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Autism Rate by State: A Comprehensive Guide

May 22, 2024

With 50 states and 331.9 million people, parents often wonder what the autism rate by state is. Is it even possible to determine it?

Autism Rate by State: A Comprehensive Guide

The variation in the prevalence of the diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in each state can be dependent on ASD resources and knowledge available, among other factors.

Join us as we delve into autism rate by state and uncover the diverse stories that emerge from different corners of the nation.

Autism Rate by State

The autism rate by state in the USA is challenging to determine as it varies and is always changing. The variation in the prevalence of the diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in each state can be dependent on ASD resources and knowledge available, among other factors.

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Which State has the Highest Autism Rate?

One way of determining the answer to this question is through a network comprising a group of programs funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) called the Autism and Developmental Disabilities Network (ADDM).

According to the ADDM Network figures released, California is the state that has the highest prevalence of autism diagnoses, with it being 40+ out of every 1,000 identified children in 2020. 

Which State has the Lowest Autism Rate?

According to data collected by the ADDM network in 2020 and released by the CDC in May 2023, Maryland has the lowest number of children diagnosed with autism. Although the Maryland site reported the lowest prevalence among sites at 1 in 43, it’s still an increase from 2018, when the prevalence was 1 in 49 children.

It is important to note that no research shows living in certain areas will increase the possibility of a child having autism. There are variations, such as how children with autism are identified, how the autism rates are collected and reported, etc. It is also important to note that diagnosis numbers might vary due to different socioeconomic factors in each state.

What is the Prevalence of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) in the US?

According to the CDC and ADDM’s data collected from 11 states across the United States in 2020, the national average of children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) was one in 36.

The prevalence of autism spectrum disorder ranges from year to year and can be collected in different ways. Figures also track how girls and boys are affected, the rate at which they are diagnosed, racial and ethnic differences, and geographical location.

Boys are four times more likely to be diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder than girls. In previous years, non-Hispanic white children were more likely to be diagnosed than non-Hispanic black and Hispanic children, according to data collected by the ADDM.

How this data is collected can be affected by many variables, including stigma, lack of resources, and lack of developmental specialists and other professionals who could properly diagnose children born to underserved ethnicities.

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What Ethnic and Socioeconomic Groups are More Affected by Autism in the US?

According to a 2023 report by the CDC, ASD prevalence among Asian, Hispanic, and Black children was higher than among 8-year-old White children. This is the opposite of racial and ethnic differences observed in previous ADDM reports.

It is believed that these shifts may reflect improved screening, awareness, and access to services among minority communities. With education and outreach, the stigma, lack of healthcare services, and language barriers could no longer be a roadblock, and these children could receive services that help them reach their full potential.

Why is There a Gender Difference Between Children Identified with Autism?

The ADDM network states there is no clear explanation of why the prevalence of autism is higher in boys than girls. One thought is that males may genetically be at a higher risk of being diagnosed with autism.

Another reason for the difference in diagnosis rates could be the different signs and symptoms autism can display regarding gender. Autism is not always as easy to identify when it comes to females. 

What Could Help Alleviate Barriers to ASD Diagnosis?

One reason that the CDC and ADDM do developmental disabilities monitoring is to help with how data can be collected consistently.

When collecting data and representing different people, there isn’t always ample access to services or information. Some underprivileged communities don’t have access to other locations’ information and medical care due to poverty or language barriers.

Having different outreaches and education about autism and how it affects different people could help alleviate some of the barriers to diagnosis. The ADDM is working towards this and launching other resources to collect better data on those affected by autism.

Does it Matter Where You Live?

Where a child is born and where they live should not affect their likelihood of being on the autism spectrum, but it can affect their likelihood of receiving an official diagnosis.

Research by the ADDM suggests some locations offer more autism support than others. These areas may provide more early intervention programs and also have programs that span a lifetime.

The support each state has in place for people with autism can vary. Some places support early diagnosis all the way through to young adults and aging adults.

Families can search to find what services may be available in their area. There are support groups for parents to help them navigate the autism journey.

Autism Diagnosis: Where to Start?

Talking to a pediatrician or family doctor is a good first start. The CDC states that there are programs that are trying to make medical access easier for individuals to get and maintain.

The medical professional should be able to point a family or individual toward getting questions answered and start assessments and treatments necessary for autism.

Also, finding local support groups can help. There will be other parents and caregivers who have someone in their life with autism who can give helpful advice.

The amount of autism information out there can seem endless. Support, consistency, access, education, and community can help families navigate through diagnosis and the needs associated with autism.

Autism Rate by State: A Comprehensive Guide


In conclusion, autism rates vary significantly from state to state due to many factors, including diagnostic criteria, healthcare access, and awareness efforts. 

Understanding these variations is crucial for policymakers, healthcare professionals, and families affected by autism. This knowledge can help communities better allocate resources, provide support, and advocate for individuals on the spectrum.


Q: How is autism diagnosed in different states?

A: Autism diagnosis can vary by state, with some using stricter criteria than others. It’s essential to consult with healthcare professionals for accurate assessments.

Q: Are there regional differences in autism support services?

A: There can be significant regional differences in the availability of support services for individuals with autism. It’s essential to research resources in your specific area.

Q: What can parents do to support a child with autism?

A: Parents can seek early intervention services, educational support and connect with local autism support groups for guidance and assistance.

Q: Do autism rates change over time in the same state?

A: Autism rates can change over time due to various factors, including increased awareness and changes in diagnostic practices.

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