How Many People Have Autism In Illinois?

In Illinois, the autism prevalence rate is slightly higher, with 1 in 51 children diagnosed with autism.

According to the Illinois Department of Public Health, the prevalence of autism in Illinois has been increasing over the years.

As of 2023, 1 in 51 children in Illinois are diagnosed with autism. In 2002, the prevalence rate of autism in Illinois was 1 in 333 children, which increased to 1 in 59 children in 2018.

This increase could be due to better awareness and identification of ASD, improved access to healthcare services, and changes in diagnostic criteria.

The prevalence of ASD varies across different regions in Illinois. According to the 2018 Illinois Autism Project Report, the prevalence of autism in Cook County was 1 in 46 children, which is higher than the statewide prevalence rate.

The prevalence rates in other regions of Illinois were as follows: DuPage County (1 in 65), Lake County (1 in 70), McHenry County (1 in 70), Will County (1 in 78), and Kane County (1 in 90).

Factors Contributing to the Prevalence of Autism in Illinois

Several factors could be contributing to the prevalence of ASD in Illinois. One of the factors is genetics. Research has shown that genetics play a significant role in the development of ASD. Children who have a sibling with autism are more likely to develop the disorder themselves.

Another factor is environmental factors. Exposure to certain chemicals and toxins during pregnancy or early childhood may increase the risk of developing autism.

Maternal infections during pregnancy, such as rubella or cytomegalovirus, have also been linked to the development of autism.

Access to healthcare services is also a significant factor. Early identification and intervention can help improve outcomes for children with autism.

In Illinois, the Early Intervention Program provides services for children ages birth to three who have developmental delays or disabilities, including autism. However, access to healthcare services may vary across different regions of Illinois.

Challenges Faced by Families of Children with Autism in Illinois

Families of children with autism in Illinois face several challenges, including access to healthcare services, education, and employment opportunities. The cost of healthcare services and therapy can be a significant barrier for many families.

Although Illinois has a mandate for insurance coverage for autism treatment, there are still gaps in coverage, and many families struggle to afford the necessary services.

Education is also a significant challenge. Children with autism may require specialized education programs and services, such as individualized education plans (IEPs) and behavioral interventions. However, not all schools in Illinois have the resources or expertise to provide these services.

Finally, employment opportunities for individuals with autism in Illinois are limited. Despite having many skills and abilities, individuals with ASD may face discrimination and difficulty finding employment.


The prevalence of autism in Illinois is increasing, and families of children with autism face several challenges.

Access to healthcare services, education, and employment opportunities are significant issues that need to be addressed. However, with better awareness, increased funding, and improved services, we can work towards improving outcomes for individuals with autism and their families in Illinois.