The 2012 SDAC showed an estimated 115,400 Australians (0.5%) had autism. This was an 79% increase on the 64,400 people estimated to have the condition in 2009.
In SDAC 2012, Autism spectrum disorders were more commonly found in males than females. Males were 4 times more likely than females to have the condition, with prevalence rates of 0.8% and 0.2% respectively. This is consistent with overseas estimates. For example, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention in the US shows boys are 4.5 times more likely than girls to be diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder (ENDNOTE 3).
There was considerable variation in the prevalence of autism across age groups, with a marked drop off in prevalence after peaking in the 5 to 9 years age group (Graph 1). A similar pattern can be seen in the data from the 2009 SDAC. There are several possible reasons for this variation in prevalence across age groups (diagnostic issues, survey scope and methodology) which are discussed below.

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