2015 Disability Status Report: United States

Table of Contents

The 2015 Annual Disability Status Report

The Annual Disability Status Reports provide policy makers, disability advocates, reporters, and the public with a summary of the most recent demographic and economic statistics on the non-institutionalized population with disabilities. They contain information on the population size and disability prevalence for various demographic subpopulations, as well as statistics related to employment, earnings, household income, veterans' service-connected disability and health insurance. Comparisons are made to people without disabilities and across disability types. Disability Status Reports and other statistics are available for the United States overall, each state, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico at www.disabilitystatistics.org.

The Status Reports primarily look at the working-age population because the employment gap between people with and without disabilities is a major focus of government programs and advocacy efforts. Employment is also a key factor in the social integration and economic self-sufficiency of working-age people with disabilities.

The information in this report is based on data from the US Census Bureau's American Community Survey (ACS) - a survey sent each year to a random sample of over 3.5 million households. For more information see the Census Bureau's ACS website http://www.census.gov/acs/www/ and our Guide to Disability Statistics from the American Community Survey (2008 Forward): http://disabilitystatistics.org/sources.cfm.

The estimates in these reports are based on responses from a sample of the population and may differ from actual population values because of sampling variability and other factors. Differences observed between the estimates for two or more groups may not be statistically significant.

http://www.census.gov/people/disability/methodology/acs.html

 

Suggested Citation

Erickson, W. Lee, C., & von Schrader, S. (2016). 2015 Disability Status Report: United States. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Yang Tan Institute on Employment and Disability (YTI).

We would like to thank Sara VanLooy, Jason Criss, and Joe Williams for their assistance with editing and production of this document.

ACS Disability Questions

There is no single accepted definition of disability. Different definitions and disability questions may identify different populations with disabilities and result in larger or smaller estimates.

Below are the six questions used in the ACS to identify persons with disabilities. Note that the Census Bureau refers to each of the individual types as "difficulty" while in this report the term "disability" is used.

  • Hearing Disability (asked of all ages):
    • Is this person deaf or does he/she have serious difficulty hearing?
  • Visual Disability (asked of all ages):
    • Is this person blind or does he/she have serious difficulty seeing even when wearing glasses?
  • Cognitive Disability (asked of persons ages 5 or older):
    • Because of a physical, mental, or emotional condition, does this person have serious difficulty concentrating, remembering, or making decisions?
  • Ambulatory Disability (asked of persons ages 5 or older):
    • Does this person have serious difficulty walking or climbing stairs?
  • Self-Care Disability (asked of persons ages 5 or older):
    • Does this person have difficulty dressing or bathing?
  • Independent Living Disability (asked of persons ages 15 or older):
    • Because of a physical, mental, or emotional condition, does this person have difficulty doing errands alone such as visiting a doctor's office or shopping?

Note:

  • The "Any Disability" category used in this report includes persons who reported one or more of the individual disability types.
  • Respondents could report more than one disability type.
  • Some disability questions were not asked of children.
  • A separate set of survey questions identify veterans with service-connected disabilities. Based on a separate set of survey questions, this report includes estimates related to veterans' service-connected disability
    (see page 51).

 

Notes

Spanish Language Reports: Spanish language versions of the Annual Disability Status Reports for the US, all 50 states, Puerto Rico, and Washington D.C. can be downloaded at the same location as the English Status Reports. The Spanish translation was made possible through funding from the Northeast ADA Center and NIDILRR.

Puerto Rico: A Puerto Rico Disability Status Report, based on the parallel 2015 Puerto Rico Community Survey (PRCS), is available again this year in English as well as Spanish. However, please note that the Puerto Rico sample is not included in any U.S. population estimates included in these reports.

Group Quarters: In 2006, the ACS began surveying the group quarters population. We include the non-institutionalized group quarters population, but due to small state level sample sizes exclude the institutionalized group quarters population (see glossary) in the Disability Status Reports.

Margin of Error (MOE): As in previous years' reports we provide the 90% MOE to better illustrate sampling variability. See the glossary entry for more information on this topic.

Glossary: As in previous years, we provide a comprehensive glossary at the back of this report defining the terms used in the Disability Status Report (see glossary).

Note: According to the Census Bureau, estimates based on the ACS Public Use Microdata Sample (PUMS) file such as those included in this report may differ slightly from the ACS summary tables produced by the Census Bureau, because they are subject to additional sampling error and further data processing operations. Please see http://www.disabilitystatistics.org/faq.cfm#Q4 for further information.

United States Summary

These statistics indicate the social and economic status of non-institutionalized people with disabilities in the United States, using data from the 2015 American Community Survey (ACS).

Age: In 2015, the prevalence of disability in the US was:

  • 12.6 percent for persons of all ages
  • 0.7 percent for persons ages 4 and under
  • 5.3 percent for persons ages 5 to 15
  • 5.9 percent for persons ages 16 to 20
  • 10.7 percent for persons ages 21 to 64
  • 25.4 percent for persons ages 65 to 74
  • 49.8 percent for persons ages 75+

Disability Type: In 2015, the prevalence of the six disability types among persons of all ages in the US was:

  • 2.3% reported a Visual Disability
  • 3.5% reported a Hearing Disability
  • 7.0% reported an Ambulatory Disability
  • 5.1% reported a Cognitive Disability
  • 2.7% reported a Self-Care Disability
  • 5.6% reported an Independent Living Disability

Gender: In 2015, 12.7 percent of females of all ages and 12.5 percent of males of all ages in the US reported a disability.

Hispanic/Latino: In 2015, the prevalence of disability among persons of all ages of Hispanic or Latino origin in the US was 8.7 percent.

Race: In the US in 2015, the prevalence of disability for working-age people (ages 21 to 64) was:

  • 10.7 percent among Whites
  • 13.8 percent among Black / African Americans
  • 4.4 percent among Asians
  • 17.7 percent among Native Americans
  • 9.8 percent among persons of some other race(s)

Employment: In 2015, the employment rate of working-age people (ages 21 to 64) with disabilities in the US was 35.2 percent.

Looking for Work: In the US in 2015, the percentage actively looking for work among people with disabilities who were not working was 8.3 percent.

Full-Time/Full-Year Employment: In the US in 2015, the percentage of working-age people with disabilities working full-time/full-year was 22.0 percent.

Annual Earnings: In 2015, the median annual earnings of working-age people with disabilities working full-time/full-year in the US was $40,100.

Annual Household Income: In the US in 2015, the median annual income of households with working-age people with disabilities was $41,600.

Poverty: In the US in 2015, the poverty rate of working-age people with disabilities was 27.0 percent.

Supplemental Security Income: In 2015, the percentage of working-age people with disabilities receiving SSI payments in the US was 19.3 percent.

Educational Attainment: In 2015, the percentage of working-age people with disabilities in the US:

  • with only a high school diploma or equivalent was 34.4 percent
  • with only some college or an associate degree was 31.5 percent
  • with a bachelor's degree or more was 14.0 percent.

Veterans Service-Connected Disability: In 2015, the percentage of working-age civilian veterans with a VA determined Service-Connected Disability was 23.6 percent in the US.

Health Insurance Coverage: In 2015 in the US, 89.6 percent of working-age people with disabilities had health insurance.

