Economists have tallied up how much it will likely cost to care for all Americans with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) this year: $268 billion.
In 10 years that number is expected to climb to $461 billion, but they say it could top out at $1 trillion if ASD prevalence continues to increase.
The study is published online in the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders.
“The current costs of ASD are more than double the combined costs of stroke and hypertension and on a par with the costs of diabetes,” says study senior author Paul Leigh, professor of public health sciences and researcher with the Center for Healthcare Policy and Research at University of California, Davis. “There should be at least as much public, research, and government attention to finding the causes and best treatments for ASD as there is for these other major diseases.”