Autism Statistics: CDC Raises Potential ASD Rates to 1 in 36 American Kids

March 24, 2023

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has released autism statistics estimates for Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) in the United States. Previously (December 2021), the rate had been estimated to be 1 in 44 American 8-year-olds, which was already startlingly high. On March 23rd, the CDC officially raised their estimate to 1 in 36 kids, representing a sobering four times increase in the prevalence of the disorder since the CDC began collecting data in 2000.

From the website: “In 2020, children born in 2016 were 1.6 times as likely as children born in 2012 to be identified as having ASD by 48 months of age. This is important because the earlier a child is identified with ASD, the earlier they can access services and reports.”

The article (Higher Autism Prevalence and COVID-19 Disruptions) mentions how the COVID-19 pandemic may have impacted early ASD identification in young children. They anticipate long-lasting effects due to delays in identifying and initiating services.

The study, published in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, shows that 4% of boys and 1% of girls aged 8 have autism. ASD remaining 3.8 times more prevalent in boys than girls is consistent with all previous reporting periods.

Why the New Autism Statistics Matter

Data is essential for early awareness of important public health trends, such as new patterns of racial and ethnic differences. States and communities develop strategies to promote awareness and improve the identification of ASD based on expert reports. Changes to their estimations magnify the importance of equitable diagnostics, treatment, and support services for all children and families struggling with ASD. More research is always required to understand why prevalence continues to change and how identification strategies in all communities are best applied.

Autism Statistics Reflect Some Groups More Impacted Than Previous Years

In addition, the Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring (ADDM) Network found the percentage of 8-year-old children identified with ASD was higher among Asian or Pacific Islander (A/PI), Hispanic, and Black children compared to White children.

The current breakdown is 33.4 A/PI, 31.6 Hispanic, 29.3 Black, and 24.3 White (per 1,000 children). However, the new findings may reflect improvements in ASD awareness, identification, and access to expanded community services.

Although progress is apparent in identifying ASD among children of all races and ethnicities, concerns have risen over the percentage of Black children with ASD who also have an intellectual disability (ID), which is now 50.8% among 8-year-olds. This percentage (consistent with previous reports from the ADDM Network) is higher than White (31.8%) or Hispanic (34.9%).

ABA Centers of America – Your Resource for ALL Autism News

A diagnosis of autism can happen to anyone, regardless of economic or social status. For this year’s World Autism Month, we want everyone to reflect on all the positives of an autism diagnosis and stress the importance of ABA therapy, the gold standard for autism care, for anyone on the spectrum.

If you or someone you know has a child showing signs of autism, our trained ABA therapy specialists are available to help! At ABA Centers of America, we take the time and effort to provide a comprehensive treatment plan tailored to each child’s unique needs. Contact us today for more information regarding our ABA therapy services and ask about our free evaluation.

And visit this page frequently to stay current on any additional news and updates. The CDC, ADDM Network, and other such organizations will continue to monitor the number and characteristics of children with ASD over time. ABA Centers of America will continue to report their findings to benefit our clients and communities.