Racial disparity in administrative autism identification across the United States during 2000 and 2007

Document Type


Publication Date



disproportionality, racial disparity, autism, disability prevalence


Evidence of disparate identification of autism at national and local levels is accumulating, but there is little understanding about disparate identification of autism at the state level. This study examined trends in state-level administrative identification of autism under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. Prevalence rates and odds ratios were calculated for each state using enrollment counts for years 2000 and 2007. Results indicated increases in administrative prevalence of autism for all racial groups from 2000 to 2007, but increasing underidentification of Black and Hispanic students in 2007 compared with White students. Variability existed in the identification of autism among Black and Hispanic students across states over time. Implications for the findings are discussed in the context of the field’s need to establish rigorous policies and practices for eligibility determinations due to autism and equitable access to evidence-based intervention practices.

Publisher Attribution

DOI: 10.1177/0022466912454014.