Wealth, Education and Autism

Information is appearing about a new study from UC Davis researchers discussing higher rates of autism in regions of California with higher income, older parents.

Using data on about 2.5 million births in California in a five-year period, researchers identified 10 autism clusters, or geographical areas in which there was a higher than usual incidence of children diagnosed with the neurodevelopmental disability that’s marked by impaired social and communication skills, and repetitive behaviors.

The rate of autism in the clusters was about twice that of the surrounding areas.

Discussions are revolving around wealthier, more educated parents having access to the services and evaluations that suggest autism. Other studies have concluded that older parents are more likely to have autism. It would be interesting to note whether older, wealther, more educated ethnic populations such as African Americans and Latinos show higher rates of autism. Some studies show increases, some decreases of autism among African Americans.

Van Meter said that the increased risk of autism in these areas is roughly a doubling of the incidence of autism over the incidence in the surrounding zone. For example, for the cluster area located in the service zone of the San Diego Regional Center, the autism incidence was 61.2 per 10,000 births and, in the rest of the Regional Center service zone, 27.1 per 10,000 births. For the Harbor Regional Center the incidence was 103.4 and 57.8, respectivel

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