CDC Growing Autism Prevalence

The rate of autism spectrum disorders across the United States continues to rise. According to the latest data from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), 1 in 44 children, or 2.3% of all American children have been diagnosed with autism.

The data, published in the CDC’s latest Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, showed a marked increase from the last study just 18 months ago – which found 1 in 54 children had autism.  As in the past, the CDC researchers found that boys are four times more likely to be diagnosed than girls.

The rates, however, are not consistent in every section of the country.  For example, the highest rate was reported in California with 1 in 26 children or 3.9% of all the children studied.   In Missouri, 1 in 60 children or just 1.7% were on the spectrum.  The data set for this report was sourced from 11 communities nationwide in 2018. These communities include: Arizona, Arkansas, California, Georgia, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, New Jersey, Tennessee, Utah, and Wisconsin.

Epidemiologists are still unsure what is behind the increase in prevalence. “Regardless of whether this increase is related to better screening or indeed there are more children being born with autism, the bottom line is that there are more children and families in need of services than ever before,” commented TCFD President Dr. Theresa Hamlin, “There’s tremendous variability in development among these children, and yet there continues to be a single approach to treatment.”

She added, “We desperately need new treatments that support the whole child, and more research about the co-occurring conditions in autism that cause significant pain and suffering, and are often more debilitating than the core features of autism.”  The mission to find better treatments as well as understand the intricacies and co-morbidities of these individuals is core to the research program at The Center. Together, hundreds of educators, therapists, doctors, nutritionists and other professionals collaborate daily to develop and refine TCFD’s whole-person model of health, wellness, and education.

“In the face of these rising numbers, there’s an urgency now more than ever to help these children and their families,” said Dr. Hamlin.