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
Prevalence Graph 2018