Autism Spectrum Disorder Prevalence Rates in the United States: Methodologies, Challenges, and Implications for Individual States

Emily Ramsey, Lisa Kelly-Vance, Joseph A. Allen, Olivia Rosol, Michael Yoerger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

7 Scopus citations


Many different studies have been conducted to determine the prevalence rates of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) in the United States. The methodologies of these studies have varied, resulting in a multitude of publications with differing prevalence rates. Because there is such a wide range in the results of prevalence studies, it may be difficult for individual states to determine their rates. Accurate prevalence rates are important to obtain for many different reasons including increasing advocacy and awareness, increasing funding, and proper allocation of services for individuals with ASD and their families. Additionally, prevalence studies can be used to assess which groups are more at risk for ASD based off location and environmental factors. This paper describes different methodologies that can be utilized to determine ASD prevalence rates, the strengths and weaknesses of each method, and the challenges to determining accurate rates. This paper also includes the results from a study conducted in Nebraska to determine prevalence rates of ASD in the state. Implications for future prevalence studies are addressed and recommendations are provided.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)803-820
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Developmental and Physical Disabilities
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1 2016



  • Autism
  • Autism spectrum disorder
  • Decision-making
  • Intervention
  • Prevalence rates

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

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