In The Politics of Autism, I discuss evaluation, diagnosis, and the uncertainty of prevalence estimates.
Zablotsky B, Ng AE, Black LI, Blumberg SJ. Diagnosed developmental disabilities in children aged 3–17 years: United States, 2019–2021. NCHS Data Brief, no 473. Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics. 2023. DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.15620/cdc:129520.
Data from the National Health Interview Survey:
Developmental disabilities are common in children in the United States, and the prevalence has increased in recent years (1). Timely estimates are necessary to assess the adequacy of services and interventions that children with developmental disabilities typically need (2). This report provides updated prevalence estimates for diagnosed autism spectrum disorder, intellectual disability, and other developmental delay among children aged 3–17 years from the 2019–2021 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS), with differences in prevalence examined between years and by sex, age group, and race and Hispanic origin. Estimates are also presented for any developmental disability, defined as having had one or more of these three diagnoses.
- During 2019–2021, the prevalence of any diagnosed developmental disability in children aged 3–17 years increased from 7.40% to 8.56%.
- The prevalence of any developmental disability was lowest in non-Hispanic Asian children compared with other race and Hispanic-origin groups.
- The prevalence of intellectual disability increased with age, while the prevalence of other developmental delay decreased with age.
- Boys (4.66%) were more than three times as likely as girls (1.50%) to be diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder.
Figure 3. Prevalence of children aged 3–17 years ever diagnosed with intellectual disability, by sex, age, and race and Hispanic origin: United States, 2019–2021