Autism by Race Statistics

Shocking autism statistics worldwide

The alarming facts about the United States, autism is one of the fastest growing developmental disorders.  What is the chance of having an autistic child? According to the National Institute of Mental Health, on average, 11 out of every 1000 children is diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder.  This is quite alarming, since the average worldwide is 1 out of every 1,000.  Autism is more common in boys (roughly 2 in 100) than in girls (roughly 2 in 500). In USA alone there are more than 2 million individuals are diagnosed with autism.

Ethnicity statistics on autism

Who does autism affect? Autism occurs in all racial, ethnic and cultural groups.  However, the rate of autism among these groups varies as indicated in the graph below.

Prevalence of Autism by Race

Autism occurs in 1 out of every:

140

       

120

 

100

 

80

60

40

20

0

White

Black

Asian

Hispanic

Several survey shows autism rates higher in white children.

One of the biggest reasons why autism appears more frequently in white children is due to diagnosis.  Although schools are vastly improving upon their methods of identifying potential children with special needs, statistically, a greater percentage of white children are assessed and diagnosed than children of other ethnicities.  In fact, according to Psych Central, white students are twice as likely to be identified with Autism Spectrum Disorder than students who are Hispanic.

Are children of African American, Hispanic and Asian being identified?

Research indicates that non-white autistic children tend to be identified at an older age.  Many of these children are first diagnosed with a speech delay, ADHD, conduct disorder or adjustment disorder. For some children, if two different languages are spoken in the home, any communication delay is thought to be a language barrier.  In some cases, parents don’t have the financial or educational resources to have their children assessed prior to starting school.

Early identification of Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD)

Regardless of race, ethnicity or culture, any child suspected of having a disability, especially autism, needs to be assessed and diagnosed as early as possible.  By treating autism early, it can greatly reduce symptoms and increase the child’s ability to learn and adapt to his environment.

5 comments

  1. I didn’t see the statistics on African American children listed. Can you please list or send an email as to those numbers?

    Thank you.

    Nicole Mukes

  2. I had heard that black male children had highest rates of autism. However, your chart shows white kids leading. Do you have a chart showing these rates BEFORE asperger’s syndrome was put into the autism spectrum?

  3. I love all the comments. I actually was thinking the same thing about black boys being disproportionately effected by disorders. Other stat agencies actually did a really good job at this topic, this is a half done job. They barely detailed anything about the populations. I give you a D

  4. The most notable difference isn’t between races. It is between the sexes. According to this article, males are 5 times more likely to be autistic that females. If we put females at 100 on the scale we would put males at 500! This may give some insight into differences in thinking between males and females.

  5. There’s a highly questionable assumption at play in this article that all of the other racial groups identified in the article access healthcare at lower rates than white Americans such that they don’t get their children tested and diagnosed. I think Asians who are outcompeting whites in terms of education and income, and are disproportionately represented in health care would have some things to say about it. Also, there is an assumption that would appear to equate a late diagnosis with no diagnosis. Another assumption that may enjoy some validity (we are certainly testing more for ASD in children currently than in previous decades) is that the explosion in prevalence of ASD is greatly (if not wholly) attributable to increased testing. This assumption sidesteps that ASD comes with a big bag of observable behavioral traits (stereotypy, restricted interests, etc.). If the increase in prevalence numbers is due to testing, and those with significant ASD 50 years ago were simply just thrown in institutions, one would have to explain why these institutions weren’t simply exploding with people if they had similar prevalence rates to today. Anecdotally, most people know several people with autistic children (or “children with cognitive disabilities” as it would have likely been referred in the 70s) where those children were few and far between in the 70s, such that few people had actual contact with people with ASD. Such that a movie called Rain Man brought ASD into the public consciousness for the first time.

    There’s something at work here not addressed by soft, evasive answers and hypotheses, such as those given in this article.

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