Prevalence: Ages 21 - 64

This summary lists percentages by state of non-institutionalized working-age (ages 21 to 64) people with disabilities using data from the 2015 American Community Survey (ACS). The US disability prevalence rate for this population was 10.7%

Location 2015 (%) Location 2015 (%)
Alabama 15.5 Montana 12.5
Alaska 10.8 Nebraska 9.8
Arizona 10.7 Nevada 11.6
Arkansas 15.9 New Hampshire 11.3
California 8.4 New Jersey 7.7
Colorado 8.6 New Mexico 13.0
Connecticut 8.7 New York 9.0
Delaware 9.4 North Carolina 12.4
District of Columbia 9.2 North Dakota 7.8
Florida 10.2 Ohio 12.6
Georgia 10.8 Oklahoma 14.2
Hawaii 8.2 Oregon 13.0
Idaho 12.4 Pennsylvania 11.9
Illinois 8.7 Puerto Rico 18.3
Indiana 12.5 Rhode Island 11.6
Iowa 10.0 South Carolina 13.0
Kansas 10.5 South Dakota 11.2
Kentucky 16.1 Tennessee 14.3
Louisiana 13.3 Texas 10.0
Maine 14.8 Utah 9.3
Maryland 8.6 Vermont 12.4
Massachusetts 9.4 Virginia 9.5
Michigan 13.0 Washington 11.2
Minnesota 9.0 West Virginia 17.8
Mississippi 15.3 Wisconsin 10.1
Missouri 13.1 Wyoming 11.2

Employment: Ages 21 - 64

This summary lists employment rates by state of non-institutionalized working-age (ages 21 to 64) people with disabilities using data from the 2015 American Community Survey (ACS). The employment rate in the US for this population was 35.2% for people with disabilities and 78.3% for people without disabilities.

Location People with Disabilities 2015 People without Disabilities 2015 Location People with Disabilities 2015 People without Disabilities 2015
Alabama 28.9 74.3 Montana 37.8 80.6
Alaska 41.4 78.3 Nebraska 47.7 85.3
Arizona 35.4 75.1 Nevada 40.7 75.9
Arkansas 30.1 76.2 New Hampshire 42.4 85.1
California 33.9 75.7 New Jersey 38.2 78.9
Colorado 42.1 81.2 New Mexico 30.2 73.7
Connecticut 34.8 81.2 New York 33.4 77.6
Delaware 33.3 79.5 North Carolina 33.3 78.1
District of Columbia 32.8 81.4 North Dakota 44.5 85.2
Florida 31.0 76.4 Ohio 35.6 79.5
Georgia 32.0 76.9 Oklahoma 35.4 77.8
Hawaii 43.2 80.5 Oregon 37.1 78.1
Idaho 41.0 79.1 Pennsylvania 35.9 79.4
Illinois 35.4 78.5 Puerto Rico 21.4 56.4
Indiana 35.9 79.6 Rhode Island 35.4 81.2
Iowa 45.2 84.3 South Carolina 29.4 76.6
Kansas 44.3 82.1 South Dakota 51.3 83.9
Kentucky 26.7 76.7 Tennessee 30.7 78.0
Louisiana 33.1 75.3 Texas 38.8 77.7
Maine 27.5 82.5 Utah 46.5 79.6
Maryland 42.4 81.2 Vermont 41.0 84.5
Massachusetts 34.7 81.6 Virginia 36.9 80.8
Michigan 31.3 77.1 Washington 37.4 78.5
Minnesota 48.9 84.8 West Virginia 25.8 72.5
Mississippi 28.1 73.5 Wisconsin 42.3 83.9
Missouri 34.5 81.0 Wyoming 59.9 80.3

Prevalence

All Ages

Introduction

This section addresses the prevalence of disability among non-institutionalized people of all ages in the United States, using data from the 2015 American Community Survey (ACS). For definitions of terms, see Glossary.

Quick Statistics

  • In 2015, the overall percentage (prevalence rate) of people with a disability of all ages in the US was 12.6 percent.
  • In other words, in 2015, 39,996,900 of the 317,480,100 individuals of all ages in the US reported one or more disabilities.
  • In the US in 2015, among the six types of disabilities identified in the ACS, the highest prevalence rate was for "Ambulatory Disability," 7.0 percent. The lowest prevalence rate was for "Visual Disability," 2.3 percent.

Prevalence of disability among non-institutionalized people of all ages in the United States in 2015*

Disability Type Percent MOE Number MOE Base Population Sample Size
Any Disability 12.6 0.05 39,996,900 154,970 317,480,100 3,075,864
Visual 2.3 0.02 7,297,100 69,930 317,480,100 3,075,864
Hearing 3.5 0.03 11,254,700 86,300 317,480,100 3,075,864
Ambulatory 7.0 0.04 20,940,600 115,870 297,748,800 2,914,010
Cognitive 5.1 0.03 15,135,900 99,460 297,748,800 2,914,010
Self-Care 2.7 0.02 7,980,700 73,060 297,748,800 2,914,010
Independent Living 5.6 0.04 14,487,300 97,410 256,541,900 2,542,484

* Note: Children under the age of five were only asked about Vision and Hearing disabilities. The Independent Living disability question was only asked of persons aged 16 years old and older.

Prevalence

Ages 4 years and under

Introduction

This section focuses on the prevalence of disability among non-institutionalized children ages 4 and under in the United States, using data from the 2015 American Community Survey (ACS). Only the two sensory disability questions were asked of this population. For definitions of terms, see Glossary.

Quick Statistics

  • In 2015, the overall percentage (prevalence rate) of children with a visual and/or hearing disability ages 0 to 4 in the US was 0.7 percent.
  • In other words, in 2015, 142,100 of the 19,731,300 children ages 0 to 4 in the US reported one or more disabilities.
  • In the US in 2015, 0.4 percent reported a visual disability
  • In the US in 2015, 0.5 percent reported a hearing disability

Prevalence of disability among non-institutionalized people ages 4 and under in the United States in 2015

Disability Type Percent MOE Number MOE Base Population Sample Size
Any Disability 0.7 3.29 142,100 9,870 19,731,300 161,854
Visual 0.4 3.29 86,200 7,690 19,731,300 161,854
Hearing 0.5 3.29 100,500 8,300 19,731,300 161,854

Prevalence

Ages 5 to 15 years

Introduction

This section focuses on the prevalence of disability among non-institutionalized children ages 5 to 15 in the United States, using data from the 2015 American Community Survey (ACS)*. For definitions of terms, see Glossary.

Quick Statistics

  • In 2015, the overall percentage (prevalence rate) of children with a disability ages 5 to 15 in the US was 5.3 percent.
  • In other words, in 2015, 2,419,200 of the 45,382,700 individuals ages 5 to 15 in the US reported one or more disabilities.
  • In the US in 2015, among the five types of disabilities* identified in the ACS, the highest prevalence rate was for "Cognitive Disability," 4.1 percent. The lowest prevalence rate was for "Hearing Disability," 0.6 percent.

Prevalence of disability* among non-institutionalized people ages 5 to 15 in the United States in 2015

Disability Type Percent MOE Number MOE Base Population Sample Size
Any Disability 5.3 0.09 2,419,200 40,580 45,382,700 410,779
Visual 0.8 3.29 378,000 16,090 45,382,700 410,779
Hearing 0.6 3.29 276,800 13,770 45,382,700 410,779
Ambulatory 0.6 3.29 281,600 13,890 45,382,700 410,779
Cognitive 4.1 0.08 1,860,700 35,620 45,382,700 410,779
Self-Care 1.0 3.29 445,900 17,470 45,382,700 410,779

* Note: The "Independent Living Disability" question was not asked of children ages 15 years and younger.

Prevalence

Ages 16 to 20 years

Introduction

This section focuses on the prevalence of disability among non-institutionalized people ages 16 to 20 in the United States, using data from the 2015 American Community Survey (ACS). For definitions of terms, see Glossary.

