15 Shocking Autism Statistics Worldwide You Probably Didn’t Know


autism statistics worldwide blue puzzle of head with puzzle pieces falling out Middle Class Dad

My wife is a teacher who works with autistic kids, so while she is an expert about autism in the kids she has worked with over the years, we’ve both wondered what the autism statistics worldwide were and how they might differ.

Here’s what we learned:

Autism statistics worldwide tell us that boys get autism 5 times more than girls but boys get Asperger’s only twice as much as girls. The US and Japan have the highest rates of autism, Germany and France have some of the lowest rates of autism.

But that’s just scratching the surface of what we learned.

As parents, nothing can be scarier than finding out there is something “wrong” with our child.

In reality, autism shows up very differently from child to child. It rarely manifests itself the same way. Thus parents of autistic kids often feel very alone and isolated, even in today’s electronically-connected world.

But there is comfort in knowing you’re not alone.

There is also comfort in knowing that many others have faced the challenges you face and come out on top. Even better is there are a lot of people with solutions making the world a better place for autistic kids and their parents.

In this post, we’re going to look at autism rates by country and autism statistics worldwide so you can see just how not alone you truly are.

If you are a parent of a child with autism, one of the scariest things can be letting them out of your site. The company GPS SmartSole (click to learn more on their site) makes shoe inserts you can track on your phone, giving you peace of mind but still letting them be kids.

What country has the most autism?

As you can see in our autism rates worldwide chart, courtesy of statista.com, The US, Canada, and Japan, by far, have some of the highest rates of autism.

Statistic: Prevalence of autism spectrum disorder among children in select countries worldwide as of 2018 (per 10,000 children) | Statista
Find more statistics at Statista

The immediate takeaway here is that autism rates by country are obviously higher in the so-called developed world and much lower in the so-called 3rd world countries.

Germany, Italy, France, and the Netherlands round out the list of countries with the lowest autism rates worldwide according to InsiderMonkey.

Do boys get autism more than girls?

According to a recent study by The National Autistic Society, among the autistic adults they studied, they found a ratio of 3 men to 1 woman. But with the children they studied, they found a much higher ratio of 5 boys to 1 girl.

The CDC has found that boys are 4 times more likely to have autism spectrum disorder than girls.

One of the first people to study autism, Hans Asperger, originally thought that autism spectrum disorder only affected boys. He did later revise his findings though. But clearly, rates of autism do affect boys much more than girls.

Asperger was a pediatrician in Austria in the years leading up to World War II.

Asperger syndrome was named for him by British psychiatrist Lorna Wing in the 1980s. However, Asperger himself is not without controversy as it appears that he did indeed aid the Nazi’s during World War II.

Does what we eat affect the symptoms of autism?

According to Brian Udell, MD, director of the Child Development Center of America, autism is often accompanied by gastrointestinal conditions.

Taken a step further, people on the autism spectrum disorder often have chronic diarrhea, abdominal discomfort and bloating as well as other nutritional issues and food allergies.

While there is currently no cure for autism or specifically recommended treatment, removing certain food items from the diet and taking steps to ensure healthy gut bacteria have been shown to improve the symptoms of autism.

According to the Autism Network, about 25% of autism patients who exclude gluten from their diet find “relief and improvement”.

Other parents have tried removing highly allergic food items such as eggs, fish, nuts, dairy, and soy. The best strategy is to eliminate all items in question from the diet. Then slowly reintroduce them 1 at a time to see the effects.

Healthy eating for all children (click to read my article with my best tips) is essential, but this is even more true for kids with autism.

My article linked above takes my 25 years with Whole Foods Market plus being a father of 3 and condenses that down to my very best tips that are simple and cost effective.

Going back to Brian Udell, MD, he recommends avoiding:

  • heavily processed foods
  • fast food
  • artificial colors and flavors
  • preservatives
  • hormones & antibiotics in meat and dairy

He also recommends omega-3 fatty acids to reduce inflammation and a probiotic with 1.5 to 4 billion bacterial parts to improve gastrointestinal health.

What are the best supplements for kids on the autism spectrum?

