“A new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows the rates and demographics of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are changing in the United States.

In the latest analysis, 1 in 36 8-year-old children (2.8%) have been identified as having ASD. This figure is higher than the previous estimate published in December 2021, which found a prevalence of 1 in 44 (2.3%) children, and considerably higher than the CDC’s first autism prevalence report published in 2007 noting a prevalence of 1 in 150 (0.7%).

Prevalence estimates also differed across the 11 data collection sites, ranging from 1 in 43 children (2.3%) in Maryland, to 1 in 22 (4.5%) in California. A second report examined 4-year-old children in the same 11 communities and found similarly high rates of autism (2.2%) in the network overall, and 4.6% in California in particular.

The findings were published on March 23, 2023 in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) Surveillance Summaries. All data were collected in 2020 by the Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring (ADDM) Network, a program funded by the CDC to better understand the number and characteristics of children with ASD in the United States. The network surveys 8-year-old and 4-year-old children in 11 communities across Arizona, Arkansas, California, Georgia, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, New Jersey, Tennessee, Utah and Wisconsin. The California ADDM site is based at UC San Diego and reports on ASD within San Diego County.”

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