Quick Statistics

  • In 2015, the overall percentage (prevalence rate) of people with a disability ages 16 to 20 in the US was 5.9 percent.
  • In other words, in 2015, 1,266,800 of the 21,535,400 individuals ages 16 to 20 in the US reported one or more disabilities.
  • In the US in 2015, among the six types of disabilities identified in the ACS, the highest prevalence rate was for "Cognitive Disability," 4.1 percent. The lowest prevalence rate was for "Hearing Disability," 0.7 percent.

Prevalence of disability among non-institutionalized people ages 16 to 20 in the United States in 2015

Disability Type Percent MOE Number MOE Base Population Sample Size
Any Disability 5.9 0.13 1,266,800 29,420 21,535,400 205,715
Visual 1.0 3.29 213,800 12,110 21,535,400 205,715
Hearing 0.7 3.29 145,500 9,990 21,535,400 205,715
Ambulatory 0.8 3.29 170,000 10,800 21,535,400 205,715
Cognitive 4.1 0.11 882,500 24,570 21,535,400 205,715
Self-Care 0.7 3.29 152,400 10,220 21,535,400 205,715
Independent Living 2.2 0.08 474,100 18,020 21,535,400 205,715

Prevalence

Ages 21 to 64 years

Introduction

This section focuses on the prevalence of disability among non-institutionalized working-age people (ages 21 to 64) in the United States, using data from the 2015 American Community Survey (ACS). For definitions of terms, see Glossary.

Quick Statistics

  • In 2015, the overall percentage (prevalence rate) of working age people (ages 21 to 64) with a disability in the US was 10.7 percent.
  • In other words, in 2015, 19,703,800 of the 184,411,700 individuals ages 21 to 64 in the US reported one or more disabilities.
  • In the US in 2015, among the six types of disabilities identified in the ACS, the highest prevalence rate was for "Ambulatory Disability," 5.4 percent. The lowest prevalence rate was "Self-Care Disability," 1.9 percent.

Prevalence of disability among non-institutionalized people ages 21 to 64 in the United States in 2015

Disability Type Percent MOE Number MOE Base Population Sample Size
Any Disability 10.7 0.06 19,703,800 112,630 184,411,700 1,739,386
Visual 2.0 3.29 3,633,200 49,630 184,411,700 1,739,386
Hearing 2.1 0.03 3,875,800 51,240 184,411,700 1,739,386
Ambulatory 5.4 0.04 9,989,000 81,470 184,411,700 1,739,386
Cognitive 4.5 0.04 8,245,400 74,230 184,411,700 1,739,386
Self-Care 1.9 3.29 3,556,300 49,110 184,411,700 1,739,386
Independent Living 3.8 0.04 6,993,100 68,500 184,411,700 1,739,386

Prevalence

Ages 65 to 74 years

Introduction

This section explores the prevalence of disability among non-institutionalized people ages 65 to 74 in the United States, using data from the 2015 American Community Survey (ACS). For definitions of terms, see Glossary.

Quick Statistics

  • In 2015, the overall percentage (prevalence rate) of people with a disability ages 65 to 74 in the US was 25.4 percent.
  • In other words, in 2015, 6,943,700 of the 27,296,300 individuals ages 65 to 74 in the US reported one or more disabilities.
  • In the US in 2015, among the six types of disabilities identified in the ACS, the highest prevalence rate was for "Ambulatory Disability," 15.6 percent. The lowest prevalence rate was for "Visual Disability," 4.2 percent.

Prevalence of disability among non-institutionalized people ages 65 to 74 in the United States in 2015

Disability Type Percent MOE Number MOE Base Population Sample Size
Any Disability 25.4 0.22 6,943,700 68,260 27,296,300 328,776
Visual 4.2 0.10 1,144,600 27,970 27,296,300 328,776
Hearing 9.3 0.15 2,541,400 41,580 27,296,300 328,776
Ambulatory 15.6 0.18 4,256,600 53,670 27,296,300 328,776
Cognitive 5.3 0.11 1,453,400 31,500 27,296,300 328,776
Self-Care 4.5 0.10 1,215,000 28,810 27,296,300 328,776
Independent Living 7.7 0.13 2,108,200 37,900 27,296,300 328,776

Prevalence

Ages 75 and Older

Introduction

This section focuses on the prevalence of disability among non-institutionalized people ages 75 and older in the United States, using data from the 2015 American Community Survey (ACS). For definitions of terms, see Glossary.

Quick Statistics

  • In 2015, the overall percentage (prevalence rate) of people with a disability ages 75 and older in the US was 49.8 percent.
  • In other words, in 2015, 9,521,300 of the 19,122,700 individuals ages 75 and older in the US reported one or more disabilities.
  • In the US in 2015, among the six types of disabilities identified in the ACS, the highest prevalence rate was for "Ambulatory Disability," 32.6 percent. The lowest prevalence rate was for "Visual Disability," 9.6 percent.

Prevalence of disability among non-institutionalized people ages 75 and older in the United States in 2015

Disability Type Percent MOE Number MOE Base Population Sample Size
Any Disability 49.8 0.30 9,521,300 79,600 19,122,700 229,354
Visual 9.6 0.18 1,841,200 35,430 19,122,700 229,354
Hearing 22.6 0.25 4,314,700 54,030 19,122,700 229,354
Ambulatory 32.6 0.28 6,243,300 64,800 19,122,700 229,354
Cognitive 14.1 0.21 2,693,800 42,800 19,122,700 229,354
Self-Care 13.7 0.21 2,611,200 42,150 19,122,700 229,354
Independent Living 25.2 0.26 4,813,300 57,020 19,122,700 229,354

Prevalence

Gender and Age

Introduction

This section examines the prevalence of disability among people by gender and age group in the United States, using data from the 2015 American Community Survey (ACS)*. For definitions of terms, see Glossary.

Quick Statistics

  • In the US in 2015, the overall percentage (prevalence rate) of males with a disability of all ages was 12.5 percent.
  • In other words, in 2015, 19,403,700 of the 155,411,400 males of all ages in the US reported one or more disabilities.
  • In the US in 2015, the overall percentage (prevalence rate) of females with a disability of all ages was 12.7 percent.
  • In other words, in 2015, 20,593,100 of the 162,068,700 females of all ages in the US reported one or more disabilities.

Prevalence of disability among non-institutionalized people by gender and age group in the United States in 2015

Gender & Age Percent MOE Number MOE Base Population Sample Size
Males
Males: All Ages 12.5 0.07 19,403,700 111,820 155,411,400 1,490,053
Males: Ages 4 and under 0.8 3.29 77,500 7,290 10,098,900 82,931
Males: Ages 5-15 6.7 0.14 1,547,300 32,500 23,176,000 209,929
Males: Ages 16-20 6.6 0.20 724,800 22,270 10,962,000 104,564
Males: Ages 21-64 10.9 0.09 9,855,200 80,940 90,586,000 842,969
Males: Ages 65-74 26.9 0.33 3,432,300 48,260 12,738,800 153,722
Males: Ages 75+ 48.0 0.47 3,766,600 50,530 7,849,800 95,938
Females
Females: All Ages 12.7 0.07 20,593,100 114,970 162,068,700 1,585,811
Females: Ages 4 and under 0.7 3.29 64,600 6,650 9,632,400 78,923
Females: Ages 5-15 3.9 0.11 871,900 24,420 22,206,700 200,850
Females: Ages 16-20 5.1 0.18 542,000 19,260 10,573,400 101,151
Females: Ages 21-64 10.5 0.08 9,848,600 80,920 93,825,800 896,417
Females: Ages 65-74 24.1 0.29 3,511,400 48,800 14,557,500 175,054
Females: Ages 75+ 51.0 0.39 5,754,700 62,260 11,272,900 133,416

* Note: Children ages 0-4 were only asked about visual and hearing disabilities, children ages 5-15 were not asked the "Independent Living Disability" question.

