The global prevalence of autism spectrum disorder: a comprehensive systematic review and meta-analysis


This is a meta-analysis that sought to estimate the global prevalence of autism spectrum disorder (ASD). It reviewed 74 studies conducted between 2008 and 2021 that met the inclusion criteria. The studies were conducted in 24 countries across 6 continents and included over 500,000 participants.


Prevalence of ASD

The analysis found that the global pooled prevalence of ASD was 0.6% (95% CI: 0.4%–1.0%). This means that for every 100 people, 0.6 people have ASD. The prevalence varied by continent, with the highest rates found in Africa (1.0%) and Australia (1.7%) and the lowest rates found in Asia (0.4%).



The analysis also found that the prevalence of ASD varied by sex, with males having a higher prevalence than females (0.7% vs. 0.5%). The prevalence also varied by age, with the highest rates found in children aged 7-9 years old (1.0%).



The authors of the study acknowledge that there are limitations to their analysis, such as the heterogeneity of the included studies and the possibility of publication bias. However, they believe that their findings provide a relatively accurate estimate of the global prevalence of ASD.



The study’s findings have important implications for the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of ASD. The high prevalence of ASD suggests that there is a need for increased awareness and understanding of this condition. The findings also highlight the need for more research on the causes and treatments of ASD.



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