CDC: Autism Rate Going Up

CDC: Autism Rate Going Up

Story Highlights

  • A new CDC report revealed that one in 59 eight-year-old children in the U.S. are have autism spectrum disorder (ASD).
  • Public health officials said that better identification of ASD among minority children may explain the increase.
  • Other researchers maintain the reported increase in prevalence of ASD among all children reflects a real increase in the once rare but now common brain and immune system disorder.

A report released by the U.S Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in April 2018 revealed that in 2014,  one in 59 eight-year-old children across 11 communities in the United States were identified as having autism spectrum disorder (ASD).1 This latest official CDC estimate for prevalence of ASD among children is higher than for the years 2010 and 2012, when one in 68 children the same age were identified by CDC officials as having ASD.2 3

The CDC’s latest autism prevalence estimates are based on data collected in the agency’s Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring Network (ADDM)—a tracking system that is used to calculate the prevalence of ASD among 300,000 eight-year-old children in 14 U.S. communities.4 ADDM is an autism tracking system that was created after authorization and funding by Congress in 2000 and is operated by the CDC using health and education records.3 5 

Previous CDC reports on the prevalence of ASD were solely based on health records, but the most recent report includes data collected from education reports in states that allowed it, with the aim of capturing a more accurate estimate of the prevalence of ASD.6

In 2013, the National Center for Health Statistics (NCES) released an independent report with a similar estimate for the prevalence of parent-reported ASD in school aged children aged six to 17 years old for the years 2007 through 2011/2012. Parents responding to a national telephone survey were asked whether their children had ever been diagnosed with ASD and results of that survey yielded a prevalence estimate of 1 in 50 children affected with autism.7

Explanations Vary for Autism Increases in the U.S.

According to a press release by the CDC, the increase in prevalence of ASD can be partly attributed to improved identification of autism among minority child populations.3 In the 2012 report, Caucasian children were diagnosed with autism 50 percent more often than Hispanic children and 20 percent more often than African American children. In 2014, these figures changed significantly. Caucasion children were 20 percent more likely to be diagnosed than Hispanic children and 10 percent more likely than African American children.8

Antonio Harden, MD, director of the Autism and Developmental Disabilities Clinic in Stanford, California explained that in the “surveys from previous years there was significant underrepresentation of minorities, especially in black and Hispanic populations.”4 He adds, “This report shows significant improvement in the way things are being tallied.4

Stuart Shapiro, MD, PhD, associate director for science at CDC’s National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities said, “Autism prevalence among black and Hispanic children is approaching that of white children.”3 He adds, “The higher number of black and Hispanic children now being identified with autism could be due to more effective outreach in minority communities and increased efforts to have all children screened for autism so they can get the services they need.”3

 The CDC report pointed out that the inclusion of education records and some changes in the geographic surveillance area could possibly also have contributed to the increase in the autism rate.1 4 The report also cautioned that the rate of autism is not representative of the entire country since the 11 communities surveyed in the report represent approximately eight percent of eight-year-old children in the U.S.3

Is the ASD Increase Simply a Result of Better Reporting?

The CDC’s report implied that reported ASD increases are simply due to more accurate identification, diagnosis and reporting. Although some experts believe that this is more than likely the reason behind the reported increase of ASD, they also do acknowledge that it is not possible to know this for certain.4 The higher rate could also indeed mean that more children in the U.S. are developing autism.

