Disability Stats

Disabilities in the US

Source: U.S. Census Bureau

Published: Jul 26, 2011 (Revised: Jul 26, 2011)

Abstract: Figures facts and statistics relating to disability in America today supplied by the U.S. Census Bureau.

Detail: Census Bureau News – Facts for Features: Anniversary of Americans with Disabilities Act: July 26.

On July 26th 19 years ago, the Americans with Disabilities Act became effective. Signed into law two years earlier, the goal was to guarantee equal opportunity for people with disabilities in public and commercial facilities.

The Americans with Disabilities Act guarantees equal opportunity for people with disabilities in public accommodations, commercial facilities, employment, transportation, state and local government services and telecommunications.

Quick Facts:

There are 36 million people who have at least one disability, about 12 percent of the total U.S. population.

Those with vision difficulties number 6.5 million, while 19.4 million have problems walking or climbing stairs.

Another 13.5 million have difficulty concentrating, remembering, or making decisions.

Population Distribution:

36 million – Number of people who have a disability. They represent 12 percent of the civilian noninstitutionalized population.

By age:

* 5 percent of children 5 to 17 have disabilities.

* 10 percent of people 18 to 64 have disabilities.

* 37 percent of adults 65 and older have disabilities.

12.3% – Percentage of females with a disability, compared with 11.6 percent of males.

18.8% – Percentage of people with a disability in West Virginia, highest of all states. Utah has the lowest with 8.9 percent of its residents reporting a disability.

Specific Disabilities:

10.2 million – Number of people who have a hearing difficulty. Of these, 5.8 million are 65 and older.

6.5 million – Number of people with a vision difficulty.

13.5 million – Number of people 5 and older who have difficulty concentrating, remembering or making decisions. Of these, 2.1 million are children 5 to 17 years of age.

19.4 million – Number of people 5 and older who have difficulty walking or climbing stairs.

On the Job:

6% – Percentage of disabled workers 16 and older who use public transportation to commute to work. In addition, 70 percent of people with a disability drive alone, 13 percent carpool, 4 percent walk and 3 percent use a taxicab, motorcycle, bicycle or other means.

22% – Percentage of disabled workers 16 and older who work in the educational services and health care and social assistance industries, the highest of any industry.

Income and Poverty:

21% – Percent of the population age 16 and older with a disability that are below the poverty level. Eleven percent of the population age 16 and older without a disability are below the poverty level.

72% – Percentage of disabled people 16 and older who are not in the labor force. Twenty-seven percent of people without a disability are not in the labor force.

$18,865 – Median earnings of the population age 16 and older with a disability, this compares with $28,983 for the population without a disability.

Serving Our Nation:

$35.3 billion – Amount of compensation veterans received for service-connected disabilities in fiscal year 2008.

Education:

28% – Percentage of people 25 and older with a disability who have less than a high school graduate education. This compares with 12 percent for those with no disability.

13% – Percentage of people 25 and older with a disability who have a bachelor’s degree or higher. This compares with 31 percent for those with no disability.

Source: 2009 American Community Survey http://factfinder.census.gov

NOTE: The preceding data were collected from a variety of sources and may be subject to sampling variability and other sources of error.

This article has 5 comments

  1. I feel that people with disabilities are still not treated equally in today’s society. I still feel that some restrictions are placed on them. When the writer listed all the percentages of people with disabilities and the different kinds of disabilities people face everyday it opened my eyes to the actual number of how many people are actually affected. I had no idea that about 12 % of the United States suffers from some type of disability, it was very shocking to me.

  2. This is a great quick reference for family members or the general public to get aquatinted with how common disability is and serves as a starting point for awareness.

  3. This article was interesting to me because it really reinforced what I have been learning in a class for my Occupational Therapy major. I could relate my knowledge to some of this information.

  4. I did not realize how many people had disabilities. It is very interesting to me and pertains to my goal to become an occupational therapist.

  5. It’s very interesting to discover how many Americans are reported to have a disability. Although the statistics are based on a 2009 report, I wonder how different the report is now, compared to 5 years ago. Regardless, this is very good information that helps support why its important to be aware of different disabilities and find ways to help support those who may need assistance.

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