Doctor MK’s Kids Chewable Probiotics (click to check current price on Amazon) have almost 5 stars and well over 100 reviews.

Sugar-free, gluten-free, vegan and 100% all natural ingredients. Voted the best tasting children’s probiotic!

Kids Complete Omega Gummy (click to see current price on Amazon) also has almost 5 stars an over 100 reviews.

Non-GMO, gluten-free and vegetarian conveniently packaged in orange and lemon flavored gummies for a taste kids can’t resist!

autism statistics worldwide happy autistic boy Middle Class Dad

What are the Asperger statistics worldwide?

Aspergers is a type of autism.

All autistic people have certain challenges in common, but because autism is a “spectrum” it affects different people in different ways.

Persons with Asperger syndrome may also have mental health challenges. Thus they may need additional support.

People with Asperger syndrome often have above average intelligence.

They are likely to not have the learning disabilities that challenge many with autism, but they may have challenges with social patterns and recognizing social cues.

Those with Aspergers also have fewer problems with speech but have great challenges understanding the true meaning behind some words and phrases. They may be especially challenged with so-called “figures of speech” and want to take things very literally.

According to the Asperger/Autism Network, about 1 in every 250 people fall somewhere on the Asperger profile.

While studies are still a little inconclusive, many feel that specifically with Asperger syndrome, the ratio of boys to girls is 2/1.

Thus there is a much higher incident rate for girls specifically with Aspergers compared to the 4-1 ratio for the autism spectrum as a whole.

Has autism increased over time?

According to the CDC, 1 in 59 children in the United States is on the autism spectrum.

Worldwide, however, the World Health Organization puts the autism rates by country at 1 in 160. Going back to the CDC study, they have found a 15% increase in autism spectrum disorder diagnosis over the past 2 years.

Going back to 2004, they have found a whopping 181% increase through 2018.

What are the risk factors for autism?

Going back to the CDC, they find that:

  • If one twin has autism the other is up to 95% more likely to also have autism
  • Parents of one autistic child are up to 18% more likely to have other autistic children
  • Autism is more likely to occur under “certain genetic or chromosomal conditions”. Thus children with autism are 10% more likely to have down syndrome and other chromosomal disorders
  • Children born to older parents are more likely to have autism
  • Children of low birth weight or who are born prematurely have a slightly increased risk of developing autism spectrum disorder

What are the medical costs associated with autism?

Unfortunately for parents of children with autism spectrum disorder, medical costs are estimated to be as much as 6 times higher than for families with no autistic children.

According to the National Institutes of Health, parents with 1 or more autistic children spent, on average between $4,000-$6,000 more per year on medical costs.

According to Autism Speaks, looking at autism statistics worldwide, the cost of caring for a child with autism is $60,000/year. Obviously, some of that would be covered under insurance and they are also factoring in lost income if one parent chooses to stay home.

Autism age of diagnosis statistics

Going back to Autism Speaks:

  • Autism can be diagnosed between 18-24 months
  • The average age of diagnosis in the US is 4 years
  • While autism affects all ethnic groups, it is diagnosed later and less frequently in minority groups. Thus most reports show higher autism rates worldwide among whites compared to other ethnic groups

Unfortunately, not all countries track autism the way many of the more developed countries do.

There is also disparity among countries in the criteria used to diagnose autism. Thus in some cases measuring autism rates worldwide isn’t always an apples to apples comparison.

So let’s review the . . .

15 Shocking Autism Statistics Worldwide You Probably Didn’t Know

1. The Top 5 autism rates by country:

  • Japan
  • United Kingdom
  • Canada
  • Ireland
  • United States

2. The Top 5 countries with the lowest autism rates worldwide are:

  • Germany
  • Italy
  • Portugal
  • France
  • The Netherlands

But there’s a lot more to know about the Countries with the Lowest Rates of Autism (click to read my article), so definitely check out my post which covers that in much greater detail.

