It’s Not Just the U.S., Global Autism Rates Continue to Climb

May 22, 2022

New Study Shows 1 in 100 Children Are Diagnosed with ASD Around the World

Recent research shows approximately 100 in 10,000 – or 1 in 100 – children across the globe hold an autism diagnosis. This figure comes from a new systematic review of 99 prevalence estimates from 34 countries.  A decade ago, the global rate was 62 in 10,000. Similar to the U.S., the study found that boys worldwide are four times more likely than girls to have autism. Also included in the study was the median percentage of autism with co-occurring intellectual disability, which was reported at 33%. The studies analyzed for the review varied in size, ranging from 465 participants to 50 million. The prevalence estimates also varied greatly, ranging from 1.09 in 10,000 to 436 in 10,000. Most of the studies included in the review were conducted in the U.S. and Northern Europe. However, previously underrepresented regions like Africa and the Middle East were also included. The study’s lead author, Andy Shih, suggests that these findings show efforts to improve autism awareness are succeeding and that many regions have improved in identifying, diagnosing, and treating individuals with autism. Shih also believes the rise in the new global autism rate is due to changes in the definition of autism and differences in the methodology and contexts of prevalence studies.

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