Dr. Harden states:

There were two reports in 2010 and 2012 that made us feel that the prevalence rates were leveling off; one in 59 is a little bit higher than the previous one. People in the field do not believe that there is an increase in cases or that the incidence is higher. People feel, including myself, that there is an increase in recognition, particularly in minority populations.4

CDC’s epidemiologist Daisy Christensen, PhD also stated that she believes the latest autism prevalence rate is due to better reporting, but noted that, “We can’t rule out an increase in risk or a change in risk factors among children who are ascertained by our surveillance network.”4

Spinning ASD Prevalence Increases

Escalating increases in the prevalence of autism, which was once a rare brain and immune system disorder that is now common among children, should be taken seriously. In the 1990’s, autism prevalence estimates ranged from one in 2,500 to one in 1,000 children.9 By 2000, the CDC estimated ASD prevalence was one in 150 children and, by 2006, it had increased to one in 110 children.10

However, some autism advocates maintain that the CDC’s recent report on autism increases among minority children represents progress.4 6 Allison Singer, president of the Autism Science Foundation told USA Today that identification of ASD among minority children has positive implications in providing minority families with better access to services.11

CDC officials have expressed similar sentiments, arguing that the increase in identification of minority children with ASD reflected in the latest ASD prevalence report is important because children identified with ASD earlier in life are more likely to access services earlier and have more opportunities to reach their full potential.3

In their latest report, CDC officials stated:

With prevalence of ASD reaching nearly 3% in some communities and representing an increase of 150% since 2000, ASD is an urgent public health concern that could benefit from enhanced strategies to help identify ASD earlier; to determine possible risk factors; and to address the growing behavioral, educational, residential and occupational needs of this population.”1

Normalizing or Prevention?

Early diagnosis of ASD is crucial to provide timely and appropriate services to those in need. However, it should be equally urgent for public health officials to resist normalizing continuing autism increases.

All avenues for research into the causes of autism should be considered, including well-designed studies to investigate persistent reports that healthy children are developing autism following vaccination. When preventing autism becomes the focus of public health policies, fewer children will be in need of services.


1 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Prevalence of Autism Spectrum Disorder Among Children Aged 8 Years — Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring Network, 11 Sites, United States, 2014. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report 2018; 67(6): 1-23.
2 CDC. Prevalence and Characteristics of Autism Spectrum Disorder Among Children Aged 8 Years — Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring Network, 11 Sites, United States, 2012. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report 2016; 65(3): 1-23.
3 CDC. ASD: Data and Statistics. Apr. 26, 2018.
4 CDC. Autism prevalence slightly higher in CDC’s ADDM Network. Apr. 26, 2018.
5 CDC. Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring Network (ADDM). Apr. 24, 2018.
6 Upham B. New CDC Report Finds That the Autism Rate in the US Is Increasing.
7 lumberg SJ, Bramlett MD, Kogan MD et al. Changes in Prevalence of Parent-reported Autism Spectrum Disorder in School-aged U.S. Children: 2007 to 2011-2013. National Health Statistics Reports Mar. 20, 2013.
8 Sykes M. The Complicated Reasons Autism Rates Are Still On the Rise. Apr. 27, 2018.
9  Yeargh-Allsopp M. Past and future perspectives in autism epidemiologyMolecular Psychiatry 2002; 7: S9-S11. 
10  CDC. Prevalence of Autism Spectrum Disorders – Autism and Developmental Disorders Monitoring Network, United States, 2006. MMWR Dec. 18, 2009; 58(SS-10).
11  Weintraub K. Autism Rates Continue to Climb, And Experts Don’t Know Exactly Why. USA Today Apr. 26, 2018.

23 Responses to "CDC: Autism Rate Going Up"

  1. Catherine Walters   May 29, 2018 at 9:21 am

    I think that levels of autism today are akin to an epidemic. Research into the prevention of autism should be given top priority. The costs of autism is huge both medically, in our education system, and in society. There is going to be a huge percentage of young people today who won’t be able to function as independent adults. Our children our the future and their health should be given top priority. Our environment is poisoning them in the name of corporate profits and it needs to be stopped.

    • Chris   May 29, 2018 at 4:58 pm

      Yes. If it were a bacteria or a virus, the CDC would be all over it. It is alarming and epidemic.

