In an analysis of 2018 data from nearly a dozen states, researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that among 8-year-olds, 1 in 44 had been diagnosed with autism.

December 3, 2021

The Centers for Disease Control announced this week that ASD prevalence per 1,000 children aged 8 years was 23.0 and ranged from 16.5 in Missouri to 38.9 in California. The overall male-to-female prevalence ratio was 4.2, and site-specific ratios ranged from 3.3 to 5.2.

The study found that although autism diagnoses increased, the proportion of children with autism who also have an intellectual disability has decreased from one-half in 2000 and 2002 to one-third in 2016. The new numbers are showing that 1 in 44 8-year-old children have been diagnosed with autism, according to 2018 data from 11 states.

  • The CDC also reported decreased racial and ethnic disparities in autism prevalence and that there were “no overall difference in [autism] prevalence between” white and Black children.
  • However, rates were higher among Black children in Maryland and Minnesota.
  • CDC researchers reported that Hispanic children were less likely to be identified as having autism than white or Black children.

This announcement once again underscores the urgent need to fund biological research on the cause of autism and potential treatments for people on the spectrum. Research over the past decade has repeatedly pointed out the complex heterogeneity of autism. Funding is urgently needed to support researchers and clinicians investigating autism spectrum disorders.

Since 1995, ARI has called together experts to discuss emerging research on the biological aspects and co-occurring medical conditions associated with the disorder. We join with other organizations calling for appropriately funded research to protect the health and well-being of people with autism for generations to come.

You can help move research forward

You make a difference and help come up with information and solutions that have a direct impact on improving the health and well-being of people with autism.