The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) conducts ongoing investigations and surveillance activities in selected communities and states to document increases and possible causative factors of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Recent studies estimate that an average of 1 in 88 children in the United States have an ASD. ASDs are reported to occur in all racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic groups. ASDs have been found to be almost 5 times more common among boys than girls. However, more information is needed on less studied populations and regions of the world. Up-to-date prevalence data can be found on the CDC's Autism Data & Statistics Web page.
On March 30, 2012, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released data on the prevalence of Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs), suggesting that 1 in 88 children in the U.S. has been identified with an ASD (1 in 54 for boys and 1 in 252 girls). The estimate is based on data collected during 2008. It marks a 23% increase since the previous report published in 2009 and a 78% increase since the first report published in 2007. The largest increases over time were among Hispanic children (110%) and black children (91%). The researchers suggest that some of this may be due to greater awareness and better identification among these groups; however this would only explain part of the increase. Read the March 30, 2012 Morbidity and Mortality Weekly (MMWR) Report (61(SS03);1-19) and the related community report.
On October 5, 2009, the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) published data on parental report of autism from the National Survey of Children’s Health, indicating that approximately 1 in every 100 children may be affected with an ASD. See Prevalence of Parent-Reported Diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder Among Children in the US, 2007. These findings, as well as findings from the Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring (ADDM) Network were addressed in an official CDC Statement on Autism Data (October 5, 2009). The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) also released a document for parents about the results the survey, entitled The Prevalence of Autism Spectrum Disorders (October 2009).
The CDC's MMWR Weekly Surveillance Summaries for February 9, 2007 featured three reports on prevalence of autism spectrum disorders:
The CDC's MMWR Weekly for May 5, 2006 featured a report entitled Mental Health in the United States: Parental Report of Diagnosed Autism in Children Aged 4-17 years: United States, 2003-2004, which summarizes an analysis of two nationally representative surveys on parental report autism, the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) and the National Survey of Children's Health (NSCH).
The California Department of Developmental Services's Autism Web site includes the following reports issued to the CA Legislature: (1) Autistic Spectrum Disorders: Changes in the California Caseload (An Update: June 1987 – June 2007); and (2) Epidemiology Report of Autism in California (2002).