Prevalence

Hispanic/Latino Origin and Age

Introduction

This section examines the prevalence of disability among people by Hispanic/Latino origin and age group in the United States, using data from the 2015 American Community Survey (ACS)*. For definitions of terms, see Glossary.

Quick Statistics

  • In the US in 2015, the overall percentage (prevalence rate) of disability among people of Hispanic/Latino origin of all ages was 8.7 percent.
  • In other words, in 2015, 4,869,400 of the 55,902,800 people of Hispanic/Latino origin of all ages in the US reported one or more disabilities.
  • In the US in 2015, the overall percentage (prevalence rate) of disability among people of non-Hispanic/Latino origin of all ages was 13.4 percent.
  • In other words, in 2015, 35,127,500 of the 261,577,300 people of non-Hispanic/Latino origin of all ages in the US reported one or more disabilities.

* Note: Children ages 0-4 were only asked about visual and hearing disabilities, children age 5-15 were not asked the "Independent Living Disability" question.

Prevalence of disability among non-institutionalized people by Hispanic / Latino origin and age group in the United States in 2015

Hispanic/Latino Origin & Age Percent MOE Number MOE Base Population Sample Size
Hispanic
Hispanic - All Ages 8.7 0.10 4,869,400 57,350 55,902,800 438,975
Hispanic - Ages 4 and under 0.9 3.29 44,400 5,520 5,072,800 34,455
Hispanic - Ages 5-15 5.1 0.17 563,700 19,640 11,147,600 86,558
Hispanic - Ages 16-20 5.2 0.27 246,100 12,990 4,753,700 38,850
Hispanic - Ages 21-64 8.3 0.13 2,594,800 42,010 31,254,100 242,386
Hispanic - Ages 65-74 29.1 0.79 658,600 21,230 2,261,900 22,335
Hispanic - Ages 75+ 53.9 1.10 761,900 22,830 1,412,700 14,391
Non-Hispanic
Non-Hispanic - All Ages 13.4 0.06 35,127,500 146,490 261,577,300 2,636,889
Non-Hispanic - Ages 4 and under 0.7 3.29 97,700 8,180 14,658,600 127,399
Non-Hispanic - Ages 5-15 5.4 0.10 1,855,500 35,570 34,235,100 324,221
Non-Hispanic - Ages 16-20 6.1 0.15 1,020,700 26,420 16,781,700 166,865
Non-Hispanic - Ages 21-64 11.2 0.07 17,109,000 105,400 153,157,600 1,497,000
Non-Hispanic - Ages 65-74 25.1 0.23 6,285,200 65,010 25,034,400 306,441
Non-Hispanic - Ages 75+ 49.5 0.31 8,759,500 76,440 17,709,900 214,963

* Note: Children ages 0-4 were only asked about visual and hearing disabilities, children ages 5-15 were not asked the "Independent Living Disability" question.

Prevalence

Race

Introduction

This section presents the disability prevalence rate among non-institutionalized working-age people (ages 21 to 64) by race category in the US, using data from the 2015 American Community Survey (ACS). For definitions of terms, see Glossary.

Quick Statistics

In 2015, among working-age people in the US:

  • 10.7 percent of persons who were White reported a disability.
  • 13.8 percent of persons who were Black/African American reported a disability.
  • 17.7 percent of persons who were Native American reported a disability.
  • 4.4 percent of persons who were Asian reported a disability.
  • 9.8 percent of persons who were some other race(s) reported a disability.

Prevalence of disability among non-institutionalized working-age people (ages 21 to 64) by race in the United States in 2015

Race Percent MOE Number MOE Base Population Sample Size
White 10.7 0.07 14,409,100 97,150 135,052,700 1,336,251
Black/African American 13.8 0.19 3,217,200 46,740 23,262,000 176,556
Native American or
Alaska Native
17.7 0.82 261,800 13,390 1,476,400 18,384
Asian 4.4 0.16 484,800 18,220 11,079,900 99,627
Some other race(s) 9.8 0.21 1,330,900 30,150 13,540,800 108,568

Employment

Introduction

This section examines the employment rates of non-institutionalized working-age people (ages 21 to 64) with disabilities in the United States, using data from the 2015 American Community Survey (ACS). For definitions of terms, see Glossary.

Quick Statistics

  • In 2015, the employment rate of working-age people with disabilities in the US was 35.2 percent.
  • In 2015, the employment rate of working-age people without disabilities in the US was 78.3 percent.
  • The gap between the employment rates of working-age people with and without disabilities was 43.1 percentage points.
  • Among the six types of disabilities identified in the ACS, the highest employment rate was for people with a "Hearing Disability," 51.8 percent. The lowest employment rate was for people with a "Self-Care Disability," 15.8 percent.

Employment of non-institutionalized working-age people (ages 21 to 64) by disability status in the United States in 2015

Disability Type Percent MOE Number MOE Base Pop. Sample Size
No Disability 78.3 0.08 128,901,400 229,150 164,707,900 1,540,991
Any Disability 35.2 0.28 6,927,100 68,170 19,703,800 198,395
Visual 42.0 0.68 1,526,100 32,270 3,633,200 35,287
Hearing 51.8 0.66 2,007,100 36,980 3,875,800 39,826
Ambulatory 24.3 0.36 2,423,100 40,610 9,989,000 100,725
Cognitive 25.5 0.40 2,101,700 37,840 8,245,400 81,971
Self-Care 15.8 0.51 561,300 19,600 3,556,300 36,465
Independent Living 16.3 0.37 1,141,900 27,930 6,993,100 71,602

Not Working but Actively Looking for Work

Introduction

This section focuses on the percentage of non-institutionalized working-age people (ages 21 to 64) with disabilities in the United States who are not working but actively looking for work, using data from the 2015 American Community Survey (ACS). For definitions of terms, see Glossary.

Quick Statistics

  • In 2015 in the US, the percentage of working-age people with disabilities who were not working but actively looking for work was 8.3 percent.
  • In 2015 in the US, the percentage of working-age people without disabilities who were not working but actively looking for work was 19.9 percent.
  • The difference in the percentage not working but actively looking for work between working-age people with and without disabilities was 11.6 percentage points.
  • Among the six types of disabilities identified in the ACS, the highest percentage of not working but actively looking for work was for people with a "Hearing Disability," 9.6 percent. The lowest percentage was for people with a "Self-Care Disability," 3.7 percent.

Percentage who are not working but actively looking for work among non-institutionalized working-age people (ages 21 to 64) in the United States in 2015

Disability Type Percent MOE Number MOE Base Pop. Sample Size
No Disability 19.9 0.17 7,114,400 69,070 35,806,500 336,895
Any Disability 8.3 0.20 1,056,300 26,870 12,776,600 129,002
Visual 8.9 0.51 187,500 11,340 2,107,200 20,356
Hearing 9.6 0.56 180,300 11,120 1,868,700 19,114
Ambulatory 5.3 0.21 398,900 16,530 7,565,900 76,620
Cognitive 8.8 0.30 538,700 19,210 6,143,800 61,889
Self-Care 3.7 0.29 110,500 8,700 2,995,000 30,858
Independent Living 4.9 0.23 288,500 14,060 5,851,200 60,075

Full-Time / Full-Year Employment

Introduction

This section presents the percentage of non-institutionalized working-age people (ages 21 to 64) with disabilities working full-time/full-year in the United States, using data from the 2015 American Community Survey (ACS). For definitions of terms, see Glossary.

