Autism Statistics & Rates in 2023 (1 in 36 Children Identified with ASD)

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<a href="https://hereonthespectrum.com/autism-statistics-rates/"><img src="https://hereonthespectrum.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/05/asd-chart-2023.png" alt="ASD in the US"></a>
YearBirth YearNumber of ADDM Sites ReportingASD per 1,000 Children (Range Across ADDM Sites)This is about 1 in X children
1 in 36
1 in 44
1 in 54
1 in 59
1 in 69
1 in 68
1 in 88
1 in 110
1 in 125
1 in 150
1 in 150

Sampling Method

The ADDM Network is a proactive surveillance program that delivers statistics regarding the prevalence of ASD in children who are 8 years old. In the year 2020, the ADDM Network was operational in 11 locations throughout the United States, namely Arizona, Arkansas, California, Georgia, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, New Jersey, Tennessee, Utah, and Wisconsin.

The staff at ADDM Network sites meticulously review and summarize developmental assessments and records from local medical and educational service providers to identify cases of ASD among 8-year-old children. A child is confirmed as meeting the ASD case definition if any of the following are documented in their record: an ASD diagnostic statement found in an evaluation, an ASD classification in special education, or an ASD code based on the International Classification of Diseases (ICD).

Findings and Interpretation

The data collected from 11 Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring (ADDM) sites across the country showed that the prevalence of ASD per 1,000 children aged eight varied considerably, with a low of 23.1 in Maryland and a high of 44.9 in California. On average, they found that 27.6 per 1,000 children, or one in 36, were diagnosed with ASD. ASD was found to be nearly four times more prevalent in boys than girls.

When examined from the lens of racial and ethnic groups, the data indicated lower ASD prevalence among non-Hispanic White children and children of two or more races compared to their Black, Hispanic, and Asian or Pacific Islander counterparts. There was a similar rate of ASD prevalence among non-Hispanic American Indian or Alaska Native children. At some sites, lower household income appeared to correlate with ASD prevalence, although this association was not consistent across all locations. Therefore, this information should be taken lightly.

The data also showed that 74.7% of the 6,245 children who met the ASD case definition had an official ASD diagnosis. The median age for this earliest known diagnosis was 49 months, but this varied significantly from state to state as diagnosis age may be affected by factors such as state resources, government funding, avaliability of private clinics, and public health waitlist times.

Additionally, we noted that among the 66.7% of children with ASD who had information on cognitive ability available, nearly 38% were classified as having an intellectual disability. This figure was noticeably higher among Black children with ASD. Interestingly, children with a co-occurring intellectual disability typically received an ASD diagnosis earlier than those without such a disability.

Our interpretation of this data reveals an upward trend in ASD prevalence estimates compared to previous years. Notably, for the first time, ASD prevalence was found to be lower among White children aged eight compared to other racial and ethnic groups, which marks a change from past patterns. We also observed that Black children with ASD were more likely to have a concurrent intellectual disability than White children with ASD.

Given these findings, it’s clear that we must continue to enhance our public health system to provide equitable diagnostic, treatment, and support services for all children with ASD. The significant variations in findings across different sites underline the importance of further research to better understand these differences and to ensure that successful identification strategies are consistently implemented across states.

Frequently Asked Questions

What percentage of the population has autism?

This is difficult to answer as many factors should be considered. Autism falls under a spectrum with varies autistic traits and symptoms. These traits are presented differently in each individual. There are also some individuals that may not get assessed to determine if they an autism diagnosis due to many factors such as cultural, financial, accessibility, or socioeconomic reasons. However, based on recent research, about 1 in 68 children are diagnosed with autism.

How common is autism in 2022?

In 2022, approximately 1% of the world’s population, equating to over 75 million people, was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). In the same year, the diagnosis rate for children was 1 in every 100 globally, and in 2023, the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that about 1 in 36 children in the U.S. were diagnosed with autism​

Why is the autism rate increasing?

One assumption is that autism rates are increasing due to the recent increase in general awareness, accessibility, and understanding of autism spectrum disorder. By having a better understanding on autism, parents and professionals are able to assess and evaluate whether to pursue a diagnosis. This also involves the public health systems prioritizing and funding autism related resources making this process more accessible and affordable for families.

Maenner MJ, Warren Z, Williams AR, et al. Prevalence and Characteristics of Autism Spectrum Disorder Among Children Aged 8 Years — Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring Network, 11 Sites, United States, 2020. MMWR Surveill Summ 2023;72(No. SS-2):1–14. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.15585/mmwr.ss7202a1.