  2. Jim Keith   May 29, 2018 at 9:37 am

    I guess that Stephanie Seneff, PhD of MIT may have been correct in estimating that one in two children will have ASD by 2025……and NOTHING is being done about it…

  3. Andrea   May 29, 2018 at 9:51 am

    I call BS! Common sense says more vaccines = more autism. These companies and doctors that push these shots are evil!!
    Can’t people see this connection?!
    We are a nation of sheep.

    • Camielle   July 27, 2018 at 10:02 am

      I agree with you. Americans are like sheep. They don’t know they were given brains to be able to think for themselves. Just whatever is in front of them, they trot closely behind, never questioning anything. Don’t know if it’s sad or ignorant. Wake up folks and do the research. I read somewhere that cancer is referred to as the cancer industry?????

  4. Tanya   May 29, 2018 at 10:05 am

    Nitpicking, spinning over 2014, what about the last 4 years? Why dont we have access to the real data? The “data mines” are the records in all of the Pediatric offices. Is it HIPPA that prevents this? Can’t that data be released without releasing the name or the identity of the child? Simply for the sake of knowing the truth? Real numbers across the United States? And what about young adults developing autism as they continue to vaccinate following the CDC schedule? And the military is another data mine. When my son was vaccinated and injured in the United States Marine Corps during boot camp his commanding officer called me and said, “Maam, we expect 25% of the troops to drop with their vaccines.”

    • Aubrey Enoch   June 1, 2018 at 5:31 pm

      The purpose of all the medical privacy regulation is to make it easier to hide what is really occurring in US health care system. Medical mistake kill 250,000 a year and we hear nothing about it. 12 people die of Ebola and OMG.

  5. Randolph   May 29, 2018 at 10:19 am

    What were the medical models / tests in the past as opposed to now that made the identification of autism in the past so difficult?

  6. Anna Justice   May 29, 2018 at 10:19 am

    quote: ”People in the field do not believe that there is an increase in cases or that the incidence is higher. People feel..there is an increase in recognition..”

    That may or may not be true, but we all know that this small sampling does not clearly represent the real count either. These are just the cases that are ‘recognized’, reported and included in the statistic. The REAL number is likely much higher.
    Even more concerning is: What will happen to our country when this brain damaged generation reaches adulthood? Who will speak for them? Who will take care of them?
    The autism epidemic is a serious economic and cultural crisis that effects the entire country.

    • Bob   May 30, 2018 at 5:05 am

      Anna, you ask a very good question: Who will take care of them? This applies to the growing number of Alzheimer patients, as well. Between Autism and Alzheimers, the country will have to devote more funds to these people who can’t care for themselves. Every annual flu vaccination contributes to the number of elderly who will join the ranks of those disabled just as the young are being sidelined by their massive vaccine schedules. We will all pay for this in our taxes.

  7. Jeanne picotte   May 29, 2018 at 12:30 pm

    Simple don’t ever vaccinate!

  8. Patrice   May 29, 2018 at 1:05 pm

    This is the story of my own son who went on to develop Autism and Seizures just before his 3rd Birthday about a week after his Pertussis booster shot. His seizure disorder worsened every year until it eventually took his life at the age of 17.
    Why must so many families be subjected to this devastating life changing condition. There are more children today getting Autism than these vaccines help!
    Profits over our children’s lives needs to stop now. No more victims, no more loss of life.
    We need to keep fighting this corruption and make the world a safer place for our children. This is unacceptable!
    What kind of future does a Nation have when 1 in 50 adults will have Autism after this generation becomes adults.
    This has got to stop!

  9. kapoore   May 29, 2018 at 1:26 pm

    There is absolutely an increase in autism. Every time I go out in public I see an autistic child. It’s heartbreaking. They are everywhere. Recently I went to a wedding and at first it looked like there were no affected kids, that is, blatantly different in mannerisms. But as the night wore on I saw a couple of kids who had autistic gestures and seemed in a world of their own. It’s that common.

