One in every 68 children in the U.S. has autism. It is estimated that approximately one million individuals in
the U.S. has autism. Autism compared to other disabilities is the fastest growing developmental disability in
the U.S. today.
This number and the following statistics below do not include: PDD, Asperger’s & other spectrum
disorders. These statistics are endorsed by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), American
Academy of Pediatrics, and other federal agencies.
• A new case of autism is diagnosed nearly every 20 minutes.
• There are 24,000 new cases diagnosed in the U.S. each year.
• The economic impact of autism is more than $90 billion and is expected to more than double in the
• Autism receives less than 5% of the research funding of many less prevalent childhood diseases.
• There is no medical detection or cure for autism.
Autism by the Numbers in the USA
• 1980: 1 to 2 per 10,000 children
• 1990: 1 in 500
• 2000: 1 in 250
• 2004: 1 in 166
• 2009: 1 in 150
The Diagnostic circumstances in USA
Out of 1,300 families surveyed:
• The average age of diagnosis of autism was 6 years of age, despite the fact that most parents felt
something was wrong by 18 months of age
• Less than 10% of children were diagnosed at initial presentation
• 10% were either told to return if their worries persisted, or that their child "would grow out of it"
• The rest were referred to another professional (at a mean age of 40 months); of which:
• 40% were given a formal diagnosis
• 25% were told "not to worry"
• 25% were referred to a third or fourth professional
Some have suggested that autism is just being better diagnosed today versus ten years ago and that many
cases of mental retardation are now being coded as autism. This would also assume that the experts
diagnosing autism before did not know what they were doing.
Boys vs. Girls
Autism strikes boys more often than girls; it is approximately four times more common in boys. Statistics
are 1 in every 150 children will be diagnosed with autism, meaning 1 in every 94 boys will also be diagnosed
In the late 1990’s The National Institutes of Health (NIH) funded $5 million in autism research. Today, NIH
total funding is $29 billion. Only $80 million of the total $29 billion NIH funds only $80 million is distributed
to autism research. This represents 0.28% of the total NIH funding. Much more funding is significantly
How does funding for autism compare to other childhood disorder and Diseases?
• Leukemia 1 in 25,000 funding $310 million
• Muscular Dystrophy 1 in 20,000 funding $175 million
• Pediatric AIDS 1 in 8,000 funding $394 million
• Juvenile Diabetes 1 in 500 funding $130 million
• Autism 1 in 150 funding $42 million
Note: These amounts reflect approximate annual funds raised by major private advocacy groups. It is
important to emphasize we are not suggesting the importance of any one disease over another. The provided
funding information is only meant to demonstrate the variation of funding for autism.