The number of individuals diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) continues to increase in the United States and other developed countries; however, ASD is diagnosed less commonly in Hispanic than in non-Hispanic white individuals. This report analyzes differences in ASD prevalence between Hispanic and non-Hispanic whites in a large, population-based sample of 8-year-old children, and explores how prevalence has changed over time.


Population-based surveillance of ASD was conducted on 142 717 8-year-old children. Evaluation of clinical and educational records resulted in 1212 children meeting the case definition criteria in 4 study years between 2000 and 2006.


ASD prevalence in Hispanic children was lower than in non-Hispanic white children (P < .005) for all study years. More Hispanic than non-Hispanic white children met the case definition for intellectual disability (P < .05) in study years 2004 and 2006. Prevalence of ASD diagnosis increased in both groups; the Hispanic prevalence almost tripled, from 2.7 per 1000 in 2000 to 7.9 per 1000 in 2006. A comparison of prevalence ratios found that Hispanic and non-Hispanic white ASD prevalence became significantly more similar from 2000 to 2006 (χ2 = 124.89, P < .001).


The ASD prevalence for Hispanic individuals in this population-based sample is substantially higher than previously reported. Nonetheless, Hispanic children continue to have a significantly lower ASD prevalence in comparison with non-Hispanic whites. The prevalence of ASD is increasing in both populations, and results indicate that the gap in prevalence between groups is decreasing.

You do not currently have access to this content.