Approximately 1 in 30 Children and Adolescents in the United States Have Autism

July 11, 2022

New Study Reports that ASD Rates Jumped More Than 50% from 2017 to 2020

A recent research letter published in JAMA Pediatrics shows that the overall autism spectrum disorder (ASD) rate for American children ages 3 to 17 in 2019 and 2020 has risen to 3.14%. When separating data by year, the results show the autism prevalence rate was 2.79% in 2019. Then the rate explodes in 2020 when it jumps to 3.49% or 1 in 30 children. According to the study, nearly 5% of young American boys have autism, compared to just under 2% of girls. This research comes from a team of scientists from Guangdong Pharmaceutical University in China who used statistics from the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS), which collects information through household interviews. NHIS data includes parental reports of an ASD diagnosis given directly to census bureau employees administering the survey. Shockingly, autism rates jumped by more than 50% from 2017 to 2020, according to NHIS statistics. The study’s authors suggest that the United States typically has higher autism rates than the rest of the world. The team believes this is due to better screening and diagnosis. This new 1 in 30 statistic reflects a far higher rate than the CDC’s Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring Network (ADDM), which announced last December that 1 in 44 American children hold an autism diagnosis. Since ADDM rates are based on eight-year-old children and typically take four years to process and publish, this current study is more timely and possibly more accurate. Additionally, the NHIS data used a larger age cohort than the ADDM network, and this research team took only two years to process and publish their findings. 

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