Quick Statistics

  • In 2015, the percentage of working-age people with disabilities working full-time/full-year in the US was 22.0 percent.
  • In 2015, the percentage of working-age people without disabilities working full-time/full-year in the US was 58.6 percent.
  • The difference in the percentage working full-time/full-year between working-age people with and without disabilities was 36.6 percentage points.
  • Among the six types of disabilities identified in the ACS, the highest full-time/full-year employment rate was for people with "Hearing Disability," 37.5 percent. The lowest full-time/full-year employment rate was for people with "Independent Living Disability," 7.4 percent.

Full-Time/Full-Year employment of non-institutionalized working-age people (ages 21 to 64) by disability status in the United States in 2015

Disability Type Percent MOE Number MOE Base Pop. Sample Size
No Disability 58.6 0.10 96,497,400 215,200 164,707,900 1,540,991
Any Disability 22.0 0.24 4,329,400 54,120 19,703,800 198,395
Visual 28.0 0.62 1,019,100 26,390 3,633,200 35,287
Hearing 37.5 0.64 1,454,200 31,510 3,875,800 39,826
Ambulatory 14.8 0.29 1,477,600 31,760 9,989,000 100,725
Cognitive 12.5 0.30 1,029,600 26,530 8,245,400 81,971
Self-Care 8.5 0.39 303,400 14,420 3,556,300 36,465
Independent Living 7.4 0.26 515,100 18,780 6,993,100 71,602

Annual Earnings (Full-Time / Full-Year workers)

Introduction

This section examines the median annual earnings of non-institutionalized working-age people (ages 21 to 64) with disabilities who work full-time/full-year in the United States, using data from the 2015 American Community Survey (ACS). For definitions of terms, see Glossary.

Quick Statistics

  • In 2015, the median earnings of working-age people with disabilities who worked full-time/full-year in the US was $40,100.
  • In 2015, the median earnings of working-age people without disabilities who worked full-time/full-year in the US was $45,100.
  • The difference in the median earnings between working-age people with and without disabilities who worked full-time/full-year was $5,000.
  • Among the six types of disabilities identified in the ACS, the highest annual earnings was for people with "Hearing Disability," $45,100. The lowest annual earnings was for people with "Cognitive Disability," $33,200.

Median annual earnings of non-institutionalized working-age people (ages 21 to 64) who work full-time/full-year by disability status in the United States in 2015

Disability Type Median Earnings MOE Base Pop. Sample Size
No Disability $45,100 $110 96,497,000 900,564
Any Disability $40,100 $440 4,329,000 43,706
Visual $37,600 $940 1,019,000 10,033
Hearing $45,100 $890 1,454,000 15,124
Ambulatory $38,000 $730 1,478,000 14,750
Cognitive $33,200 $730 1,030,000 9,735
Self-Care $38,000 $1,670 303,000 2,930
Independent Living $35,000 $1,170 515,000 5,038

Annual Household Income

Introduction

This section illustrates the median annual income* of households that include any working-age people (ages 21 to 64) with disabilities in the United States, using data from the 2015 American Community Survey (ACS). For definitions of terms, see Glossary.

Quick Statistics

  • In 2015, the median income of households that include any working-age people with disabilities in the US was $41,600.
  • In 2015, the median income of households that do not include any working-age people with disabilities in the US was $65,900.
  • The difference in the median income between households including and not including working-age people with disabilities was $24,300.
  • Among the six types of disabilities identified in the ACS, the highest median income was for households including persons with a "Hearing Disability," $53,300. The lowest median income was for households containing persons with a "Cognitive Disability" $35,000.

* Note: Household income is not available for persons living in group quarters.

Median annual income* of households including any working-age people (ages 21 to 64) by disability status in the United States in 2015

Disability Type Median H.H. Income MOE Base Pop. Sample Size
No Disability $65,900 $220 80,124,000 787,245
Any Disability $41,600 400 15,456,000 163,441
Visual $39,700 860 3,075,000 31,312
Hearing $53,300 970 3,448,000 37,050
Ambulatory $36,000 480 8,387,000 88,379
Cognitive $35,000 550 6,371,000 66,462
Self-Care $35,000 790 2,951,000 31,308
Independent Living $35,700 590 5,555,000 60,054

* Note: Household income is not available for persons living in group quarters.

Poverty

Introduction

This section examines the poverty rates* of non-institutionalized working-age people (ages 21 to 64) with disabilities in the United States, using data from the 2015 American Community Survey (ACS). For definitions of terms, see Glossary.

Quick Statistics

  • In 2015, the poverty rate of working-age people with disabilities in the US was 27.0 percent.
  • In 2015, the poverty rate of working-age people without disabilities in the US was 11.6 percent.
  • The difference in the poverty rate between working-age people with and without disabilities was 15.4 percentage points.
  • Among the six types of disabilities identified in the ACS, the highest poverty rate was for people with "Cognitive Disability," 32.8 percent. The lowest poverty rate was for people with "Hearing Disability," 20.1 percent.

* Note: The Census Bureau does not calculate poverty status for those people living in military group quarters or college dormitories.

Poverty rates* of non-institutionalized working-age people (ages 21 to 64) by disability status in the United States in 2015

Disability Type Percent MOE Number MOE Base Pop. Sample Size
No Disability 11.6 0.08 19,075,100 131,730 163,977,000 1,528,485
Any Disability 27.0 0.31 5,308,000 71,050 19,669,700 197,770
Visual 29.0 0.74 1,052,500 31,850 3,627,300 35,181
Hearing 20.1 0.63 778,900 27,410 3,870,600 39,739
Ambulatory 29.7 0.45 2,964,100 53,290 9,984,000 100,629
Cognitive 32.8 0.51 2,697,900 50,860 8,224,200 81,579
Self-Care 31.6 0.77 1,124,400 32,920 3,555,000 36,436
Independent Living 31.8 0.55 2,220,000 46,180 6,989,600 71,534

* Note: The Census Bureau does not calculate poverty status for those people living in military group quarters or college dormitories.

Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

Introduction

This section focuses on the percentage of non-institutionalized working-age people (ages 21 to 64) with disabilities who receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments in the United States, using data from the 2015 American Community Survey (ACS). For definitions of terms, see Glossary. Please note that these results will differ from official Social Security Administration reports for several reasons. For additional information, please email DisabilityStatistics@cornell.edu.

Quick Statistics

  • In 2015, the percentage of working-age people with disabilities receiving Supplemental Security Income payments in the US was 19.3 percent.
  • In 2015, the number of working-age people with disabilities receiving Supplemental Security Income payments in the US was 3,801,100.
  • Among the six types of disabilities identified in the ACS, the highest percentage that received SSI was people with "Independent Living Disability," 29.7 percent. The lowest percentage that received SSI was people with "Hearing Disability," 12.2 percent.

Percentage of non-institutionalized working-age people (ages 21 to 64) with disabilities who receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments in the United States in 2015

Disability Type Percent MOE Number MOE Base Pop. Sample Size
Any Disability 19.3 0.23 3,801,100 50,750 19,703,800 198,395
Visual 17.3 0.52 628,900 20,750 3,633,200 35,287
Hearing 12.2 0.44 473,500 18,010 3,875,800 39,826
Ambulatory 22.0 0.34 2,198,400 38,700 9,989,000 100,725
Cognitive 26.5 0.40 2,182,400 38,560 8,245,400 81,971
Self-Care 29.3 0.63 1,043,000 26,700 3,556,300 36,465
Independent Living 29.7 0.45 2,076,700 37,620 6,993,100 71,602

Education

High School Diploma/Equivalent

Introduction

This section explores the percentage of non-institutionalized working-age people (ages 21 to 64) with disabilities with only a high school diploma or equivalent in the United States, using data from the 2015 American Community Survey (ACS). For definitions of terms, see Glossary.

