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Sunday, May 5, 2024

California Data

O’Sharkey, K., Mitra, S., Paik, Sa. et al. Trends in the Prevalence of Autism Spectrum Disorder in California: Disparities by Sociodemographic Factors and Region Between 1990–2018. J Autism Dev Disord (2024).

Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) prevalence has risen globally, with regional variation and sociodemographic disparities affecting diagnosis and intervention. This study examines ASD trends from 1990 to 2018 in California (CA), focusing on sociodemographic factors that may inform policy/interventions. Using CA Department of Public Health birth records (1990–2018) and Developmental Services ASD cases (1994–2022), we analyzed diagnosis incidence by age 4 or 8, stratified by sociodemographic and regional factors. From 1990 to 2018, for each birth year the cumulative incidence of ASD by 4 and 8 years of age in CA increased while the diagnosis age decreased. Distinct patterns emerged over these three decades. Children born to White and Asian and Pacific Islander (API) mothers, or to mothers with higher education or living in high socioeconomic status (SES) neighborhoods exhibited higher ASD cumulative incidences throughout the 1990s and early 2000s. However, in the mid-2000s, ASD incidence in children born to Black or Hispanic mothers, with low education, or living in low SES neighborhoods surpassed that of White/API children or those living in high SES neighborhoods. Black or Hispanic children now have the highest ASD cumulative incidence, even though age at first diagnosis remains lowest in high SES regions, for the highly educated, and for White/API children. ASD cumulative incidence in CA from 1990 to 2018 exhibited demographic reversals with higher rates in children born to Black or Hispanic mothers or lower SES neighborhoods. Black and Hispanic children still have delayed age at diagnosis compared to White/API children.