Blog # 9- Which U.S. State Has the Highest Prevalence of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) Diagnoses?

Here is the link to the article and the autism statistics:

Gagliardo-Silver, V., “Autism diagnoses at record high in US state and no one knows why”- Independent Published 13 Apr. 2019.

“Data and Statistics on Autism Spectrum Disorder”- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Published 2019.

So, which state in the U.S. has more autism diagnoses in children in comparison to the other states? On average, the, “autism diagnosis in America is 13 in every 1000 children” (Gagliardo-Silver, 2019). However, in this specific state, “28 per every 1000 children” (Gagliardo-Silver, 2019), are diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD). How come this is the case, though?

The state that has the greatest number of children being diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is New Jersey. The conundrum with the prevalence of diagnoses of ASD (autism spectrum disorder) among children in the United States is that when you divide the 1000 by 13, basically what is being shown is that 1 child in roughly every 77 children will have a diagnosis of autism as Gagliardo-Silver is showing in his article. However, on the contrary, according to statistics from the Center of Disease and Control Prevention, “About 1 in 59 children has been identified with autism spectrum disorder” (Autism Spectrum Disorder, 2019), so I think if we were to refer back to a group of 1000 children, utilizing the statistics from the Center of Disease and Control Prevention, it would actually be about 17 children in every 1000 children having an autism diagnosis in the United States. Focusing on New Jersey, though, the state with the most autism diagnoses in children, when we divide 1000 by 28, what this means is that, “one in 35 New Jersey children have been diagnosed with autism” (Gagliardo-Silver, 2019), which is the correct estimate.

Let me state a few possibilities why I think New Jersey may have more autism diagnoses in their state compared to other states within the United States:

  • 1.) With a rise in the longevity of the aging population in the United States, as well as an increase in the number of older adults and grandparents raising children or grandchildren, this could contribute to an increase of a number of children that develop autism, especially where aging could affect helping and supporting children achieve developmental milestones (verbalizing, talking, gesturing, etc.). Therefore, there may be more older parents and grandparents raising children in New Jersey compared to the other states within the United States.


  • 2.) New Jersey may have more premature births than in comparison to other stated within the United States. What is of importance of premature births is that babies that are born several weeks before the expected due date can experience metabolic and immunological problems that can affect their bodily systems (i.e. the nervous system where the brain develops, and the gastrointestinal system where the gut is involved with absorption and digestion), and complications of these several systems can result in developing chronic illnesses and disabilities, and this includes developmental disabilities such as autism.


  • 3.) Families could have multiple children with autism. If New Jersey has more families that have more than one child with autism, this could possibly support the high prevalence of autism diagnoses in the state of New Jersey, but more data collection and analysis must be conducted.


  • 4.) New Jersey, a state known for its industrial and manufacturing businesses, probably work with heavy metals such as lead and mercury. However, the question becomes does lead and mercury that gets into the environment get consumed by a lot of children that live in this state? Again, more data collection and analysis would have to be considered as lead and mercury totalities of New Jersey would have to be compared to the 49 other states within the United States that are either involved or not involved with lead and mercury. If New Jersey did have the most lead and mercury, and because several studies have suggested lead and mercury contributing to autism diagnoses, this could also possibly explain the high incidence of autism diagnoses in this state in comparison to the other states.


More data collection and research need to be conducted to find objective information that is valid and reliable before making any conclusions about how and why New Jersey has the high prevalence of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) diagnoses in children in the United States. This article was worth reading and reflecting on.