Cerebral Palsy Statistics
Cerebral palsy—both the causes and treatments—has been arduously studied by doctors and researchers for decades. Diagnosis of a child’s cerebral palsy can be heart-wrenching for parents, particularly when they have little familiarity with this condition. Some background information and statistics can help as family members cope with understanding the lifelong care and treatment that will be necessary.
What is Cerebral Palsy?
Cerebral palsy (CP) is a physical disability that that impairs a person’s ability to move. It does this not by affecting the muscles, but by affecting the brain and thereby its ability to communicate with those muscles. The effects are vast—it can limit body movement, coordination, muscle tone, balance and posture, as well as motor skills. People with cerebral palsy often have other limitations—intellectual disabilities, impaired hearing or vision, and seizures, among others. There is no known cure, though there are treatments and therapies that can alleviate some of the effects. CP is a permanent, lifelong condition that varies in severity from individual to individual. Some people with cerebral palsy can live independent and productive lives. On the other end of the spectrum, some require specialized twenty-four hour care for their entire lives.
Cerebral Palsy Statistics
- Cerebral palsy is the most common childhood motor disability (Centers for Disease Control)
- 17 million people have cerebral palsy worldwide (Cerebral Palsy Alliance)
- There are more than 764,000 Americans with cerebral palsy (United Cerebral Palsy)
- A child is born with cerebral palsy every 15 hours in Australia (Cerebral Palsy Alliance)
- 10,000 infants are diagnosed with cerebral palsy every year in the United States (WebMD)
- However, diagnosis does not typically occur until age 2 or 3 (American Pregnancy Association)
- Boys are more likely to have cerebral palsy than girls (United Cerebral Palsy). The ratio is 1.4 to 1.
- Blacks are more likely to have cerebral palsy than Whites or Hispanics (Centers for Disease Control)
- Almost 60% of children with CP can walk independently (Centers for Disease Control)
- 60% of 8-year olds with cerebral palsy have another developmental disability (Centers for Disease Control)
- One in five people with cerebral palsy cannot talk (Cerebral Palsy Foundation)
- One in ten people with cerebral palsy have significant vision impairment (Cerebral Palsy Foundation)
- 60% of children born who are diagnosed with cerebral palsy are born full-term (Cerebral Palsy Foundation)
- The CDC estimates that the lifetime cost to care for a person with cerebral palsy is $1 million in 2003 dollars (Centers for Disease Control)
There is much that we do not know about cerebral palsy, but our understanding of this disability increases every year. As our knowledge base grows, our ability to prevent cerebral palsy and our ability to alleviate some of its harsher effects increases, as well. There’s no way to know whether it will ever be eradicated, but for now we can give better lives to those people who live with it every day. If you have questions about cerebral palsy birth injuries, contact us at (440) 252-4399, or send us your questions online.