About one in every 100 U.S. children has a condition on the autism spectrum, which is a higher rate than previous government estimates, according to an Oct. 5 article in the journal Pediatrics.
Increased awareness about autism and better diagnostic methods may help explain this increase, the article says. A previous, 2007 estimate put the rate at one in 150 children.
The new numbers stem from the 2007 National Survey of Children’s Health, which was based on a telephone survey examining 78,037 children ages 3 to 17. Parents reported autism spectrum disorders in about 110 per 10,000 children, with an estimated total of 673,000 U.S. children having an ASD.
The study found disparities in diagnosis. The chances of having an ASD were four times as large for boys as for girls. Non-Hispanic black and multiracial children had lower odds of an ASD than non-Hispanic white children.
Also, about 40 percent of those initially diagnosed with an ASD did not currently have the condition. Non-Hispanic black children were more likely than non-Hispanic white children not to have a current ASD, the article says.
A version of this news article first appeared in the On Special Education blog.