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Brief Report: Forecasting the Economic Burden of Autism in 2015 and 2025 in the United States


Few US estimates of the economic burden of autism spectrum disorders (ASD) are available and none provide estimates for 2015 and 2025. We forecast annual direct medical, direct non-medical, and productivity costs combined will be $268 billion (range $162–$367 billion; 0.884–2.009 % of GDP) for 2015 and $461 billion (range $276–$1011 billion; 0.982–3.600 % of GDP) for 2025. These 2015 figures are on a par with recent estimates for diabetes and attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and exceed the costs of stroke and hypertension. If the prevalence of ASD continues to grow as it has in recent years, ASD costs will likely far exceed those of diabetes and ADHD by 2025.

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First author acknowledges partial support from Autism Speaks (7636) and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (U54OH007550).

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Both authors contributed to the inception, design, writing, calculations, and organization of the research and manuscript.

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Correspondence to J. Paul Leigh.

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Leigh, J.P., Du, J. Brief Report: Forecasting the Economic Burden of Autism in 2015 and 2025 in the United States. J Autism Dev Disord 45, 4135–4139 (2015).

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  • Costs
  • Non-medical services
  • Prevalence