Figure from Spectrum News.
A new estimate found that the prevalence of autism has risen from about 1 in 59 children (cited by the CDC in April 2018) to 1 in every 40 children. Two separate studies, both published earlier this week, found this to be the case (Kogan et al., 2018; Xu et al., 2018). One speculation that researchers made for this jump in prevalence is that these recent surveys were completed by parents, which may produce higher estimates than other methods, and that proof of diagnosis was not required. Both studies also acknowledge that autism prevalence varies significantly by state, as seen in the above figure from Spectrum News.
Please follow these links to the referenced articles, as well as a Spectrum News article that covers this development in greater depth, if you’d like to learn more.
Kogan, M., Vladutiu, C., Schieve, L., Ghandour, R., Blumberg, S., Zaboltsky, B., … Lu, M. (2018). The prevalence of parent-reported Autism Spectrum Disorder among U.S. children. Pediatrics, 142(6). doi: 10.1542/peds.2017-4161
Xu, G., Strathearn, L., Liu, B., O’Brien, M., Kopelman, T., Zhu, J., … Bao, W. (2018). Prevalence and treatment of patterns of autism spectrum disorder in the United States, 2016. JAMA Pediatrics. Published online December 03, 2018. doi: 10/1001/jamapediatrics.2018.4208
link to Kogan et al. study: http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/cgi/pmidlookup?view=long&pmid=30478241
link to Xu et al. study: https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamapediatrics/fullarticle/2716402
link to Spectrum article: https://www.spectrumnews.org/news/national-surveys-estimate-u-s-autism-prevalence-1-40/
link to Disability Scoop article: https://www.disabilityscoop.com/2018/12/04/second-study-1-in-40-autism-rate/25782/