World Facts

Countries With The Highest Rates of Autism

National research studies indicate that Japan and other developed countries have the highest rates of autism.

Studies conducted on those with autism show that it affects more boys than girls, and is prevalent in developed countries. Autism diagnosis occurs across different age groups, though studies also indicate that autism is likely already present at the time of birth, although it is very difficult to form an early diagnosis. Autism ranges from causing mild symptoms to more obvious abnormal behaviors associated with the condition. Unfortunately, no known cure has been found to alleviate this condition to date. Today, the cases of autism seen in adults and children are still rising. Experts who have been studying the condition have no explanation as to why it is so much more prevalent than before. There are those that believe that autism is caused by unexplained environmental conditions, although the recent rise in autism has also been attributed by increased awareness and effective diagnostic methods specific to the condition.

10. Portugal (9.2 cases per 10,000 children studied)

Portugal has conducted its own recent research on autism, in a study involving 332,808 school-aged children. It found that the prevalence of the disorder was 9.2 per 10,000 children, with the disorder often being detected alongside other associated medical conditions, such as respiratory disorders. An additional study was done in the Portuguese Azores Islands, and the data there indicated a rate 15.6 autistic children per 10,000 children.

9. Hong Kong, SAR of China (17 cases per 10,000 children studied)

Hong Kong SAR of China also has had its own studies on autism prevalence among its population. The government of Hong Kong suggests that there are about 3,800 residents with the disorder in their jurisdiction. In Hong Kong, among its student population, less than one percent are affected with the disorder. One autistic charity organization in the city of Hong Kong helps autistic children by providing therapy, although similar organizations have found it difficult to exist there because of a lack of government support.

8. Brazil (27 cases per 10,000 children studied)

Brazil's Ministry of Health has published a guideline on the care of individuals with the disorder following studies showing the high rates of autism among young Brazilians. The disorder was recognized by federal law as a disability, and those with it are entitled to social benefits. However, there has been some deal of confusion and disagreement over the relationship between health, rights, and citizenship in Brazil. Statistics suggest that there are about 1.5 million people with autism who live in Brazil today.

7. Australia (45 cases per 10,000 children studied)

Australian studies on autism have found that the increases in autism cases in the country were not really as pronounced as researchers in many other developed countries have led people to believe. They felt there was just a case of the general populace and medical practitioners alike having more autism awareness, in addition to better diagnostic tools to identify the disorder in its milder forms. The Australian government has granted support for those families with children with formal autism diagnosis n the form of "Carer Allowances".

6. Canada (65 cases per 10,000 children studied)

Canada has conducted its own autism studies by way of the Public Health Agency of Canada. The Agency found that there was no correlation at all between autism and the MMR (mumps, measles, and rubella) vaccine. They found that after the introduction of the MMR vaccine, no increase of autism was detected. One study found the rate of autism to be one in 147 children in Canada.

5. USA (66 cases per 10,000 children studied)

The United States' data on autism recently showed that 66 in 10,000 American children have the disorder, according to Center for Disease Control findings. However, at the start of the study, only one in 150 children had it. The American Academy of Pediatrics has suggested that guidelines for screening children should be followed more closely. The non-profit organization Autism Speaks stated that early detection and surveillance are two keys in detecting the disorder. Meanwhile, researchers found that both genetics and environmental factors are closely correlated to autism incidences.

4. Denmark (68 cases per 10,000 children studied)

Denmark made a study on autism as well, and had some problems with regards to determining what really caused the disorder. The results remain inconclusive. In Denmark, there has been a call for more government resources and organizations to help those affected by autism.

3. Sweden (72 cases per 10,000 children studied)

Sweden made a study of the likely cause of autism, and its possible relation to vinyl flooring in homes. A study by U.S. and Swedish scientists showed that vinyl floors contain chemicals called phthalates, and these floors continually emit these chemicals into the inside the homes they are in. Still, some experts say that genetic factors also figure into the development of this disorder. It was also later found that prior misdiagnoses with other disorders was a leading cause for the rise of autism diagnosis in Swedish children.

2. United Kingdom (94 cases per 10,000 children studied)

The United Kingdom reports around 94 cases of autism spectrum conditions per 10,000 children. Like many other places in the world, nearly five times as many males are diagnosed with autism compared to females. However, it is possible that autism is under-diagnosed in females.

1. Japan (161 cases per 10,000 children studied)

Although Japan reportedly has the highest incidence of autism in the world, with 161 cases per every 10,000 people, it is hard to pinpoint whether autism is actually more common there or if it is just merely reported more often. Controversy over whether or not the MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccine could be linked to autism was widespread in Japan in the 1990s and 2000s. This led to the government dropping the requirement for MMR vaccination. However, rates of autism did not decrease despite the lack of vaccination, showing a lack of correlation between the two.

More in World Facts