March 24, 2023

CHD Responds to Significant Increase in Autism Prevalence: 1 in 36 Children

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Press Statement

For Immediate Release

Washington, D.C. — On Thursday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released new data from the Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring (ADDM) Network, reporting 1 in 36 (2.8%) 8-year-old children — 4% of boys and 1% of girls — have an autism spectrum disorder (ASD), based on an analysis of data from 2020. Since the CDC began collecting data, prevalence estimates have skyrocketed from 1 in 150 in 2000 to today’s estimate of 1 in 36 children.

In response to the CDC’s announcement, Children’s Health Defense (CHD) Chairman and Chief Litigation Counsel Robert F. Kennedy Jr. said:

It’s clear why CDC steadfastly refuses to investigate the cause of the exploding Autism epidemic, a national cataclysm that dwarfs the devastating impacts from COVID-19: The principal culprits are regulatory capture and poorly tested vaccines.

President and General Counsel Mary Holland said:

These new data — that 4% of boys and 1% of girls at age 8 — have an autism spectrum disorder — are a profound indictment of the CDC. It is willful blindness to knowingly and intentionally look away from the true causes of autism for over twenty years — during which time the rates have risen above 300% — is nothing short of criminal. The country and the world desperately need new leadership to defend children’s health.

Brian Hooker, Ph.D., chief scientific officer for CHD said:

The CDC gives no rationale for the shocking increase in the incidence of autism in children in the U.S. except for better diagnosing and better access to services. We know that this is ludicrous, especially given the higher incidences of autism seen in underserved minority children and the alarming rate of autism with intellectual disability in Black children. It’s time for real answers as to what is driving this ever-increasing epidemic.

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Children’s Health Defense® is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Our mission is to end childhood health epidemics by working aggressively to eliminate harmful exposures, hold those responsible accountable and establish safeguards to prevent future harm. We fight corruption, mass surveillance and censorship that put profits before people as well as advocate for worldwide rights to health freedom and bodily autonomy. For more information or to donate to CHD, visit

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