Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 41, Issue 10, pp 1362–1372 | Cite as

Birth Prevalence of Autism Spectrum Disorders in the San Francisco Bay Area by Demographic and Ascertainment Source Characteristics

  • Gayle C. WindhamEmail author
  • Meredith C. Anderson
  • Lisa A. Croen
  • Karen S. Smith
  • John Collins
  • Judith K. Grether
Original Paper


Using standardized methods for multi-source surveillance, we calculated the prevalence of autism spectrum disorders (ASD) among children born in a racially diverse region in 1994 or 1996 as 4.7/1000 live births. Children with ASD before age 9 were identified through chart abstraction at health-related sources; three-quarters were being served by the state-wide Department of Developmental Services. In adjusted models, we found a male:female ratio of 6:1, a doubling of ASD prevalence among children of older mothers (40+), and lower prevalence with lower paternal education. Children of Black or Hispanic mothers had lower prevalence than those of White, non-Hispanic mothers, but these differences were attenuated after adjustment. Prevalence in children of Asian mothers was similar to Whites. Potential under-counting is discussed.


Autism ASD Prevalence Surveillance Demographics 



Funding was provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (U10/CCU920392) and the California Department of Public Health. The authors wish to thank the participating sources for providing data on autism, including the California Department of Developmental Services Regional Centers, Kaiser Permanente Medical Care Program and numerous private providers, Drs. Linda Lotspeich and Jennifer Phillips for expert clinical review, the California Centers for Autism and Developmental Disabilities Research and Epidemiology (CADDRE) staff for data collection, and Tim McLaughlin for database development and management.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gayle C. Windham
    • 1
    Email author
  • Meredith C. Anderson
    • 2
  • Lisa A. Croen
    • 3
  • Karen S. Smith
    • 2
  • John Collins
    • 2
  • Judith K. Grether
    • 1
  1. 1.Environmental Health Investigations Branch, California Department of Public HealthRichmondUSA
  2. 2.Impact Assessment, Inc.La JollaUSA
  3. 3.Northern California Kaiser Permanente Division of ResearchOaklandUSA

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