Pediatrics

Prevalence and Trends of Developmental Disabilities among Children in the United States: 2009-2017

OBJECTIVES:

To study the national prevalence of 10 developmental disabilities in US children aged 3 to 17 years and explore changes over time by associated demographic and socioeconomic characteristics, using the National Health Interview Survey.

METHODS:

Data come from the 2009 to 2017 National Health Interview Survey, a nationally representative survey of the civilian noninstitutionalized population. Parents reported physician or other health care professional diagnoses of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder; autism spectrum disorder; blindness; cerebral palsy; moderate to profound hearing loss; learning disability; intellectual disability; seizures; stuttering or stammering; and other developmental delays. Weighted percentages for each of the selected developmental disabilities and any developmental disability were calculated and stratified by demographic and socioeconomic characteristics.

RESULTS:

From 2009 to 2011 and 2015 to 2017, there were overall significant increases in the prevalence of any developmental disability (16.2%–17.8%, P < .001), attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (8.5%–9.5%, P < .01), autism spectrum disorder (1.1%–2.5%, P < .001), and intellectual disability (0.9%–1.2%, P < .05), but a significant decrease for any other developmental delay (4.7%–4.1%, P < .05). The prevalence of any developmental disability increased among boys, older children, non-Hispanic white and Hispanic children, children with private insurance only, children with birth weight ≥2500 g, and children living in urban areas and with less-educated mothers.

CONCLUSIONS:

The prevalence of developmental disability among US children aged 3 to 17 years increased between 2009 and 2017. Changes by demographic and socioeconomic subgroups may be related to improvements in awareness and access to health care.

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