3. Autism rates by country are far higher in the so-called developed world than in so-called 3rd countries

4. Boys are 4 times more likely to have autism than girls

5. Boys are only 2 times more likely to have Asperger’s than girls

6. 1 in 59 children in the US are diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder each

7. That figure is 181% higher than it was in 2004

8. Autism rates worldwide increase, on average, about 15% every 2 years

9. Diagnosis can be made as early as age 18 months

10. The average age for diagnosis in the US is 4 years

11. Autism rates worldwide are higher for white children than they are for other ethnic groups

12. However, diagnosis of other ethnic groups often happens later and less often than it does for white families

13. In the US, those of Hispanics are the ethnic group with the lowest rate of autism

14. The average family in the US sees the costs of having an autistic child be as much as $60,000/year

This is between medical expenses, additional education costs and lost wages of a parent staying home

15. On medical expenses alone, parents can expect to spend between $4,000-$6,000 more per year than parents who do not have an autistic child

Did we cover everything you wanted to know about autism statistics worldwide?

In this post, we took a look at autism rates by country.

We also looked at rates of increase over the years and the countries with the highest autism rates worldwide. But we also looked at rates by gender.

You’ll notice that while I did draw some conclusions, I stayed away from conspiracy theories and controversy.

While any discussion of autism is likely to draw some disagreement, my point was to stick with the facts and autism statistics worldwide and not alienate anyone.

After all, parents of autistic kids have enough challenges without being alienated by strong opinions on one side or another.

I am not a parent of autistic kids but my wife is a teacher who specializes in autistic kids and in my 9 to 5 working with kids, I do see a number of kids on the autism spectrum.

Thus, while not an expert, I am closely connected to that world.

Any tips, suggestions or questions about autism statistics worldwide?

Middle Class Dad autism statistics worldwide bio

I am not a doctor, autism expert or a health professional. This post, like all my posts, is based on my research, opinions and observations. If you need medical or professional advice you should seek out a qualified professional in your area.

Jeff Campbell

Jeff Campbell is a husband, father, martial artist, budget-master, Disney-addict, musician, and recovering foodie having spent over 2 decades as a leader for Whole Foods Market. Click to learn more about me

8 thoughts on “15 Shocking Autism Statistics Worldwide You Probably Didn’t Know

  1. Nice share Jeff. Autism is a complex storm of politics and health for sure! As someone working in this field from a medical perspective I am angered at the ruination of good science by the pharmaceutical industry. The lack of double blind randomised control trials, the comparison of one vaccine safety using another vaccine as the ‘placebo’, or even in the current COVID19 period – testing HCQ but using vitamin C as the placebo – a vitamin with 1000’s of pages of documented research on its health benefits… the statement that the ‘Science is settled’ is nonsense… for two reasons….
    1. The science and studies are not being done (e.g. no actual safety study for vaccine)
    2. Science is NEVER settled, it always evolves as we keep studying and learning. Thats the beauty of science, else man would have never reached the moon, or we’d still believe that smoking tobacco was good for us, or asbestos was safe…. etc etc etc.

    For things like vaccines, they contain all sorts of neurotoxins, they are aimed at the immune system and we now see not just the rise in autism which shows correlation at least, but also other things – massive rises in allergies, auto-immune diseases etc…. we are tampering with something that no immunologist I’ve spoken to yet says we actually understand. I don’t know if vaccines are a cause, but for sure without the studies we simply cannot state safety. And anyone who states the studies are done – have really not looked at the actual literature. I’ve read 100’s of papers, its not there.

    Lots of complexity in the changes to the diagnostics manual (DSM-5) making it harder to distinguish between the severely autistic and middle autistic which need such different treatment, care and support considerations. The neurodiverse voice for acceptance – whilst understandable – harms the focus and services for those who have no voice due to the incapacity from their severe autism.

    Autism prevalence is climbing at an alarming rate, for sure it is multi-factor in its cause – it needs more focus and attention, its way more ruinous than COVID19 but doesn’t get the coverage nor attention.

    As someone working on bringing a therapy model aimed at moderate to severe autism – I see the impact of Pharma budgets controlling agendas. I’ve met with several research foundations looking for support to run the broader trial following on our own pilot study (which had promising results) and unless we are doing genetic or drug research then they won’t pursue. We’ve just published a peer-reviewed hypothesis paper how we think our hyperoxic therapy is facilitating biologic correction to create the outcomes we’ve seen…. but its still a long way to get through trials and regulatory approvals….

