National and State Estimates of Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder

J Autism Dev Disord. 2020 Dec;50(12):4258-4266. doi: 10.1007/s10803-020-04494-4.


U.S. national and state population-based estimates of adults living with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are nonexistent due to the lack of existing surveillance systems funded to address this need. Therefore, we estimated national and state prevalence of adults 18-84 years living with ASD using simulation in conjunction with Bayesian hierarchal models. In 2017, we estimated that approximately 2.21% (95% simulation interval (SI) 1.95%, 2.45%) or 5,437,988 U.S. adults aged 18 and older have ASD, with state prevalence ranging from 1.97% (95% SI 1.55%, 2.45%) in Louisiana to 2.42% (95% SI 1.93%, 2.99%) in Massachusetts. Prevalence and case estimates of adults living with ASD (diagnosed and undiagnosed) can help states estimate the need for diagnosing and providing services to those unidentified.

Keywords: Autism spectrum disorder; Developmental disabilities; Intellectual disability; Modeling; Prevalence estimates.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder / epidemiology*
  • Bayes Theorem
  • Child
  • Computer Simulation
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Massachusetts
  • Population Surveillance
  • Prevalence