CDC Finds Nearly 9% of U.S. Children Diagnosed with a Developmental Disability

The rate of U.S. children diagnosed with any developmental disability rose from 7.4% in 2019 to 8.56% in 2021.

CDC Finds Nearly 9% of U.S. Children Diagnosed with a Developmental Disability

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The percentage of U.S. children, ages 3-17, who have ever been diagnosed with a developmental disability has once again increased, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) National Health Interview Survey.

The ongoing survey found that in 2021, the share of children who had ever been diagnosed with a developmental disability rose to 8.56%. That’s more than a full percentage point greater than in 2019 when the rate was 7.4%. The prevalence of any developmental disability was lowest in non-Hispanic Asian children compared with other race and Hispanic-origin groups.

Although no significant change in the prevalence of diagnosed autism spectrum disorder (ASD) was observed during 2019–2021 (2.79% in 2019, 3.49% in 2020, and 3.05% in 2021), boys were more than three times as likely as girls to be diagnosed with ASD. Just under 5% (4.66%) of boys and 1.5% of girls were diagnosed with the disorder.

No significant change in the prevalence of diagnosed intellectual disability was observed during 2019–2021 (1.70% in 2019, 2.20% in 2020, and 1.65% in 2021), but the prevalence of diagnosed other developmental delay increased from 5.08% in 2019 to 6.06% in 2021. “Other developmental delay” includes a range of issues, such as cerebral palsy or struggles forming words, reports CBS News. Those diagnoses could evolve into another diagnosis, like ASD or an intellectual disability. According to one expert, however, often children “age out” of those diagnoses.

During 2019-2021, more than one in 10 boys (10.76%) and more than one in 20 girls (5.31%) had any developmental disability.

At 4.85%, Asian children were less likely to have any developmental disability compared with Hispanic (7.40%), Black (9.07%), and White (8.42%) children.

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About the Author

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Robin has been covering the security and campus law enforcement industries since 1998 and is a specialist in school, university and hospital security, public safety and emergency management, as well as emerging technologies and systems integration. She joined CS in 2005 and has authored award-winning editorial on campus law enforcement and security funding, officer recruitment and retention, access control, IP video, network integration, event management, crime trends, the Clery Act, Title IX compliance, sexual assault, dating abuse, emergency communications, incident management software and more. Robin has been featured on national and local media outlets and was formerly associate editor for the trade publication Security Sales & Integration. She obtained her undergraduate degree in history from California State University, Long Beach.

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