In 2004, the PA Autism Task Force noted that the number of individuals with autism spectrum disorder or “autism”
receiving services was unknown in Pennsylvania. In response, the PA Department of Human Services (DHS)
(formerly the Department of Public Welfare), Bureau of Autism Services (BAS) conducted the 2009 Pennsylvania
Autism Census to estimate the number of individuals with autism in the Commonwealth receiving services. The
findings of the original study informed service and program planning efforts in PA. In order to continue this work, BAS commissioned a Census Update. This document outlines the key findings of the 2014 Pennsylvania Autism
Census Update, which provides the most recent data on Pennsylvania’s population with autism.
Why does this matter?
Identifying individuals with autism who
are receiving services is important for
program planning for the state. Learn-
ing how many individuals with autism
are receiving services, as well as char-
acterizing their demographics and loca-
tion, helps with the design of effective
The 2009 Pennsylvania Autism Census Project identified nearly 20,000 Pennsylvanians with autism receiving
services. In the 2014 Pennsylvania Autism Census Update, that number has risen to over 55,000 children and adults in PA with autism receiving services. Data has shown that between the two time points, there was a 181% overall increase in the number of individuals with autism receiving services, and a 334% increase in adults 21+, making adults the fastest growing group.
High population areas coincide with high areas of individuals with autism receiving services. For example, Allegheny County has the
highest number of individuals, followed by Philadelphia County.
High population areas coincide with high areas of adults with autism receiving services. Knowing where there is a significant number of adults with autism
receiving services can help determine the best design for services, and inform policy and planning.
Of the latter, Fayette and Westmoreland Counties have a high presence of adults on the spectrum. Likewise, Westmoreland county had a much higher populace of individuals at the time. We will look into these two counties tomorrow