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Table 1 Descriptive characteristics of pooled sample, National Survey of Children’s Health, 2016—2018 (n = 2303)

From: The diagnostic odyssey of autism: a cross-sectional study of 3 age cohorts of children from the 2016–2018 National Survey of Children’s Health

  Total (N = 2303) or % Total weighted % (95% CI) Early childhood N (%) Middle childhood N (%) Adolescence N (%) p-valuea
Total 2303 2.43% (2.43, 2.44) 293 (13.8%) 840 (45.6%) 1170 (40.5%)  
Weighted population size, No 1,598,915 221,409 729,767 647,739
Sex n = 2303
 Male 1855 78.4% 240 (77.5%) 676 (77.2%) 939 (80.2%) 0.79
 Female 448 21.6% 53 (22.5%) 164 (22.8%) 231 (19.9%)
Race/Ethnicity n = 2303
 Non-hispanic white 1584 45.7% 175 (39.9%) 543 (37.0%) 866 (57.5%)  < 0.001
 Non-hispanic black 160 14.9% 29 (20.5%) 57 (13.9%) 74 (14.2%)
 Hispanic/Latinx 277 31.5% 48 (31.5%) 116 (39.4%) 113 (22.5%)
 Other or multiracial 282 7.9% 41 (8.2%) 124 (9.7%) 117 (5.8%)
Severity of ASD n = 2303
 Mild 1036 39.2% 109 (47.1%) 378 (36.3%) 549 (39.7%) 0.19
 Moderate 858 42.4% 124 (33.0%) 326 (46.5%) 408 (41.1%)
 Severe 237 9.8% 39 (14.0%) 75 (7.6%) 123 (10.8%)
 Missing 172 8.6% 21 (5.9%) 61 (9.6%) 90 (8.4%)
Parental education n = 2298
 High school graduate (or less) 387 34.6% 52 (33.0%) 154 (41.4%) 181 (27.2%) 0.25
 AA or Some college 595 23.5% 65 (25.0%) 218 (19.9%) 312 (27.2%)
 Bachelor’s degree (or higher) 1316 41.8% 176 (41.0%) 467 (38.7%) 673 (45.7%)
Family income, % of FPL n = 2303
  < 100% 321 26.5% 46 (29.0%) 131 (27.0%) 145 (25.6%) 0.47
 100–199% 451 26.8% 57 (27.5%) 182 (30.8%) 212 (22.7%)
 200–399% 711 24.2% 99 (24.2%) 242 (21.3%) 370 (25.4%)
  > 400% 820 22.5% 92 (19.3%) 285 (20.9%) 443 (26.3%)
Family structure n = 2303
 Two-parent household 1684 69.8% 225 (67.7%) 615 (73.0%) 844 (67.0%) 0.42
 Other household/missing 619 30.2% 68 (32.3%) 225 (27.0%) 326 (33.1%)
Presence of older sibling n = 2303
 Yes 563 36.2% 118 (48.5%) 285 (48.8%) 160 (17.8%)  < 0.001
 No 1740 63.8% 175 (51.5%) 555 (51.1%) 1010 (82.3%)
Type of healthcare provider to diagnose n = 2303
 Specialist 822 32.6% 128 (40.0%) 291 (30.6%) 403 (32.3%) 0.26
 Primary care physician 281 12.6% 38 (16.3%) 108 (12.5%) 135 (11.3%)
 School psychologist 257 14.3% 27 (10.8%) 99 (17.5%) 131 (11.9%)
 Non-school psychologist 378 13.6% 39 (15.5%) 149 (12.9%) 190 (13.7%)
 Psychiatrist 275 9.7% 20 (4.4%) 94 (8.7%) 161 (12.7%)
 Other, unknown or missing 290 17.3% 41 (12.9%) 99 (17.9%) 150 (18.1%)
  1. aBolded p-values denote statistical significance at p < 0.05. ASD autism spectrum disorder. FPL % of federal poverty level
  2. All analyses were weighted to account for the complex survey design