Developmental Disabilities More Common in Rural Areas

Published on: March 02, 2020. Updated on: October 20, 2020.

About the Data Insights

Developmental disabilities are a collection of conditions resulting from physical, learning, language, or behavioral impairments. Typically, these disabilities persist throughout a person's lifetime. New 2015-to-2018 data from the National Health Statistics Report indicate that 17.8% of all children between the ages of 3 and 17 have been diagnosed with a developmental disability, and shine a light on differences for children living in urban versus rural areas. At 19.8%, diagnosis prevalence is significantly higher among rural children, but they are less likely to see medical professionals or receive special education support services. Early intervention and connection to services is key to helping vulnerable children and families get the support they need.

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Zablotsky B, Black LI. Prevalence of children aged 3–17 years with developmental disabilities, by urbanicity: United States, 2015–2018. National Health Statistics Reports; no 139. Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics. 2020.


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