Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 32, Issue 3, pp 217–224

Descriptive Epidemiology of Autism in a California Population: Who Is at Risk?


DOI: 10.1023/A:1015405914950

Cite this article as:
Croen, L.A., Grether, J.K. & Selvin, S. J Autism Dev Disord (2002) 32: 217. doi:10.1023/A:1015405914950


We investigated the association between selected infant and maternal characteristics and autism risk. Children with autism born in California in 1989-1994 were identified through service agency records and compared with the total population of California live births for selected characteristics recorded on the birth certificate. Multivariate models were used to generate adjusted risk estimates. From a live birth population of more than 3.5 million, 4381 children with autism were identified. Increased risks were observed for males, multiple births, and children born to black mothers. Risk increased as maternal age and maternal education increased. Children born to immigrant mothers had similar or decreased risk compared with California-born mothers. Environmental factors associated with these demographic characteristics may interact with genetic vulnerability to increase the risk of autism.

Maternal age maternal education SES twins 

Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lisa A. Croen
    • 1
  • Judith K. Grether
    • 1
  • Steve Selvin
    • 2
  1. 1.March of Dimes Birth Defects Foundation/California Department of Health ServicesCalifornia Birth Defects Monitoring ProgramOakland
  2. 2.Biostatistics, School of Public HealthUniversity of California at BerkeleyBerkeley

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