Original Paper

Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 42, Issue 9, pp 1959-1966

First online:

The Rising Prevalence of Autism: A Prospective Longitudinal Study in the Faroe Islands

  • Eva KočovskáAffiliated withInstitute of Health and Wellbeing, Royal Hospital for Sick Children, Caledonia House, University of Glasgow Email author 
  • , Rannvá BiskupstøAffiliated withPsychiatric Department, Child and Youth Psychiatry
  • , I. Carina GillbergAffiliated withGillberg Neuropsychiatry Centre
  • , Asa EllefsenAffiliated withSernámsdepilin (Special Education Center)
  • , Hanna KampmannAffiliated withSernámsdepilin (Special Education Center)
  • , Tormóður StóráAffiliated withPsychiatric Center
  • , Eva BillstedtAffiliated withGillberg Neuropsychiatry Centre
  • , Christopher GillbergAffiliated withGillberg Neuropsychiatry Centre

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We have followed up a 2002 population study of autism prevalence in 15–24-year olds in the Faroe Islands. The rate of ASD grew significantly from 0.56% in 2002 to 0.94% in 2009. Although these results are within the range of typical findings from other studies, there were some interesting details. There were—in addition to 43 originally diagnosed cases in 2002—24 newly discovered cases in 2009 and nearly half of them were females. It is possible that unfamiliarity with the clinical presentation of autism in females have played a significant role in this context. There was diagnostic stability for the overall category of ASD over time in the group diagnosed in childhood (7—16) years, but considerable variability as regards diagnostic sub-groupings.


Autism Asperger’s syndrome Prevalence Genetic isolate Children Young adults Females