Data and Statistics for Cerebral Palsy
Prevalence and Characteristics
- Cerebral palsy (CP) is the most common motor disability in childhood. 1
- Recent population-based studies from around the world report prevalence estimates of CP ranging from 1 to nearly 4 per 1,000 live births or per 1,000 children. 2-10
- About 1 in 345 children (3 per 1,000 8-year-old children) in the United States have been identified with CP, according to 2010 estimates from CDC’s Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring (ADDM) Network. Read summaryexternal icon
- The prevalence of CP is higher for children born preterm or at low birthweight.2-5, 10
- In some parts of the world, there is evidence that the prevalence of CP has declined, particularly for children born at moderately or very low birthweight.2-4,10
- CDC tracks CP through the Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring (ADDM) CP Network.
- In 2010, the ADDM CP Network included areas of Alabama, Georgia, Missouri, and Wisconsin. Among 8-year-old children who lived in these four communities in 2010, the ADDM CP data found: Read summaryexternal icon
- CP was significantly more common among Black children than white children. Hispanic children and white children were about equally likely to have CP.
- Most (82.9%) of the children identified with CP had spastic CP.
- More than half (58.9%) of the children identified with CP could walk independently.
- In 2010, 58.9% of children with CP could walk independently, 7.8% walked using a hand-held mobility device, and 33.3% had limited or no walking ability. Read summaryexternal icon
- According to 2006 data from the ADDM CP Network, Black children with cerebral palsy were 1.7 times more likely to have limited or no walking ability compared with white children. Read summaryexternal icon
- Another study found that 41% of children with CP were limited in their ability to crawl, walk, run, or play, and 31% needed to use special equipment such as walkers or wheelchairs. Read articleexternal icon
Co-Occurring Developmental Disabilities
- About 4 in 10 (42%) of the children identified with CP by the ADDM CP Network in 2010 had co-occurring epilepsy. Read summaryexternal icon
- Some (7.5%) of the children identified in 2010 with CP also had autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Read summaryexternal icon
- It is important to note that the overall identified prevalence of ASD among children in the United States in 2016 was between 1%-2%.11 That means that the identified prevalence of ASD among children with CP is much higher than among their peers without CP.
Trends in Cerebral Palsy Prevalence
- A study conducted using data from 20 population-based CP registries in Europe reported that the overall prevalence of CP declined from 1.90 to 1.77 per 1,000 live births between 1980 and 2003. Read Summaryexternal icon
- Declines were seen for children born at moderately low birthweight (1,500-2,499 grams) and very low birthweight (1,000–4,999 grams)
- Prevalence was stable for children born at normal birthweight (≥2,500 grams) and at extremely low birthweight (<1,000 grams)
- A study of CP trends in Australia reported that CP prevalence declined between 1995 and 2009, as did the percentage of children with moderate-to-severe disability. Read Summaryexternal icon
- Similar to the study in Europe, data from metropolitan Atlanta indicate the birth prevalence of CP was 1.90 per 1,000 live births in 1985 and 1.80 per 1,000 live births in 2002. Read Summaryexternal icon
- A study in the ADDM CP Network reported that the prevalence of CP among 8-year-old children declined from 3.5 to 2.9 per 1,000 between 2006 and 2010. Read Summaryexternal icon
- Among children enrolled in Medicaid in 2005, medical costs were higher for children with cerebral palsy. Costs were highest for children with both cerebral palsy and intellectual disability. Read summaryexternal icon
- Medical costs for children with cerebral palsy alone were 10 times higher than for children without cerebral palsy or intellectual disability ($16,721 vs. $1,674 in 2005 dollars).
- Medical costs for children with both cerebral palsy and intellectual disability were 26 times higher than for children without cerebral palsy or intellectual disability ($43,338 vs. $1,674 in 2005 dollars).
- CDC has estimated that the lifetime cost to care for an individual with CP is nearly $1 million (2003 dollars). Read article
- It also has been estimated that the combined lifetime costs for all people with CP who were born in 2000 will total $11.5 billion in direct and indirect costs. Read article
- Capute and Accardo’s Neurodevelopmental Disabilities in Infancy and Childhood, Third Edition. Edited by Pasquale J. Accardo, MD. 2008, Paul H. Brookes Publishing Co, Baltimore, MD. p17.
- Sellier E, Platt MJ, Andersen GL, Krägeloh-Mann I, De La Cruz J, Cans C (2015). Decreasing prevalence in cerebral palsy: a multi‐site European population‐based study, 1980 to 2003. Developmental Medicine and Child Neurology, 58(1):85-92.
- Galea C, Mcintyre S, Smithers-Sheedy H, et al (2019). Cerebral palsy trends in Australia (1995-2009): a population-based observational study. Developmental Medicine and Child Neurology, 61(2):186-193.
- Durkin MS, Benedict RE, Christensen D, et al (2016). Prevalence of Cerebral Palsy among 8-Year-Old Children in 2010 and Preliminary Evidence of Trends in Its Relationship to Low Birthweight. Paediatric and Perinatal Epidemiology, 30(5):496-510.
- Oskoui M, Coutinho F, Dykeman J, Jetté N, Pringsheim T (2013). An update on the prevalence of cerebral palsy: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Developmental Medicine and Child Neurology, 55(6):509-19.
- McGuire DO, Tian LH, Yeargin-Allsopp M, Dowling NF, Christensen DL (2019). Prevalence of cerebral palsy, intellectual disability, hearing loss, and blindness, National Health Interview survey, 2009-2016. Disability and Health Journal, 12(3):443-51.
- Maenner MJ, Blumberg SJ, Kogan MD, Christensen D, Yeargin-Allsopp M, Schieve LA (2016). Prevalence of cerebral palsy and intellectual disability among children identified in two U.S. National Surveys, 2011-2013. Annals of Epidemiology, 26(3):222-6.
- Boyle CA, Boulet S, Schieve LA (2011). Trends in the prevalence of developmental disabilities in US children, 1997-2008. Pediatrics, 127(6):1034-42.
- Christensen D, Van Naarden Braun K, Doernberg NS, et al (2014). Prevalence of cerebral palsy, co-occurring autism spectrum disorders, and motor functioning–Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring Network, USA, 2008. Developmental Medicine and Child Neurology, 56(1): 59-65.
- Van Naarden Braun K, Doernberg N, Schieve L, Christensen D, Goodman A, Yeargin-Allsopp M (2016). Birth Prevalence of Cerebral Palsy: A Population-Based Study. Pediatrics, 137(1): e20152872.
- Maenner MJ, Shaw KA, Baio J, et al (2020). Prevalence of Autism Spectrum Disorder Among Children Aged 8 Years — Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring Network, 11 Sites, United States, 2016. MMWR Surveillance Summaries, 69(No. SS-4)): 1-12.
Page last reviewed: December 30, 2020