times more common among boys than girls – with 1 in 54 boys identified. Alarmingly, the largest increases were among black and latino children. The study also reports that on average 1 in 54 boys was diagnosed with autism, compared to only 1 in 252 girls.

Study results from the 2008 surveillance year show 11.3 per 1,000 8-year-old children have been identified as having ASD. This marks a 23 percent increase since the last report in 2009. And 78% more common than estimated in 2006. Some of this increase is due to the way children are identified, diagnosed and served in their communities, although exactly how much is due to these factors is unknown.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Prevalence of Autism Spectrum Disorders – Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring Network, 14 Sites, United States, 2008, published in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, March 29, 2012.

Read the CDC Report (PDF)

In early 2007 the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported data in its 2002 study, a diagnosis rate of one in 150. The study consists of about 10% of U.S. eight-year-old children born in 1994 from 14 states - Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Georgia, Maryland, Missouri, New Jersey, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Utah, West Virginia and Wisconsin. A total of 2,685 eight-year-olds were identified as having an Autism Spectrum Disorder.

The study found a higher autism prevalence rate in boys than girls (2.8-6 boys to girls, depending on the state) and no statistically significant difference among white and black children.

New Jersey had the highest rate of autism ever recorded in the United States: one in 94 children, and one in 60 boys.

The average age of earliest ASD diagnosis ranged between 4-5 years. But for 51–91 percent of children with an ASD, developmental concerns had been recorded before age 24 months. This underscores the need for earlier identification of autism.

To read the full study visit:

"Autism is the fastest-evolving disorder in all of medical science."Chairman, Columbia University, Dept. of Psychiatry

Many autistic children have learning disabilities. While others have average intelligence, and some individuals are above average. There are also individuals with autism who are considered "savants," which means they have exceptional skills in at least one area, i.e. art, music, math or memory.

While autism is one of the most common developmental disorders American children face, many professionals in the medical and educational fields are still unaware of the best methods to diagnose and treat the disorder. What is known is that once a diagnosis is made, initiating early intervention services significantly improves outcomes for people with autism and can reduce the level of funding and services needed later in life.

A recent Zogby poll finds: Caucasians (35 percent) are more likely than Hispanics (25 percent) or African Americans (22 percent) to know someone with autism. People with higher education and higher household incomes are also more likely to say they personally know someone with autism. And almost half (47 percent, up from 37 percent in 2002) of those who know someone with autism describe their relationship to this person as a friend or neighbor. The remaining results were identical to 2002, with 14 percent reporting that an immediate family member has autism and in 11 percent of cases, a distant relative.

Global Autism Prevalence Rates

The Autism Epidemic is global:
  • United Kingdom - 1 in 86 children in the UK has Autism
  • Quebec, Canada - 1 in every 167 births is affected
  • Brisbane, Australia - The treatment of Autism and related conditions is costing the Australian economy about $5.8 billion per year.
Source: The Autism Research Institute

For more autism prevalence rate information click here.

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