    Like you, this mission isn’t because I have autism in my family, its because I know some that do, but more because we’ve created something that could really help people – and so its a moral duty to follow through.

    Be kind, because you can be.

    Warm regards,
    DaveA

    1. Thanks for such an insightful and impassioned comment, Dave. I totally agree and I think there are way more questions than there are concrete answers. Thanks again for being here and taking the time to comment.

      Jeff

  2. Thank you for all you do. Since 1962, have
    followed info on Autism, not the Spectrum.
    Hated to see a spectrum added. A catch
    all for inaccurate info & dx. Feel strongly
    about all the toxic chemicals we have been
    subjected to since the 1950’s. Neurotoxins,
    & others, which broke down DNA & hormonal changes. From One Autism birth
    in over 10k, to 0ne in 59. No rage over what was going on? Nope. Unbelievably disturbing. I am still following this disgraceful cover up by our Govt. & others.
    Association by coverup, has made me more aware of Chemical interaction in
    humans. It’s pretty shocking, what we have
    not been told, by Corps & Govt. Leaders.
    Thanks for listening. Mary Rao, Children’s
    Psychiatric RN, now retired.

  3. Hi Jeff, thanks for the article. Seeing the epidemic of autism in the US from outside, I am Argentinian, it terrifies me of the low coverage that the topic has. No respected institution, even the government, has addressed the problem, and while we speak, the number of autistic children rises. The only group who talks about it is the anti-vax, who blames something at least. I am not saying they are right, I am just saying that they are the only ones who try to give an answer.
    Sincerely, Alexis Fernandez.

    1. Hi Alexis

      I agree. We have lots of questions and very few answers, but a lot of people on the pro-vaccine side aren’t even willing to ask the questions. We know from the manufacturer’s websites and the CDC even that there are some highly questionable ingredients in many vaccines (mercury (listed as Thimerosal), formaldehyde, aluminum, aborted stem cells, just to name a few).

      I also believe that Big Pharma routinely places profits over consumer safety and overall well-being, and I am far from being alone in that point of view.

      Many people protest about growth hormones in milk or meat products, nitrate in pork, or even GMOs in crops, but aren’t willing to even ask a question about vaccines, and it doesn’t make sense.

      I am not saying I think vaccines cause autism. I am saying that the significant rise in it HAS to be caused by something we as a society are doing and it’s worth doing an in-depth study into a lot of things, vaccines included, to figure that out. The problem is that Big Pharma has such deep pockets that they will spend billions to destroy and discredit anyone who dares question them, so no large institution is willing to take on such a study after what was done to Dr. Andrew Wakefield.

      Thanks for taking the time to comment and share your thoughts.

      Jeff

  4. As a parent of an autistic boy I am convinced that there is an environmental factor fueling the autism pandemic. The statistics you shared are a good starting point. It begs the question what is so different between neighbors like Germany and Denmark? Why do Hispanics have lower rates? One thing that comes to my mind as worth investigating is differences in diet. Hispanics have maize as a staple grain in their diet, whereas other Americans mostly have wheat as the staple grain. Now for Germany and Denmark, they both have wheat as a staple, but unlike the Danes the Germans do not fortify their wheat flour with folic acid. Like Denmark the US also fortifies wheat flour. Fortification with folic acid started in the 1998, autism rates also started to increase around the same time. Could wheat fortification be the culprit? There are anomalies like Japan (rice as staple) and UK (no compulsory fortification). But I think it is worth investigating. The US has made it mandatory to fortify maize flour as of 2016. So it will be interesting to see how this affects Hispanic autism rates in the coming years.

    1. Hi Iyad

      Thanks for taking the time to give such a thoughtful and insightful comment! I agree with you completely and you’ve asked some great questions. The autism epidemic is certainly being fueled by something that so-called 1st world countries are doing. It may well not be created by anything man-made, but it’s certainly rising faster because of something we’re doing. I don’t have the answers, but you’ve posed some great questions.

      Thanks for being here!

      Jeff

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recent Content