Autism Statistics & Cost
Here are the Facts
Autism prevalence figures are growing
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates autism’s prevalence as 1 in 54 children in the United States.
- An estimated 1 out of 37 boys and 1 in 151 girls are diagnosed with autism in the United States.
- Boys are 4 times more likely than girls to have autism
- ASD is estimated to affect more than 3 million individuals in the U.S.
- Autism is the fastest-growing serious developmental disability in the U.S.
- Autism costs the nation over $268 billion per year, a figure expected to significantly increase in the next decade
- Autism receives approximately 5% of the government research funding of many less prevalent childhood diseases
- While there is no medical detection or known cure for autism, thousands of children have shown significant improvement resulting from early diagnosis and use of effective interventions
- The increase in prevalence rate cannot be explained by better diagnosis alone. Some have suggested that autism is just being better diagnosed today versus years ago and that many cases of intellectual disability are now being coded as autism. This would also assume that the experts diagnosing autism before did not know what they were doing. This is NOT TRUE. Autism is the only disorder dramatically on the rise while mental retardation or intellectual disability, Down syndrome and cystic fibrosis remain relatively the same. Learn More
- While the cause of autism remains unclear, current studies show genetics and environment both play a role in the autism prevalence increase. (Genetic Heritability and Shared Environmental Factors Among Twin Pairs With Autism Joachim Hallmayer, MD; etal - Arch Gen Psychiatry. Published online July 4, 2011. doi:10.1001/archgenpsychiatry.2011.76
Autism Occurrence Articles and Reports
- How the CDC arrived at its 1 in 54 estimate, and what it means for autism’s present and future April 2020
2018 parent survey: 1 in 40 US children have autism November 2018
Autism rate soars to 1 in 59 U.S. Children April 2018
- New 2016 parent survey: 1 in 36 US children have autism, November 2017
- 2014 Parent Survey: 1 in 45 US Children have autism. November 2015
- Revised Estimates of the Cost of the Autism Epidemic July 2015
- New Rate of Autism 1 in 68 March 2014
- The complete CDC report "Prevalence of Autism Spectrum Disorder Among Children Aged 8 Years — Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring Network, 11 Sites, United States, 2010" March 28, 2014
- New Parent survey shows autism affects 1 in every 50 U.S. children. Will this new number be used by the CDC? March 2013
- Pediatrics Reports— One in 91 Children in the United States Has Autism October 2009
- CDC: One in 110 American Children has Autism December 2009