Latest Autism Statistics

January 29th, 2017

Autism Occurrence

  • AUTISM OCCURRENCE: One in every 68 children in the US has autism (read CDC March 2014 Study). It is estimated that almost 2 million individuals in the U.S. has autism. (Note: This number and the following statistics below do NOT include: PDD, Asperger's and other spectrum disorders.) These statistics are endorsed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), American Academy of Pediatrics, and other federal agencies.

Autism Costs and prevalence

Autism Facts:

  • Autism prevalence figures are growing
  • More children will be diagnosed with autism this year than with AIDS, diabetes & cancer combined
  • An estimated 1 out of 42 boys and 1 in 189 girls are diagnosed with autism in the United States.
  • ASD is estimated to affect more than 3 million individuals in the U.S.
  • Approximately 100 individuals are diagnosed every day with autism in the U.S.
  • Autism is the fastest-growing serious developmental disability in the U.S.
  • Autism costs the nation over $238 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
  • Boys are four times more likely than girls to have autism
  • 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.  A January 2009 UC MIND Institute study refutes this notion.
  • 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

More recent Public School data is available for 8 year olds for the 2009-2010 school year. This graphs highlights the autism prevalence by state:

Autism Prevalence in Public Schools

Sadly, this data does not show children not in school, being homeschooled or receiving intensive services in home.

Prevalence vs. Private Funding


National Institutes of Health Funds Allocation

  • Total 2011 NIH budget: $30.5 billion
  • Of this, only $169 million goes directly to autism and related conditions research. This represents 0.6% of total NIH funding


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