Incidence of reading disability in a population-based birth cohort, 1976-1982, Rochester, Minn

Mayo Clin Proc. 2001 Nov;76(11):1081-92. doi: 10.4065/76.11.1081.


Objective: To report the incidence of reading disability among school-aged children.

Subjects and methods: In this population-based, retrospective birth cohort study, subjects included all 5718 children born between 1976 and 1982 who remained in Rochester, Minn, after the age of 5 years. Based on records from all public and nonpublic schools, medical facilities, and private tutorial services and on results of all individually administered IQ and achievement tests, extensive medical, educational, and socioeconomic information were abstracted. Reading disability was established with use of research criteria based on 4 formulas (2 regression-based discrepancy, 1 non-regression-based discrepancy, and 1 low achievement).

Results: Cumulative incidence rates of reading disability varied from 5.3% to 11.8% depending on the formula used. Boys were 2 to 3 times more likely to be affected than girls, regardless of the identification methods applied.

Conclusions: In this population-based birth cohort, reading disability was common among school-aged children and significantly more frequent among boys than girls, regardless of definition.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Age Distribution
  • Algorithms
  • Child
  • Cohort Studies
  • Dyslexia / classification
  • Dyslexia / diagnosis
  • Dyslexia / epidemiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Minnesota / epidemiology
  • Population Surveillance*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sex Distribution