• Approximately 1 in 68 children has been identified with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) according to estimates from CDC's Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring (ADDM) Network.

  • ASD is approximately 4.5 times more common among boys (1 in 42) than among girls (1 in 189).


  • ​ASD occurs in all racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic groups.

  • Studies across North America, Europe, and Asia have identified individuals with ASD with an average prevalence of between 1% and 2%.

  • ASD tends to occur more often in people who have certain genetic or chromosomal conditions. About 10% of children with autism are also identified as having Down syndrome  or other genetic and chromosomal disorders. 

  • Parents who have a child with ASD have roughly a 2%–18% chance of having a second child who is also affected.

  • According to studies among identical twins, if one child has ASD, then the other will be affected about 36-95% of the time. In non-identical twins, if one child has ASD, then the other is affected about 0-31% of the time.

  • Children born to older parents are at a higher risk for having ASD.

  • Approximately 44% of children identified with ASD has average to above average intellectual ability.

  • A small percentage of children who are born prematurely or with low birth weight are at greater risk for having ASD.

  • ASD commonly co-occurs with other developmental, psychiatric, neurologic, chromosomal, and genetic diagnoses. The co-occurrence of one or more non-ASD developmental diagnoses is approximately 83%. The co-occurrence of one or more psychiatric diagnoses is approximately 10%.

  • Research has shown that a diagnosis of autism at age 2 can be reliable, valid, and stable.

  • Even though ASD can be diagnosed as early as age 2 years, most children are not diagnosed with ASD until after age 4 years.

  • The average age of first diagnosis by subtype is: ASD - 3 years, 10 months; Pervasive Developmental Disorder-Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS) - 4 years, 1 month; Asperger disorder - 6 years, 2 months.

  • Studies show that parents of children with ASD usually notice a developmental problem before their child's first birthday. Concerns about vision and hearing were more often reported in the first year, and differences in social, communication, and fine motor skills become evident from about 6 months of age.

  • Estimated total costs per year for children with ASD in the United States is between $11.5 billion - $60.9 billion. This represents a variety of direct and in-direct costs, from medical care to special education to lost parental productivity.

  • Estimated average annual medical costs for Medicaid-enrolled children with ASD is $10,709 per child, which is roughly six times higher than costs for children without ASD ($1,812).

  • In addition to medical costs, intensive behavioral interventions for children with ASD cost $40,000 to $60,000 per child per year.

  • Approximately 53.4 % of the young adults on the autism spectrum surveyed had ever worked for pay outside the home within the first eight years after leaving high school.

  • Only about one in five (20.9%) young adults with ASD work full-time at a current or most-recent job.

  • Estimated 79.1% of young adults with ASD reside in the parental home for longer time periods than peers with other disabilities, which requires family-based services in the years following high school.  

  • It is estimated that in the next decade, 500,000 children with autism will come of age.

  • There are approximately between 1 and 1.5 million autistic adults in the country today.

  • Approximately 56% of people with autism graduate from high school.

  • Among high school graduates with autism, approximately 18% become employed, and 14% attend college; the majority participate in day services, and 12% have no outside activities.


  • The unemployment rate for those with autism is somewhere between 66% and 85%, compared to about 9% for the general population.




Centers for Disease Control & Prevention


Drexel Now


Current General Facts and Understanding Related to Autism Spectrum Disorder:

Prevalence, Characteristics, Contributing Factors, Diagnosis,

Economic Costs, Employment, and Housing

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