Cerebral Palsy Facts & Statistics

Of all the potential childhood disabilities in existence, cerebral palsy is the most common and affects approximately one to three out of every 1,000 live births in the United States. Today we’re going to look at a few facts and statistics about this commonly misunderstood disability.


Is Cerebral Palsy Truly Common?

Cerebral Palsy Statistics

Cerebral Palsy Facts & Statistics

Statistics regarding cerebral palsy have been quoted quite commonly in the United States and are as follows:

  • Cerebral palsy affects approximately 764,000 children and adults in America.
  • Globally, over 17 million people have Cerebral Palsy.
  • Approximately 500,000 children who have not yet reached their 18th birthday suffer from cerebral palsy.
  • Out of every 1,000 live births, approximately two to three children are afflicted with cerebral palsy.
  • There are a total of 8,000 to 10,000 babies and infants who are diagnosed with cerebral palsy annually.
  • In any given year, medical professionals diagnose between 1,200 and 1,500 preschool aged children with cerebral palsy.

Study Results

Since the mid-1980s researchers have attempted to determine statistical information regarding the prevalence and incidence of cerebral palsy in the United States. The Center for Disease Control was involved in many of these studies either directly or indirectly. Some of the information provided in these studies included:

  • Cerebral palsy is caused by damage to one or more specific areas of the brain. This usually occurs during fetal development either before, during or shortly after birth; during infancy; or during early childhood years.
  • Between 2.3 and 3.6 children out of every 1,000 develops cerebral palsy.
  • Of children with CP, 41% have co-occurring epilepsy.
  • Cerebral palsy is more common among boys than among girls.
  • CP was more common among black children, while hispanic and white children were about equally as likely to have cerebral palsy.
  • 58.2% of children with CP could walk independently, 11.3% walked using a hand-held mobility device, and 30.6% had limited or no walking ability (according to a 2008 study).
  • The CDC estimated (in 2003) that the lifetime cost to care for an individual with cerebral palsy is nearly $1 million (~$1,290,000 in 2014, adjusted for inflation).
  • The most common type of CP is spastic cerebral palsy (both hemiplegia and diplegia) which accounts for between 61 and 77.4 percent of all diagnosed cerebral palsy cases.
    • A 2002 study surveyed 8-year-old children in northern Alabama, metropolitan Atlanta, and southeastern Wisconsin. A total of 114,897 children were analyzed, and the study showed 3.6 children of every 1,000 suffered from cerebral palsy, and 76.9 of those children suffered from spastic cerebral palsy.
    • In 1996 and 2000 two similar studies were conducted and also surveyed 8-year old cerebral palsy children, but it surveyed an additional four developmental disabilities. The study in 1996 showed a prevalence of 3.6 cases for every 1,000 children while the 2000 study showed only 3.1 cases for every 1,000 children. The source of the data for the study was educational records from nine public school systems as well as alternative sources of education and clinical records from private and public health care facilities. It’s important to note there were 36,749 children in the 1996 study and 43,593 in 2000.
    • A 1991-1994 study focused on the frequency of recurring developmental disabilities in the metropolitan Atlanta area. This was a different type of study and mothers who bore two or more children with cerebral palsy or other types of developmental disabilities between 1981 and 1991. The evidence suggested that those with one child affected by a developmental disability had an increased potential of giving birth to another child with a developmental disability; from two percent to an average of three to seven percent.
    •  A 1985-1987 study was a two-year study whose purpose was to identify 10-year-old children with cerebral palsy and any other types of developmental disabilities within the five counties of Atlanta. The conclusion was that cerebral palsy affected 2.3 children of every 1,000 children.

For more information on cerebral palsy, feel free to browse our website, http://www.cerebral-palsy-information.com/. For legal questions, we recommend speaking with an attorney at Rasansky Law Firm.

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