Increase in number of people living with autism fastest in areas of poverty

Census figures confirm earlier estimates on prevalence of the developmental disorder, and the sharpest growth was in areas of high poverty The rate of autism has risen fastest in areas of poverty, according to…

Increase in number of people living with autism fastest in areas of poverty

Census figures confirm earlier estimates on prevalence of the developmental disorder, and the sharpest growth was in areas of high poverty

The rate of autism has risen fastest in areas of poverty, according to new statistics from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

And the largest increases have been seen in metropolitan areas of cities such as Los Angeles, Milwaukee, San Francisco and Philadelphia, and in communities in Alaska, where as many as 30 children are diagnosed with autism each day.

An estimated 1 in 44 US children are currently living with the condition, according to CDC data released Wednesday. That’s an increase of 2.5% between 2006 and 2014. The rise is particularly notable in communities with very high poverty rates.

The CDC has revised its earlier estimates, released in 2014, to show higher rates among children under five. The most recent figures were higher than the 2014 estimates, and show one in 68 US children is now living with autism, a growth of 23.2% since 2006.

The CDC also released data on the increasing age of diagnosis. In 2014, almost four times as many children were identified with autism at the age of five as were identified by age two in 2006. The sharpest age-of-diagnosis growth was in metropolitan areas, in areas of high poverty.

These figures are based on data from the CDC’s population based surveillance system, which collects and uses health information about 30,000 children. The data was used to make a comparison of two earlier estimates: the National Vital Statistics System’s Monitoring of Behavioral and Genetic Inclusion and Adverse Childhood Experiences (MAPBGE) Study in the 1990s, and the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) in the early 2000s.

There is no consensus on the precise prevalence of autism. A recent study found children with autism are diagnosed at a rate almost three times higher than the CDC’s own numbers. But this study also found the rate is also higher than the CDC’s estimates, and found diagnoses of autism were nearly double what would be expected based on the official rates for children.

Other studies have found higher rates of autism, and schools and reports have suggested the prevalence of the condition is increasing at faster rates than the global general rate.

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