Autism Prevalence Rising Globally
It’s not just the U.S. New research finds that autism prevalence is growing around the world and experts say that shows progress.
Globally, about 100 in 10,000 — or 1 in 100 — children are diagnosed with autism, according to a study published recently in the journal Autism Research.
That’s up from an estimate of 62 in 10,000 a decade ago.
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The latest figures are based on a review of 99 prevalence estimates from 34 countries.
Dr. Andy Shih, chief science officer at Autism Speaks and a co-author of the new study, said that the findings show efforts to improve autism awareness are paying off.
“The increase in autism prevalence around the world reflects in part the impact of public health efforts to raise global awareness of autism spectrum disorder,” Shih said. “Since 2012, many regions have also made significant strides in case identification, diagnosis and capacity to serve the autistic community.”
The studies analyzed for the review varied considerably in size — ranging from 465 participants to 50 million — and they resulted in prevalence estimates from 1.09 in 10,000 to 436 in 10,000. Most of the studies were conducted in the U.S. and Northern Europe, but the findings include an increasing amount of research coming out of previously underrepresented regions like Africa and the Middle East, the researchers indicated.
Overall, the review found that around the world boys are four times more likely than girls to have autism and the median percentage of autism cases with co-occurring intellectual disability was 33%.
In the U.S., the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 1 in 44 children, or 2.3%, have autism. That number has grown tremendously since 2000 when the agency pegged the rate at 1 in 150.
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