Quick Statistics

  • In 2015, the percentage of working-age people with disabilities with only a high school diploma or equivalent in the US was 34.4 percent.
  • In 2015, the percentage of working-age people without disabilities with only a high school diploma or equivalent in the US was 25.2 percent.
  • The difference in the percentage with only a high school diploma or equivalent between working-age people with and without disabilities was 9.2 percentage points.
  • Among the six types of disabilities identified in the ACS, the highest percentage with only a high school diploma or equivalent was for people with "Independent Living Disability," 37.2 percent. The lowest percentage with only a high school diploma or equivalent was for people with "Visual Disability," 31.3 percent.

Percentage of non-institutionalized working-age people (ages 21 to 64) with only a high school diploma or equivalent by disability status in the US in 2015

Disability Type Percent MOE Number MOE Base Pop. Sample Size
No Disability 25.2 0.09 41,449,900 157,360 164,707,900 1,540,991
Any Disability 34.4 0.28 6,770,300 67,420 19,703,800 198,395
Visual 31.3 0.64 1,138,100 27,890 3,633,200 35,287
Hearing 32.0 0.62 1,239,900 29,100 3,875,800 39,826
Ambulatory 35.0 0.40 3,491,200 48,670 9,989,000 100,725
Cognitive 35.9 0.44 2,959,800 44,850 8,245,400 81,971
Self-Care 34.8 0.66 1,236,300 29,060 3,556,300 36,465
Independent Living 37.2 0.48 2,599,900 42,060 6,993,100 71,602

Education

Some College/Associate's Degree

Introduction

This section examines the percentage of non-institutionalized working-age people (ages 21 to 64) with disabilities with only some college or an Associate's degree in the United States, using data from the 2015 American Community Survey (ACS). For definitions of terms, see Glossary.

Quick Statistics

  • In 2015, the percentage of working-age people with disabilities with only some college or an Associate's degree in the US was 31.5 percent.
  • In 2015, the percentage of working-age people without disabilities with only some college or an Associate's degree in the US was 31.9 percent.
  • The difference in the percentage with only some college or an Associate's degree between working-age people with and without disabilities was 0.4 percentage points.
  • Among the six types of disabilities identified in the ACS, the highest percentage with only some college or an Associate's degree was for people with "Hearing Disability," 33.0 percent. The lowest percentage with only some college or Associate's degree was for people with "Independent Living Disability," 28.1 percent.

Percentage of non-institutionalized working-age people (ages 21 to 64) with only some college or an Associate's degree by disability status in the United States in 2015

Disability Type Percent MOE Number MOE Base Pop. Sample Size
No Disability 31.9 0.10 52,465,100 173,520 164,707,900 1,540,991
Any Disability 31.5 0.27 6,215,900 64,660 19,703,800 198,395
Visual 30.6 0.63 1,110,800 27,550 3,633,200 35,287
Hearing 33.0 0.63 1,279,900 29,570 3,875,800 39,826
Ambulatory 31.8 0.39 3,181,400 46,480 9,989,000 100,725
Cognitive 29.5 0.42 2,431,500 40,680 8,245,400 81,971
Self-Care 28.9 0.63 1,028,900 26,520 3,556,300 36,465
Independent Living 28.1 0.45 1,966,600 36,610 6,993,100 71,602

Education

Bachelor's Degree or More

Introduction

This section presents the percentage of non-institutionalized working-age people (ages 21 to 64) with disabilities with a Bachelor's degree or more in the United States, using data from the 2015 American Community Survey (ACS). For definitions of terms, see Glossary.

Quick Statistics

  • In 2015, the percentage of working-age people with disabilities with a Bachelor's degree or more in the US was 14.0 percent.
  • In 2015, the percentage of working-age people without disabilities with a Bachelor's degree or more in the US was 33.0 percent.
  • The difference in the percentage with a Bachelor's degree or more between working-age people with and without disabilities was 19 percentage points.
  • Among the six types of disabilities identified in the ACS, the highest percentage with a Bachelor's degree or more was for people with "Hearing Disability," 18.0 percent. The lowest percentage with a Bachelor's degree or more was for people with "Independent Living Disability," 10.2 percent.

Percentage of non-institutionalized working-age people (ages 21 to 64) with a Bachelor's degree or more by disability status in the United States in 2015

Disability Type Percent MOE Number MOE Base Pop. Sample Size
No Disability 33.0 0.10 54,412,200 176,070 164,707,900 1,540,991
Any Disability 14.0 0.20 2,754,700 43,280 19,703,800 198,395
Visual 14.9 0.49 541,500 19,250 3,633,200 35,287
Hearing 18.0 0.51 696,400 21,830 3,875,800 39,826
Ambulatory 11.6 0.27 1,159,700 28,150 9,989,000 100,725
Cognitive 10.5 0.28 862,200 24,280 8,245,400 81,971
Self-Care 10.8 0.43 383,900 16,220 3,556,300 36,465
Independent Living 10.2 0.30 714,700 22,120 6,993,100 71,602

Veterans Service-Connected Disability Rating

Introduction

This section presents the percentage of non-institutionalized working-age (ages 21 to 64) civilian veterans reporting a service-connected disability rating in the United States. The 2008 American Community Survey (ACS) asks if the veteran has a service-connected disability, and if so, what their rating is (0-100%). A "service-connected" disability is one that has been determined by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) as being a result of disease or injury incurred or aggravated during military service. Note that a veteran can receive disability compensation for a wide range of conditions, and a veteran with a service-connected disability may not report having one of the six ACS functional or activity limitation disabilities. For definitions of terms, see Glossary.

Quick Statistics

  • In 2015, there were 9,382,000 working-age civilian veterans in the US, of whom 2,212,800 had a VA service-connected disability.
  • In 2015, the percentage of working-age civilian veterans in the US with a VA service-connected disability was 23.6 percent.
  • In 2015, 623,700 working-age civilian veterans in the US had the most severe service-connected disability rating (70 percent or above).
  • In 2015, 28.2 percent of the working-age civilian veterans in the US who had a service connected disability had a service-connected disability rating of 70 percent or above.

Disability rating of working-age civilian veterans (ages 21 to 64) with a service-connected disability in the United States in 2015

Service-Connected Disability Percent MOE Number MOE Base Pop. Sample Size
Has a service-connected disability rating (0-100%) 23.6 0.36 2,212,800 38,820 9,382,000 94,021
Disability rating of veterans with a service connected-disability
0 percent 5.3 0.39 116,900 8,950 2,212,800 22,442
10 or 20 percent 28.4 0.79 628,500 20,740 2,212,800 22,442
30 or 40 percent 18.4 0.68 406,800 16,690 2,212,800 22,442
50 or 60 percent 14.1 0.61 312,000 14,620 2,212,800 22,442
70 percent or higher 28.2 0.79 623,700 20,660 2,212,800 22,442
Rating not reported 5.6 0.40 124,700 9,250 2,212,800 22,442

Health Insurance Coverage

Introduction

This section examines the health insurance coverage of non-institutionalized working-age people (ages 21 to 64) with disabilities in the United States, using data from the 2015 American Community Survey (ACS). For definitions of terms, see Glossary.

