People WIth Disabilities: Statistics

FACTS for Features
From U.S. Census Bureau News, U.S. Department of Commerce
CB09-FF.13 May 26, 2009

On July 26, 1990, President George H.W. Bush signed into law the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), guaranteeing equal opportunity for people with disabilities in public accommodations, commercial facilities, employment, transportation, state and local government services, and telecommunications.

Population Distribution

41.2 million
Number of people who have some level of disability. They represent 15 percent of the civilian noninstitutionalized population 5 and older.

  • 6 percent of children 5 to 15 have disabilities.
  • 12 percent of people 16 to 64 have disabilities.
  • 41 percent of adults 65 and older have disabilities.
    (Source: 2007 American Community Survey)
  • 15 percent of females have with a disability, compared with 14 percent of males. Source: 2007 American Community Survey

    Using or Needing Assistance

    11 million
    Number of disabled people age 6 and older who need personal assistance with everyday activities. This group amounts to 4 percent of people in this age category. These activities include such tasks as getting around inside the home, taking a bath or shower, preparing meals and performing light housework.

    3.3 million
    Number of people 15 and older who use a wheelchair. Another 10.2 million use an ambulatory aid such as a cane, crutches or walker.

    Specific Disabilities

    1.8 million
    Number of people 15 and older who report being unable to see printed words at all or were blind.

    1 million
    Number of people 15 and older who reported deafness or being unable to hear conversations at all.

    2.5 million
    Number of people 15 and older who have some difficulty having their speech understood by others. Of this number, 431,000 were unable to have their speech understood at all.

    16.1 million
    Number of people with limitations in cognitive functioning, or who have a mental or emotional illness that interferes with daily activities, including those with Alzheimer's disease and mental retardation. This group comprises 7 percent of the population 15 and older. This included 8.4 million with one or more problems that interfere with daily activities, such as frequently being depressed or anxious, trouble getting along with others, trouble concentrating and trouble coping with stress.

    On the Job

    13.3 million
    Number of 16- to 64-year-olds who reported a medical condition that makes it difficult to find a job or remain employed. They comprise 7 percent of the population this age.

    46 percent of people 21 to 64 having some type of disability who were employed in the past year. The rate ranged from 75 percent of those with a nonsevere disability to 31 percent with a severe disability. For those without a disability, the employment rate is 84 percent for the same period.

    59 percent of people 21 to 64 with difficulty hearing that were employed.

    41 percent of people 21 to 64 with difficulty seeing that were employed.

    48 percent of people 21 to 64 with a nonsevere disability who work full time. This compares with 63 percent without a disability and 16 percent with a severe disability.

    Income and Poverty

    $2,250 - Median monthly earnings for people 21 to 64 with a nonsevere disability. This compares with $2,539 for those with no disability and $1,458 for those with a severe disability.

    $2,252 - Median monthly earnings for people 21 to 64 with difficulty hearing.

    $1,932 - Median monthly earnings for people 21 to 64 with difficulty seeing.

    12 percent is the poverty rate for people 25 to 64 with a nonsevere disability. This compares with 27 percent for those with a severe disability and 9 percent of those without a disability.

    Serving Our Nation

    $28.2 billion - The amount of compensation veterans received for service-connected disabilities in fiscal year 2007. Source: Statistical Abstract of the United States: 2009, Table 505 http://www.census.gov/compendia/statab/.

    Accommodations

    98.5 percent of transit buses that were ADA lift- or ramp-equipped, as of 2006. This represents an increase from 61.7 percent in 1995. Source: Statistical Abstract of the United States: 2009, Table 1075 http://www.census.gov/compendia/statab.

    Unless otherwise indicated, all the data are from the Americans with Disabilities: 2005 report at http://www.census.gov/Press-Release/www/releases/archives/income_wealth/013041.html. [Note: this page has since been moved; try: http://www.census.gov/prod/2008pubs/p70-117.pdf]

    Census Bureau Editor's note: The preceding data were collected from a variety of sources and may be subject to sampling variability and other sources of error. Facts for Features are customarily released about two months before an observance in order to accommodate magazine production timelines. Questions or comments should be directed to the Census Bureau's Public Information Office: telephone: 301-763-3030; fax: 301-763-3762; or e-mail: pio@census.gov.

    SOURCE: Thanks to John Hudson and the Northern Virginia Resource Center, Fairfax, Virginia, May 2009.