Increasing autism prevalence in metropolitan New Jersey

Walter Zahorodny, Josephine Shenouda, Sandra Howell, Nancy Scotto Rosato, Bo Peng, Uday Mehta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations

Abstract

High baseline autism spectrum disorder prevalence estimates in New Jersey led to a follow-up surveillance. The objectives were to determine autism spectrum disorder prevalence in the year 2006 in New Jersey and to identify changes in the prevalence of autism spectrum disorder or in the characteristics of the children with autism spectrum disorder, between 2002 and 2006. The cohorts included 30,570 children, born in 1998 and 28,936 children, born in 1994, residing in Hudson, Union, and Ocean counties, New Jersey. Point prevalence estimates by sex, ethnicity, autism spectrum disorder subtype, and previous autism spectrum disorder diagnosis were determined. For 2006, a total of 533 children with autism spectrum disorder were identified, consistent with prevalence of 17.4 per 1000 (95% confidence interval = 15.9-18.9), indicating a significant increase in the autism spectrum disorder prevalence (p < 0.001), between 2002 (10.6 per 1000) and 2006. The rise in autism spectrum disorder was broad, affecting major demographic groups and subtypes. Boys with autism spectrum disorder outnumbered girls by nearly 5:1. Autism spectrum disorder prevalence was higher among White children than children of other ethnicities. Additional studies are needed to specify the influence of better awareness of autism spectrum disorder prevalence estimates and to identify possible autism spectrum disorder risk factors. More resources are necessary to address the needs of individuals affected by autism spectrum disorder.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)117-126
Number of pages10
JournalAutism
Volume18
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 2014
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

Keywords

  • New Jersey
  • autism
  • autism spectrum disorder prevalence
  • developmental disabilities surveillance
  • epidemiology
  • population-based
  • public health monitoring

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