Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 45, Issue 4, pp 988–1000 | Cite as

Spatial Relative Risk Patterns of Autism Spectrum Disorders in Utah

  • Amanda V. Bakian
  • Deborah A. Bilder
  • Hilary Coon
  • William M. McMahon
Original Paper


Heightened areas of spatial relative risk for autism spectrum disorders (ASD), or ASD hotspots, in Utah were identified using adaptive kernel density functions. Children ages four, six, and eight with ASD from multiple birth cohorts were identified by the Utah Registry of Autism and Developmental Disabilities. Each ASD case was gender-matched to 20 birth cohort controls. Demographic and socioeconomic characteristics of children born inside versus outside ASD hotspots were compared. ASD hotspots were found in the surveillance area for all but one birth cohort and age group sample; maximum relative risk in these hotspots ranged from 1.8 to 3.0. Associations were found between higher socioeconomic status and birth residence in an ASD hotspot in five out of six birth cohort and age group samples.


Ascertainment age Autism spectrum disorders Diagnostic age Maternal residential birth address Socioeconomic status Spatial analysis Race/ethnicity 



Autism surveillance data was obtained through Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Cooperative Agreement UR3DD000685-03. Research analysis was supported by the Utah Registry of Autism and Developmental Disabilities, the National Institute of Mental Health of the National Institutes of Health under Award Number R01MH094400, and University of Utah Department of Psychiatry funds. Thank you to Drs. Harper Randall, Paul Carbone, Marc Babitz, Eric Fombonne, Barry Nangle and Sam LeFevre for feedback on earlier versions of this manuscript. Brian Robison provided editorial assistance. We are extremely grateful to our health and education data sources for their data contributions.

Conflict of interest

The authors have no conflicts of interest to disclose.

Ethical standard

Approval to conduct this research was granted by the University of Utah and Utah Department of Health’s Institutional Review Boards. This manuscript does not contain clinical studies or patient data.

Supplementary material

10803_2014_2253_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (167 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (PDF 167 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Amanda V. Bakian
    • 1
  • Deborah A. Bilder
    • 1
  • Hilary Coon
    • 1
  • William M. McMahon
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychiatryUniversity of UtahSalt Lake CityUSA

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