03 May

When 1 in 88 is Really 1 in 29

Submitted By Leah


In 2007 The CDC announced that autism affected 1 in 150 children in the United States. What the CDC failed to make clear to the general public is that the numbers they reported in 2007 were actually from data collected in 2002. The numbers were five years old. After the 2007 announcement from the CDC, Raymond W. Gallup and F. Edward Yazbak, M.D. FAAP wrote an article titled, “When 1 in 150 is Really 1 in 67.” As the authors of that article explained, the data reported in 2007 involved 8 year-old children who were born in 1994.

Last week The CDC announced that autism now affects 1 in 88 children (1 in 54 boys) in the United States. True to form, The CDC failed to make it clear that the numbers they reported on March 29, 2012 were from data collected in 2008. The numbers are four years old. The CDC also failed to mention that their number of 1 in 88 reflects their calculation of autism for 8 year-old children who are enrolled in the Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring (ADDM) Network. This study monitors the rate of autism among children in 14 communities in the United States. The following map of the United States shows the states (in blue) where ADDM data is collected. However, please realize that even though the STATES are colored in blue, the data is only collected from very specific areas within each state. I think this is a little misleading, but then, we’re talking about The CDC so what can you expect?

States where ADDM data was collected for the year 2008 – reported March 29, 2012.


When I look at the map above, the first thing I notice is that the information used to estimate the autism rate was gathered from states that, according to IDEA data, do not have the highest rates of autism. Again… It just seems that if The CDC really wanted to know the true extent of the autism epidemic (or really wanted to report it accurately), they would look at the areas where the rate is known to be the highest. Wouldn’t you think?

The table below shows the autism rate by state, according to the U.S. IDEA data. This is data that is reported by public school systems throughout the U.S. and reflects children who have an autism diagnosis and are receiving intervention services through the school system.

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