22 Statistics About Neurodiversity and Employment  

Written By: Menachem Rephun, Communications Manager and Self Advocate

America is currently facing unemployment rates as high as 30 – 40% for neurodiverse adults, three times higher than the rate for people with physical disabilities, and 8 times higher than the rate for non-disabled people, according to data cited by CultureAmp.com. In this post, we’ve gathered 22 lesser-known facts and statistics about neurodiversity and employment in the U.S., to help develop strategies for improving neurodiverse employment and inclusion.

Autism Statistics

  1. Autism (or Autism Spectrum Disorder) is a neurological condition that affects social interaction and communication skills, and can lead to restrictive and repetitive thoughts and behaviors. According to National Autism Association.org, the autism rate has increased steadily over the past twenty years, with 1 in 36 children being diagnosed with autism, along with more than 5.4 million adults.
  2. Unemployment is still one of the most serious issues facing the autism community. Up to 85% of adults with autism in the U.S. are unemployed, according to studies cited by Golden Steps ABA. There are several factors behind this, including a lack of reasonable accommodations in the workplace, misconceptions and stigmas about autism, and lack of awareness among employers about the strengths and talents of people with autism.
  3. Creating more inclusive workplaces is central to improving employment for people with autism. Only 34% of people with autism report feeling well-supported at work, and only 16% of adults with autism have worked full-time for a year or more, according to Golden Steps ABA.
  4. Studies have found that employees with autism have an average wage gap of about 30% compared to their non-autistic co-workers.
  5. Companies can improve autism employment by providing reasonable accommodations and support, including flexible arrangements such as part-time or remote work, assistive technology, and job coaches who can work with individuals personally to help them succeed. More companies and business leaders, including Google, Microsoft, and SAP, are beginning to appreciate the talents of people on the autism spectrum and have implemented programs specifically to include them in the workforce.
  6. The exact cause of autism spectrum disorder is unknown, but it is believed to result from a combination of environmental, genetic, and non-genetic factors.

ADHD Statistics

  1. An estimated 8.7 million adults in the U.S. have Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD), a neurodevelopmental condition whose symptoms include attention difficulty, hyperactivity, and impulsiveness. A 2008 study found that employees with ADHD are 30% more likely to have chronic employment issues.
  2. According to ADD.org, ADHD at work results in 1 out of 3 people with ADHD being unemployed at any time.
  3. While there are challenges that come with ADHD, employees with ADHD also have a wide range of strengths, skills, and capabilities. In an essay for Forbes.com, disability advocate Denise Brodey writes that people with ADHD are often highly intelligent and observant, hyper-focused about problem solving, and are passionate, driven workers.
  4. Thankfully, there are many strategies and reasonable accommodations that employers can implement to help people with ADHD succeed. These include remote work or working in a more solitary environment; encouraging breaks when needed; and mapping out benchmarks of the dates project objectives should be reached by so that employees with ADHD will always know what’s coming up and expected.
  5. As the HR platform GoCo points out, supporting employees with ADHD has many benefits, including improved morale, increased job satisfaction, enhanced productivity, strengthening inclusion, and improving job retention.

Tourette’s Syndrome Statistics

  1. Between 350,000 – 450,000 adults and children in the U.S. have Tourette’s Syndrome, a nervous system disorder whose main symptoms are repetitive, involuntary movements (or “tics”) and/or unwanted sounds. Up to 85% of people with TS also experience conditions such as ADHD, anxiety, and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD).
  2. Despite the protections of the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA), people with Tourette’s Syndrome still experience discrimination in hiring and in the workplace. According to a report from Welcome to the Jungle.com, a convenience store in Missouri was sued in 2019 for refusing to hire an applicant with Tourette’s Syndrome.
  3. Employers can reduce stigma and improve workplace inclusion for employees with Tourette’s by investing in training and awareness programs to educate staff members.
  4. According to Tourette.org, “People with TS have been highly successful in many lines of work, from driving a bus to making feature films to teaching. Those with the best career stories are not always those with “minor” tics—they are those with desirable job skills, and a strong sense of self, and a positive attitude.”
  5. Having Tourette’s does not have to be a barrier to having a meaningful and successful life and career. As CDC.gov points out, “There are people with Tourette who are successful in all walks of life and they work in many areas, including the arts, medicine, sports, and other professions.”

Dyslexia Statistics

  1. Over 40 million Americans (and 780 million people worldwide) have dyslexia, a neurodevelopmental condition that can create challenges with reading, writing, and spelling.
  2. As Understood.org points out, employers can make a difference for employees with dyslexia by communicating their company’s disability inclusion plan to employees at all levels; scheduling regular check-in meetings between employees and managers; and asking what employees need to thrive in their jobs, as well as what they’re most proud of in their work performance.
  3. Dyslexia has nothing to do with intelligence, and employees with dyslexia can succeed at all levels in the workplace. The unemployment rate for adults with dyslexia in the U.S. is around 45%, according to data from the Tremaine Foundation, the International Dyslexia Association, and the National Center for Learning Disabilities.
  4. Some of the strengths and talents of people with dyslexia include creativity; visual-spatial skills, i.e. visualizing complex concepts; problem-solving; and empathy and interpersonal skills. Challenging negative assumptions, misconceptions, and stigma surrounding dyslexia can make a huge difference in improving employment inclusion.
  5. According to the Dyslexia Center of Utah, dyslexia is not an overall language defect, but a localized weakness within the part of the brain where sounds of language are put together to form words or break words down into sounds.
  6. Around 40% of people with dyslexia also have ADHD. People with dyslexia use only the right side of the brain to process language, while people without dyslexia use areas on the left side to process language.


Full references are available on request.

  1. https://nationalautismassociation.org/resources/autism-fact-sheet/?gad_source=1&gclid=Cj0KCQjw0MexBhD3ARIsAEI3WHIG7Nlj6Nh4yFZqMqBUpgja19HclYZQqlPILY8mjPsaXabmALCwqisaApQpEALw_wcB
  2. https://www.goldenstepsaba.com/resources/jobs-for-adults-with-autism#:~:text=Moreover%2C%20it%20is%20predicted%20that,to%20the%20national%20unemployment%20rate
  3. https://add.org/impact-of-adhd-at-work/#:~:text=Risks%20for%20Employees%20with%20Untreated%20ADHD&text=Loss%20of%20Employment%20%E2%80%93%20Employees%20with,impulsively%20(Barkley%2C%202008).
  4. https://www.forbes.com/sites/denisebrodey/2018/10/04/what-employees-with-adhd-want-you-to-know/?sh=252cd2d03379
  5. https://www.goco.io/blog/managing-and-supporting-employees-with-adhd
  6. https://www.goco.io/blog/managing-and-supporting-employees-with-adhd
  7. https://tourette.org/about-tourette/tourette-syndrome-workplace/
  8. https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/tourette/features/tourette-five-things.html#:~:text=The%20motor%20and%20vocal%20tics,itch%20or%20having%20to%20sneeze
  9. https://www.understood.org/en/articles/a-day-in-the-life-of-an-employee-with-dyslexia
  10. http://videoverite.tv/pages/film-JID-dyslexia-facts.html

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