EDISON - More kids across the country are being diagnosed as autistic: the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) say about one in 88 children are diagnosed nationwide. New Jersey remains high on the list, with one in 49 diagnosed with the disorder.

The latest numbers are based on 2008 data from 14 states and suggest that autism rates have climbed 23 percent since 2006. Rates are highest in white children, and the disorder is more common in boys: the report says that boys are five times more likely to be autistic than girls. No one has been able to pinpoint an exact cause of what is driving up the number of cases. Experts, including CDC researchers, think broader screening and better diagnosis have largely contributed to the increase in cases.