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Autism Statistics Information

This growing awareness of the disease has led to an increase in information and support available to parents. So what are the latest autism statistics?

Who is affected

Talk About Curing Autism (TACA) has prepared a summary of the latest statistics from the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and reports that approximately 1 million people in the United States have autism. About 1 in 150 children are diagnosed with autism. Because boys are diagnosed more often than girls, this translates to 1 in 94 men.

Every 20 minutes, a new case of autism is diagnosed; approximately 24,000 new cases are diagnosed each year. In the state of California, approximately 7 out of 10 children diagnosed with autism are under the age of 14.

Economic impact and financing

The economic impact of autism is estimated at over $90 billion and is expected to more than double over the next decade. It is the fastest growing intellectual disability in America.

How does the diagnosis rate affect funding? In the late 1990s, the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) allocated just $5 million to autism research. Today, NIH funding for autism, which affects 1 in 150 people, is $15 million. By comparison, leukemia, which occurs in 1 in 25,000 children, receives $300 million in research funding. Muscular dystrophy, which affects 1 in 20,000 people, receives $160 million; cystic fibrosis, which affects 1 in 5,000 people, receives $75 million; and juvenile diabetes, which affects 1 in 500 people, receives $140 million.

Increase diagnostics

According to David Kirby, author of Evidence of Harm, in the 1980s, 1 to 2 out of every 10,000 children in the United States were diagnosed with autism. This number rose to 20 per 10,000 by the end of the 1990s. In 2000, the number rose to 40 per 10,000, and in 2004, it rose again to 60 per 10,000.

The cause of the increase is under debate

Researchers don’t know if this increase is due to an actual increase in cases or better diagnosis. One argument against the increasing diagnostic accuracy is that the diagnosis rates for Down syndrome, cystic fibrosis, and mental retardation have remained the same.

Whatever the reason for the increase in numbers, cases of autism in the United States are on the rise, and funding for research does not appear to have kept up with this increase. CDC Director Dr. Julie Gerberding notes that “”Our estimates are improving and becoming more consistent, although we cannot yet tell if there is a true increase in [autism spectrum disorders] or whether the changes are the result of our best studies. We know, however, that these disorders affect too many children.”

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