Online discussions on autism surge worldwide – who's talking about it?
May 16th, 2024, Clifton Mark

Online discussions on autism surge worldwide – who's talking about it?

  • Online interest in autism growing, especially in Anglophone countries.
  • Majority of those discussing autism online are 30-44 years old.
  • Autism audiences more likely to engage with carmakers and hardware brands.
  • Those interested in autism are more likely to discuss animated TV series and series with cerebral leads.

    According to a recent YouGov report online interest in autism is rising quickly around the world. The report examines online discussions of neurodiversity conditions, including autism, ADHD, and dyslexia.

Learn more about the ADHD, autism and dyslexia online discussionDownload full report

Who’s talking about autism around the world?

YouGov Signal tracks search activity for relevant keywords in each territory and assigns an “Indexed Search Volume” score to each keyword, which reflects public interest in a topic or title. Searches for “autism” have risen in 10 out of 11 of the territories for which we have data, and only fallen in one.

Latin American countries Argentina and Brazil showed the greatest online interest in autism in 2023, with Spain in third place. Mexico also showed a growing interest in the topic in 2023, with an 83% growth in Indexed Search Volume.

Anglophone countries stand out for rapid growth in autism interest. Search volume nearly tripled in the UK, growing by 191% from 2019-2023. Growth was even more pronounced in Canada (200%) and Australia (254%). The US also showed 75% growth in “autism” searches.

Demographics of those discussing autism online

YouGov Signal delves deeper than simply analyzing search trends. It also tracks ongoing online discussion about a topic, revealing the demographics of participants and what they’re saying. According to the YouGov Signal report based on English-language tweets about autism, the online audience appears slightly skewed towards women (57%).

Additionally, the data suggests a gap in online engagement by age group. Younger individuals (under 30) make up only 8% of the online conversation, while three-fifths (60%) are aged 30-44 years.

What do people talk about when they talk about autism? What brands and media titles are they interested in?

Conversational analysis from YouGov Signal shows conversations shows what other keywords come up when people are talking about autism. “ADHD” is the fourth most common keyword, and “mental health” the 12th. Educational needs for autistic students are also at the forefront with “kid” and “school” also high on the keyword list.

Signal also shows affinities between different topics, titles and brands. Affinities measure how much more likely someone who talks about one thing online will also engage with another. Below are a few examples of affinities shared by people who are discussing autism online.

People who engage with autism topics online are 4.4x more likely to talk about electric cars, 6.03x as likely to talk about Chrysler and 5.33x more likely to talk about GMC.

Autism audiences also have favorite snack brand, being 4.49x more likely to engage with Hershey’s and 2.34x with Heinz. Tools and hardware are also of interest to those talking about autism, with a 2.55x affinity.

Among media titles, those interested in autism are more likely to be fans of animated shows (Peppa Pig, The Ghost and Molly McGee and Owl House) and shows with cerebral leads, such as House, Sherlock and Picard.

Learn more about the ADHD, autism and dyslexia online discussionDownload full report

Explore our living data - for free

Discover more health and pharma content  here

Want to run your own research? Run a survey now

Make smarter business decisions with better intelligence. Understand exactly what your audience is thinking by leveraging our panel of 20 million+ members. Speak with us today.

Methodology: Signal combines A.I. with digital, social, survey and marketing data collected across 42 territories to create insights, recommendations, and strategies for our clients. We help discover your different audiences, track their demand for content, and market to them more efficiently.