After steadily climbing for two decades, the proportion of U.S. children with autism may be leveling off, a recent study suggests.
As of 2016, approximately 2.8% of U.S. children from 3 to 17 years old had autism spectrum disorders (ASD), researchers report online January 2 in JAMA. While that’s up slightly from about 2.2% in 2014, the difference is too small to rule out the possibility that it was due to chance.
Over the three-year study period, about 2.4% of children and teens had ASD, a collection of diagnoses that can include Asperger’s syndrome, autism and other developmental disorders that impact communication and behavior.
Autism is more common in boys, and the current study findings offered fresh evidence of this: 3.6% of boys had this diagnosis, compared with 1.3% of girls.
The study also found differences based on race and ethnicity: 1.8% of Hispanic children had autism, compared with 2.8% of white kids and 2.5% of black youth.