Prevalence of Autism 27.6 Per 1,000 8-Year-Olds in 2020

Prevalence lower among non-Hispanic Whites and children of two or more races versus Blacks, Hispanics, Asian/Pacific Islanders

By Elana Gotkine HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, March 23, 2023 (HealthDay News) — The prevalence of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) per 1,000 children aged 8 years was 27.6 in 2020, and prevalence was higher for boys than girls, according to research published in the March 24 issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Matthew J. Maenner, Ph.D., from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, and colleagues ascertained the prevalence of ASD among children aged 8 years using data from the Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring Network for 11 U.S. sites.

The researchers found that the prevalence of ASD per 1,000 children aged 8 years varied across sites, from 23.1 in Maryland to 44.9 in California for 2020. The overall prevalence was 27.6 per 1,000 children aged 8 years and was higher among boys than girls (43.0 versus 11.4). The prevalence of ASD was lower among non-Hispanic White children and children of two or more races than among non-Hispanic Black or African American, Hispanic, and non-Hispanic Asian or Pacific Islander children (24.3 and 22.9 versus 29.3, 31.6, and 33.4, respectively); prevalence was similar for American Indian/Alaska Native children (26.5). Overall, 37.9 percent of the 4,165 children with ASD with information on cognitive ability were classified as having an intellectual disability. The median age of ASD diagnosis was earlier for children with versus those without intellectual disability (43 versus 53 months).

“These data indicate that ASD is common across all groups of children and underscore the considerable need for equitable and accessible screening, services, and supports for all children,” the authors write.

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