According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the official estimate is that 1 in 88 children in the United States has an autism diagnosis. This is higher than their estimate from 2006 of 1 in 110 children with autism, and a surprising jump from the 1 in 10,000 rate from decades ago.
But this estimate pales in comparison to a 2011 study in which researchers from Yale and George Washington Universities looked at autism rates in a suburb of Seoul, South Korea. After looking at thousands of children, they found that 2.65 percent of them had autism – a whopping 1 in 38 children, many of which had not been officially diagnosed.
However, a 2011 study from Britain found that diagnosis has stayed fairly steady over the last several decades – 1 in 100.
Nancy Minshew of the University of Pittsburgh says that, as she sorts through the evidence, she feels that the rates have actually remained rather steady. However, she believes that maybe there are more diagnoses being made, simply because we are a little more sensitive to what it means to be autistic.