Overall, tic disorders occur more commonly in children than in adults and more so in males than in females. They are observed with higher frequency in special education populations. Provisional tic disorders (lasting <1 year) appear to be very common in childhood and have been estimated to occur in up to 20% of primary school children. Chronic tic disorder (motor or phonic tics for >1 year) occurs less commonly; population-based surveys indicate that the prevalence of chronic tic disorders is 1% to 3%. Tourette's syndrome (multiple motor and at least one phonic tic for >1 year) has a population-based prevalence in children of 0.3% to 0.9%; prevalence is higher in males, with a male to female ratio of 3:1, and the mean age of onset is between 6 and 7 years. Tourette's syndrome in the US is diagnosed more commonly in non-Hispanic white young people than in Hispanic and non-Hispanic black young people.
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