The CDC’ autism prevalence estimates are probably the most quoted values. Not too long ago, the estimate was 1 in 166. Then 1 in 150. About a year ago, the estimate was revised to 1 in 100.
But, these numbers are estimates. And, more importantly, these estimates spam a wide range. Autism prevalence estimates vary by state and by ethnicity.
The state with the highest prevalence estimate is New Jersey. A team in New Jersey has analyzed the most recent data for the relationship on factors such as race/ethnicity and household income.
What did they find? Kids from high income families are twice as likely to get an autism designation as kids from less affluent areas.
The prevalence estimate in wealthy areas? 17 per 1000. Or 1 in 59.
Background: In 2007 the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported a higher prevalence of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in New Jersey, one of the wealthiest states in the United States, than in other surveillance regions. Objective: To examine the association of socioeconomic status (SES) with ASD prevalence. Methods: Information on eight-year-olds with ASD from four counties was abstracted from school and medical records. US Census 2000 provided population and median household income data. Results: 586 children with ASD were identified: autism prevalence was 10.2/1000, higher in boys than girls (16 vs. 4/1000); higher in white and Asian non-Hispanics than in black non-Hispanics and Hispanics (12.5, 14.0, 9.0, and 8.5/1000, respectively); and higher (17.2/1000 (95% CI 14.0-21.1)) in tracts with median income >US$90,000 than in tracts with median income ?US$30,000 (7.1 (95% CI 5.7-8.9)). Number of professional evaluations was higher, and age at diagnosis younger, in higher income tracts (p < .001), but both measures spanned a wide overlapping range in all SES levels. In multivariable models race/ethnicity did not predict ASD, but the prevalence ratio was 2.2 (95% CI 1.5-3.1) when comparing highest with lowest income tracts. Conclusions: In the US state of New Jersey, ASD prevalence is higher in wealthier census tracts, perhaps due to differential access to pediatric and developmental services.