Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 44, Issue 3, pp 712–718

Brief Report: Diminishing Geographic Variability in Autism Spectrum Disorders Over Time?

  • Kate Hoffman
  • Veronica M. Vieira
  • Julie L. Daniels
Brief Report

DOI: 10.1007/s10803-013-1907-7

Cite this article as:
Hoffman, K., Vieira, V.M. & Daniels, J.L. J Autism Dev Disord (2014) 44: 712. doi:10.1007/s10803-013-1907-7


We investigated differences in the geographic distribution of autism spectrum disorders (ASD) over time in central North Carolina with data from the Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring Network. Using generalized additive models and geographic information systems we produced maps of ASD risk in 2002–2004 and 2006–2008. Overall the risk of ASD increased 52.9 % from 2002–2004 to 2006–2008. However, the magnitude of change in risk was not uniform across the study area; while some areas experienced dramatic increases in ASD risk (>400 %), others experienced slight decreases. Generally, areas with the lowest risk in 2002–2004 experienced the greatest increases over time. Education and outreach efforts in North Carolina expanded during this period, possibly contributing to the observed leveling of risk over time.


Autism spectrum disorders (ASD)Spatial analysesGeographic variabilityGeneralized additive modelsPrevalence

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kate Hoffman
    • 1
  • Veronica M. Vieira
    • 2
    • 3
  • Julie L. Daniels
    • 1
  1. 1.Gillings School of Global Public Health, CB #7435University of North CarolinaChapel HillUSA
  2. 2.Boston University School of Public HealthBostonUSA
  3. 3.School of EcologyUniversity of California, IrvineIrvineUSA