The United States Census Bureau has released updated statistics on the population of people with disabilities in the U.S. According to the new figures, 56.7 million Americans (18.7% of the population) have some type of disability. Of this number, an estimated 38.3 million (12.6%) have a disability characterized as “severe.”

The findings, which are contained in a study based on the Bureau’s 2010 Survey of Income and Program Participation, also provide estimates on the prevalence of different types of disability:

• vision impairment: 8.1 million (3.3%)
• hearing impairment: 8 million (3.1%)
• difficulty walking or climbing stairs: 30.6 million (12.6%), including people who use wheelchairs (3.6 million) and canes, crutches, or walkers (11.6 million)
• difficulty lifting or grasping: 19.9 million (8.2%)
• cognitive, mental, or emotional impairments: 15.2 million (6.3%)

The Bureau’s report, “Americans with Disabilities: 2010,” also covers distribution by age and gender and provides estimates on various economic factors, including employment rate, income levels, program participation, and health insurance coverage. The report and related information are available on the Census Bureau’s website.

Additional telling stats relate to unemployment rates and income:

• unemployed: 59% of people aged 21 to 64 with a disability, of those with “severe” disabilities the unemployment rate rises to 72%
• median income: $23532 for people aged 21 to 64 with a disability, compared to $32688 for those with no disability
• poverty: 29% of people aged 15 to 64 with “severe” disabilities, 18% of people with non-severe disabilities

Source: U.S. Census Bureau
Written by: Gabriel Merrell, OSU Office of Equity and Inclusion

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