New Jersey is experiencing a rise in autism cases throughout the state. A study published in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention last Thursday compares New Jersey schoolchildren autism cases against other states. The results of the study show that autism cases are increasing in New Jersey more than any other state.
Specifically, the percentage of four-year-olds diagnosed with autism increased by 40 percent between 2010 and 2014. The study’s findings show New Jersey as the state with the highest percentage of developmental disabilities. The researchers, comprised of researchers from Rutgers University and The Early Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring Network used 19 years worth of data to determine the information.
The numbers coming out of New Jersey are nothing short of stunning.
In 2010, the state’s autism rate was 19.7 per 1,000 four-year-old children. In 2014, the number increased to 28.4 per 1,000 four-year-old children. The numbers get worse when we consider race. Staying with four-year-olds, 29.4 per 1,000 white children were diagnosed with autism in 2014. That number spikes to 33.1 for black children.
The national average for all children diagnosed with autism is 17 per 1,000 children.
Rutgers associate professor Walter Zahorodny told USA Today that he has no idea what’s causing New Jersey’s autism surge.