Quick Statistics

  • In 2015, 89.6 percent of working-age people with disabilities in the US had some type of health insurance coverage.
  • In 2015, 86.6 percent of working-age people without disabilities in the US had some type of health insurance coverage.
  • The difference in the health insurance coverage rate between working-age people with and without disabilities was 3 percentage points.
  • Among the six types of disabilities identified in the ACS, the highest health insurance coverage rate was for people with "Self-Care Disability," 92.6 percent. The lowest health insurance coverage rate was for people with "Visual Disability," 86.3 percent.

Health Insurance Coverage of non-institutionalized working-age people (ages 21 to 64) by disability status in the United States in 2015

Disability Type Percent MOE Number MOE Base Pop. Sample Size
No Disability 86.6 0.07 142,658,600 233,270 164,707,900 1,540,991
Any Disability 89.6 0.18 17,657,500 106,980 19,703,800 198,395
Visual 86.3 0.47 3,136,000 46,150 3,633,200 35,287
Hearing 89.7 0.40 3,476,800 48,570 3,875,800 39,826
Ambulatory 91.1 0.24 9,100,200 77,870 9,989,000 100,725
Cognitive 90.2 0.27 7,435,000 70,580 8,245,400 81,971
Self-Care 92.6 0.36 3,294,200 47,290 3,556,300 36,465
Independent Living 91.9 0.27 6,429,800 65,740 6,993,100 71,602

Type of Health Insurance Coverage

Introduction

This section examines the type of health insurance coverage for non-institutionalized working-age people (ages 21 to 64) with disabilities in the United States, using data from the 2015 American Community Survey (ACS). Note that people can report more than one type of insurance coverage. For definitions of terms, see Glossary.

Quick Statistics

  • In 2015, 33.9 percent of working-age people with disabilities in the US reported health insurance coverage through a current or former employer or union (theirs or another family member).
  • In 2015, 64.3 percent of working-age people without disabilities in the US reported health insurance coverage through a current or former employer or union (theirs or another family member).
  • In 2015, 10.8 percent of working-age people with disabilities in the US reported purchasing health insurance coverage directly from an insurance company (by themselves or another family member).
  • In 2015, 24.6 percent of working-age people with disabilities in the US reported Medicare coverage and 41.4 percent reported Medicaid coverage (or other government-assistance plan for those with low incomes or a disability).

Type of Health Insurance Coverage of non-institutionalized working-age people (ages 21 to 64) by disability status in the United States in 2015

Disability Status/ Insurance Type Percent MOE Number MOE Base Pop. Sample Size
Any Disability
Uninsured 10.4 0.18 2,046,200 37,340 19,703,800 198,395
Employer/Union 33.9 0.28 6,677,800 66,970 19,703,800 198,395
Purchased 10.8 0.18 2,136,000 38,150 19,703,800 198,395
Medicare 24.6 0.25 4,855,000 57,270 19,703,800 198,395
Medicaid 41.4 0.29 8,161,100 73,860 19,703,800 198,395
Military/VA 6.9 0.15 1,364,300 30,520 19,703,800 198,395
Indian Health Service 0.7 3.29 145,200 9,980 19,703,800 198,395
No Disability
Uninsured 13.4 0.07 22,049,400 118,680 164,707,900 1,540,991
Employer/Union 64.3 0.10 105,826,000 220,640 164,707,900 1,540,991
Purchased 12.0 0.07 19,782,500 112,840 164,707,900 1,540,991
Medicare 1.6 3.29 2,714,800 42,970 164,707,900 1,540,991
Medicaid 11.1 0.06 18,291,600 108,770 164,707,900 1,540,991
Military/VA 3.3 0.04 5,486,300 60,810 164,707,900 1,540,991
Indian Health Service 0.4 3.29 697,500 21,850 164,707,900 1,540,991

Glossary

Actively Looking for Work

A person is defined as ACTIVELY looking for work if he or she reports looking for work during the last four weeks.

Ambulatory Disability

This disability type is based on the question (asked of persons ages 5 or older): Does this person have serious difficulty walking or climbing stairs?

Base Population (Base Pop.)

The estimated number of individuals upon which the calculation is based. (For percentages, this is the denominator).

Cognitive Disability

This disability type is based on the question (asked of persons ages 5 or older): Because of a physical, mental, or emotional condition, does this person have serious difficulty concentrating, remembering, or making decisions?

Disability and Disability Types

The ACS definition of disability is based on six questions. A person is coded as having a disability if he or she or a proxy respondent answers affirmatively for one or more of these six categories.

  • Hearing Disability (asked of all ages): Is this person deaf or does he/she have serious difficulty hearing?
  • Visual Disability (asked of all ages): Is this person blind or does he/she have serious difficulty seeing even when wearing glasses?
  • Cognitive Disability (asked of persons ages 5 or older): Because of a physical, mental, or emotional condition, does this person have serious difficulty concentrating, remembering, or making decisions?
  • Ambulatory Disability (asked of persons ages 5 or older): Does this person have serious difficulty walking or climbing stairs?
  • Self-care Disability (asked of persons ages 5 or older): Does this person have difficulty dressing or bathing?
  • Independent Living Disability (asked of persons ages 15 or older): Because of a physical, mental, or emotional condition, does this person have difficulty doing errands alone such as visiting a doctor’s office or shopping?

Earnings

Earnings are defined as wages, salary, commissions, bonuses, or tips from all jobs including self-employment income (NET income after business expenses) from own nonfarm businesses or farm businesses, including proprietorships and partnerships.

Education

Our definition is based on the responses to the question: "What is the highest degree or level of school this person has completed? If currently enrolled, mark the previous grade or highest degree received." Our category "high school diploma/equivalent" includes those marking the ACS option "Regular high school diploma — GED or alternative credential." Our category "Some college/Associate's degree" includes those marking the ACS options: some college credit, but less than 1 year of college credit; one or more years of college credit but no degree, or "Associate's degree (for example: AA, AS)." Our category "a Bachelor's or more" includes those marking the ACS options: "Bachelor's degree (for example: BA, BS)"; "Master's degree (for example: MA, MS, MEng, MEd, MSW, MBA)"; "Professional degree (for example: MD, DDS, DVM, LLB, JD)"; or "Doctorate degree (for example: PhD, EdD)." Note in 2008 changes were made to some of the response categories and the layout of this question.

Employment

A person is considered employed if he or she is either

  1. “at work”: those who did any work at all during the reference week as a paid employee (worked in his or her own business or profession, worked on his or her own farm, or worked 15 or more hours as an unpaid worker on a family farm or business) or
  2. “with a job but not at work”: had a job but temporarily did not work at that job during the reference week due to illness, bad weather, industrial dispute, vacation or other personal reasons. The reference week is defined as the week preceding the date the questionnaire was completed.

Employment Rate

The employment rate is calculated by dividing the number of persons employed by the number of persons in that population.

** Note that the unemployment rate cannot be calculated using the employment rate:

  • The employment rate is the percentage of all persons who have a job.
  • The unemployment rate is the percentage of persons in the labor force who do not have a job but are actively looking for work. The labor force includes people who have a job, are on layoff, or who actively searched for work in the last four weeks.

Please see http://www.disabilitystatistics.org/faq.cfm#Q6 for more information on unemployment rate calculation and its implications.

Full-Time/Full-Year Employment

A person is considered employed full-time/full-year if he or she worked 35 hours or more per week (full-time) and 50 or more weeks per year (full-year). The reference period is defined as the year preceding the date the questionnaire was completed. Note: this does not signify whether a person is eligible for fringe benefits. The question and response categories regarding weeks worked per year was changed in 2008.