    • Joseph S. Carrilho   June 3, 2018 at 9:03 pm

      Big Pharma lobbyists (BRIBERS) spend more in DC than any other entity.
      Twice as much as ‘oil & gas’ which spends twice as much as military,

      There ought to be a “special” vaccine for these CRIMINALS which is made out of lead; oh,there already is one, that is why “they” want to destroy the second amendment.

      These evil fuuks are earning some bad karma, very bad indeed.

  10. Shannon Hanaway   May 29, 2018 at 3:26 pm

    It most certainly is an epidemic when you think that a whole generation of children have been damaged by vaccinations.
    CDC is making money from vaccinations, they are not about to kill this case cow. Plus they were given freedom from prosecution-no liability-for loss or harm, given graciously by our bought and paid for legislators. These legislators are paid money as well to vote in favor of keeping the vaccine machine moving forward and certainly to vote against any investigation into the “cause of this epidemic”.

  11. Abby Beale   May 29, 2018 at 4:04 pm

    Have you seen the new documentary called The Magic Pill?? Watch it and you’ll be amazed at the children that are featured who have autism and the great strides they make in five weeks with just diet.

    Gotta fix what’s going in to fix what’s coming out!

    • Siobhan Justin   June 6, 2018 at 8:39 pm

      I’m watching The Magic Pill now. thanks for sharing

  12. ant   May 29, 2018 at 4:49 pm

    the hole vaccine question could change in one day if the vaccine companies could be sued it court like other companies take away the immunity from law suits the change then will over night

    the then will not need to cover the increased vaccine schedule of many more shots at once this is needed to cover the now lower of thermisol per shot
    less than .05 ppm is not the same as NO thermisol
    .05 x 4 shot a once now your right back up to the same level of mercury preservative.
    See we lowered the level of mercury preservative and no change in the increasing autism rate
    it cant be the company’s fault!!!

  13. Cinda Wood   May 30, 2018 at 4:39 am

    Recent testing shows roundup is also in vaccines and Dr Seneff from MIT has shown the increase correlates with increase use of roundup in agriculture.

    I tested some of her discoveries and my granddaughter went from .9 to 2.4 in four months following her suggestions. .9 means not ready for first grade yet she had gone to first grade for 2 years and was starting second at .9.

  14. Dorothy Kearney   May 30, 2018 at 1:11 pm

    A couple of cases of measles and it is labeled epidemic, so more vaccines are mandated. Then we get more autistic children. I am scared to death because the experts point out how prevalent it is but will in no way tie it to vaccines. It is like a world wide cover-up or a conspiracy to destroy humanity.

  15. Jeanette   May 31, 2018 at 9:30 am

    It seems as though Big Pharma is out to eliminate The United States of America. While many European countries are scaling back vaccination, the USA is pushing for mandatory vaccination for everyone. What are we going to do when receiving our Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security…depends on proof of vaccination like our children and school attendance. This matter should concern every human being. At this rate we are already doomed unless Euthanasia is the plan. Thank you Bill Gates you’re getting what you wanted “zero carbon footprint”. We will not be able to afford the care of all the Neurologically damaged people even with the largest economy on the planet. Think about it. Wake Up America!!!!!

  16. Ruth   May 31, 2018 at 3:12 pm

    Profits over People. That’s the primary objective of this sickening, man-made epidemic. Slightly off-topic, but still closely related to the hidden agenda of poisoning the minds of our children, is the eye-opening book, “The Deliberate Dumbing Down of America”. It is an in-depth look at the atrocities that have been taking place to sabotage our educational system, as a means to create subservient citizens, socially engineered starting from childhood. It is no wonder the American educational system is experiencing increasing numbers of Special Education students. It has all been done by design for far more sinister reasons than we can imagine.

  17. Denis   May 31, 2018 at 6:55 pm

    Big Pharma makes a ton of money with all these vaccinations. Governments approves these vaccinations because the big pharma lobby has convinced our politicians to support vaccinations by donating BIG DOLLARS to the politicians election coffers. Big Pharma makes tons of BUCKS by keeping us sick but never curing our ailments.


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