Blog # 18- Autism and Aging Trends- Prevalence Estimates from 2004-2018- What Does the Future Indicate Going Forward?

Utilizing the research and data from both the U.S. Census Bureau and Autism Speaks, I calculated the data utilizing a percent change equation to estimate the prevalence of autism in the context of aging in the United States to show the estimates. Showing the calculated data and the graph helps to give insight regarding where trends are going in terms of the prevalence of autism spectrum disorder diagnosed in the United States.

I. Autism and Aging Prevalence Estimates in U.S. (2004-2018)

Years (2004-2018)04′ 06′ 08′ 10′ 12′ 14′ 16′ 18′
Est. # of People Ages 0-17 in US with
Probable Autism (millions)
.44 .49 .59 .67 .84 1.08 1.08 1.25
Est. # of People  Aged 18-64 in US with Probable Autism (millions)1.1 1.25 1.53 1.77 2.25 2.27 2.97 3.4
Est. # of People Aged 65+  in US with
Probable Autism (millions)
.22 .25 .31 .37 .49 .53 .73 .88

Resources used to calculate and research data for this project:

1.) “CDC Increases Estimate Autism Prevalence 15 Percent 1 in 59 Children” Autism Speaks. Retrieved from https://www.autismspeaks.org/science-news/cdc-increases-estimate-autisms-prevalence-15-percent-1-59-children. Published 26 Apr. 2018.

2.) “Older People Projected to Outnumber for First Time in US History” U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved from https://www.census.gov/newsroom/press-releases/2018/cb18-41-population-projections.html. Published 13 Mar. 2018.

II. Calculated Data Transformed into Graph Utilizing Excel to Display Data for Autism and Aging Prevalence Estimates in U.S. (2004-2018):

In the graph, the dark blue bars represent people ages 0-17 with probable autism (in millions) in accordance with the table in section I. The light blue bars represent people ages 18-64 with probable autism (in millions) in accordance with the table in section I. The green bars represent people ages 65 and over (with probable autism) in millions in accordance with the table in section I.

III. What Does the Data and Research Show?

Future trends are suggesting that in the United States, given the anticipation that in the years to come the number of young adults and older adults is expected to outnumber children, there will likely be more adults (young and old) than children being diagnosed and living with autism spectrum disorders which shows the need for further research on autism in adulthood (especially in older adulthood). Policy recommendations; resources; supports; and services need to be identified and considered to support the daily living needs of adults (young and old) on the autism spectrum. Currently, there is not enough research on autism in younger and older adulthood, and this is where the emphasis on research needs to be. We need to continue to support children on the autism spectrum, but we need to focus also on adults on the autism spectrum in terms of their strengths and needs.

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