Group Quarters (GQ)

A GQ is a place where people live or stay that is normally owned or managed by an entity or organization providing housing and/or services for the residents. These services may include custodial or medical care as well as other types of assistance, and residency is commonly restricted to those receiving these services. People living in group quarters are usually not related to each other. Group quarters include such places as college residence halls, residential treatment centers, skilled nursing facilities, group homes, military barracks, correctional facilities, and workers' dormitories. See the definitions of institutional GQs and non-institutional GQs for more information. In addition, a description of the types of group quarters included in the 2008 ACS is located on the U.S. Census Bureau's Web site at www.census.gov/acs/www/Downloads/
2008_ACS_GQ_Definitions.pdf
.

Health Insurance Coverage

Is based on the following question: Is this person CURRENTLY covered by any of the following types of health insurance or health coverage plans? Mark "Yes" or "No" for EACH type of coverage in items a – h.

  1. Insurance through a current or former employer or union (of this person or another family member)
  2. Insurance purchased directly from an insurance company (by this person or another family member)
  3. Medicare, for people 65 and older, or people with certain disabilities
  4. Medicaid, Medical Assistance, or any kind of government-assistance plan for those with low incomes or a disability
  5. VA (including those who have ever used or enrolled for VA health care)
  6. TRICARE or other military health care
  7. Indian Health Service
  8. Any other type of health insurance or health coverage plan – Specify (Note: “Other type” were recoded into one of the categories a-g by the Census Bureau)

Hearing Disability

This disability type is based on the question (asked of all ages): Is this person deaf or does he/she have serious difficulty hearing?

Hispanic or Latino Origin

People of Hispanic or Latino origin are those who classify themselves in a specific Hispanic or Latino category in response to the question, "Is this person Spanish/Hispanic/Latino?" Specifically, those of Hispanic or Latino origin are those who are Cuban; Mexican, Mexican American, Chicano; Puerto Rican; or other Spanish/Hispanic/Latino. Origin may be the heritage, nationality group, lineage, or country of birth of the person or the person's parents or ancestors before their arrival in the United States. People who identify their origin as Spanish, Hispanic, or Latino may be of any race.

Household Income

Household Income is defined as the total income of a household including: wages, salary, commissions, bonuses, or tips from all jobs; self-employment income (NET income after business expenses) from own non-farm or farm businesses, including proprietorships and partnerships; interest, dividends, net rental income, royalty income, or income from real estates and trusts; Social Security or Railroad Retirement; Supplemental Security Income; any public assistance or welfare payments from the state or local welfare office; retirement, survivor or disability pensions; and any other regularly received income (e.g., Veterans' payments, unemployment compensation, child support or alimony). Median household income is calculated with the household as the unit of analysis, using household weights without adjusting for household size.

Independent Living Disability

This disability type is based on the question (asked of persons ages 15 or older): Because of a physical, mental, or emotional condition, does this person have difficulty doing errands alone such as visiting a doctors office or shopping?

Institutional Group Quarters (GQs)

Includes facilities for people under formally authorized, supervised care or custody at the time of enumeration. Generally, restricted to the institution, under the care or supervision of trained staff, and classified as "patients" or "inmates." Includes: correctional, nursing, and in-patient hospice facilities, psychiatric hospitals, juvenile group homes and residential treatment centers.

Margin of Error (MOE)

Data, such as data from the American Community Survey, is based on a sample, and therefore statistics derived from this data are subject to sampling variability. The margin of error (MOE) is a measure of the degree of sampling variability. In a random sample, the degree of sampling variation is determined by the underlying variability of the phenomena being estimated (e.g., income) and the size of the sample (i.e., the number of survey participants used to calculate the statistic). The smaller the margin of error, the lower the sampling variability and the more "precise" the estimate. A margin of error is the difference between an estimate and its upper or lower confidence bounds. Confidence bounds are calculated by adding the MOE to the estimate (upper bound) and subtracting the MOE from the estimate (lower bound). All margins of error in this report are based on a 90 percent confidence level. This means that there is a 90% certainty that the actual value lies somewhere between the upper and lower confidence bounds.

Non-Institutional Group Quarters (GQs)

Includes facilities that are not classified as institutional group quarters; such as college/university housing, group homes intended for adults, residential treatment facilities for adults, workers' group living quarters and Job Corps centers and religious group quarters.

Not Working but Actively Looking for Work

A person is defined as not working but actively looking for work if he or she reports not being employed, but has been looking for work during the last four weeks.

Number

This term appears in the tables; it refers to estimated number of people in the category. (for percentages, this is the numerator).

Poverty

The poverty measure is computed based upon the standards defined in Directive 14 from the Office of Management and Budget. These standards use poverty thresholds created in 1982 and index these thresholds to 2008 dollars using poverty factors based upon the Consumer Price Index. They use the family as the income sharing unit and family income is the sum of total income from each family member living in the household. The poverty threshold depends upon the size of the family; the age of the householder; and the number of related children under the age of 18.

Race

Race categories are based on the question, "[w]hat is this person's race? Mark (X) one or more races to indicate what this person considers himself/herself to be." Responses include the following: White; Black or African-American; American Indian or Alaska Native (print name of enrolled or principal tribe); Asian Indian; Chinese; Filipino; Japanese; Korean; Vietnamese; Other Asian (Print Race); Native Hawaiian; Guamanian or Chamarro; Samoan; Other Pacific Islander (Print Race Below); Some other race (print race below). "Other race" also contains people who report more than one race.

Sample Size

The number of survey participants used to calculate the statistic.

Self-care Disability

This disability type is based on the question (asked of persons ages 5 or older): 17c. Does this person have difficulty dressing or bathing?

Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

A person is defined as receiving SSI payments if he or she reports receiving (SSI) income in the 12 months prior to the survey.

Note: The Supplemental Security Income (SSI) does not apply to Puerto Rico. SSI is a federal cash assistance program that provides monthly payments to low-income aged, blind, or disabled persons in the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and the Northern Mariana Islands.

Veteran Service-Connected Disability

A disease or injury determined to have occurred in or to have been aggravated by military service. A disability is evaluated according to the VA Schedule for Rating Disabilities in Title 38, CFR, and Part 4. Extent of disability is expressed as a percentage from 0% (for conditions that exist but are not disabling to a compensable degree) to 100%, in increments of 10%. This information was determined by the following two part question:

  1. Does this person have a VA service-connected disability rating?
    Yes (such as 0%, 10%, 20%, ... , 100%)
    No SKIP to question 28a
  2. What is this person’s service-connected disability rating?”
    Responses included: 0 percent; 10 or 20 percent; 30 or 40 percent; 50 or 60 percent; 70 percent or higher

Visual Disability

This disability type is based on the question:(asked of all ages): Is this person blind or does he/she have serious difficulty seeing even when wearing glasses?

About the Disability Status Reports

The Cornell University Disability Status Reports is produced and funded by the Yang Tan Institute at the Cornell University ILR School. This effort originated as a product of the Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on Disability Demographics and Statistics (StatsRRTC) funded to the Yang Tan Institute in the ILR School at Cornell University by the U.S. Department of Education, National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (grant No. H133B031111).

The contents of this report do not necessarily represent the policy of the Department of Education, and you should not assume endorsement by the Federal Government (Edgar, 75.620 (b)).

 

Contact Us

K. Lisa Yang and Hock E. Tan
Institute on Employment and Disability
Cornell University
Ithaca, New York 14853
Phone: 607.255.7727
Email: disabilitystatistics@cornell.edu
Web: www.disabilitystatistics.org