2008 Disability Status Report: United States

Table of Contents

The 2008 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 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 estimates in the 2008 Disability Status Report are based on American Community Survey (ACS) data — a US Census Bureau survey designed to replace the Decennial Census long form. See the ACS User Guide on www.disabilitystatistics.org for additional information on the ACS.

In 2008 the US Census Bureau made a number of significant changes to the ACS. These changes included an entirely new set of disability questions as described on the following page. Changes made to other 2008 ACS questions, including those regarding employment status and the number of weeks worked in the past 12 months (used to calculate full-time/full year employment status), also may have an impact on the results in this report. Because of these changes, comparisons should not be made with previous status reports or estimates. For a summary of all changes to the ACS 2008 survey see the following Census Bureau document: http://www.census.gov/acs/www/Downloads/SummaryResultsACS2006ContentTest.pdf.

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. As a result, differences between the estimates for two or more groups may not be statistically significant.

Suggested Citation

Erickson, W. Lee, C., & von Schrader, S. (2010). 2008 Disability Status Report: United States. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on Disability Demographics and Statistics.

We would like to thank Sara VanLooy and Ali Goheer for their assistance with editing and production of this document.

2008 ACS Disability Questions

A number of major changes were made to the ACS disability questions in 2008. The US Census Bureau made these changes to better identify specific portions of the population of persons with disabilities, and to more clearly define disability as a functional limitation that may increase a person’s risk of participation limitation. These changes mean that the population of persons with disabilities identified in 2008 is different from that identified in previous years, and the results should not be compared.

Below are the disability questions used in the 2008 ACS. 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):
    16a. Is this person deaf or does he/she have serious difficulty hearing?
  • Visual Disability (asked of all ages):
    16b. 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):
    17a. 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):
    17b. Does this person have serious difficulty walking or climbing stairs?
  • Self-Care Disability (asked of persons ages 5 or older):

17c. Does this person have difficulty dressing or bathing?

  • Independent Living Disability (asked of persons ages 15 or older):
    18. 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?

The major changes from the previous ACS disability questions are:

  • Duration of limitation was removed and the term "serious" is used to focus on longer term/more severe impairments.
  • Employment Disability question is no longer asked.
  • Vision and Hearing Disabilities (was Sensory Disability) are now two separate questions and include children under the age of 5.
  • Cognitive Disability (was Mental Disability): dropped "learning" as an activity, added the activity "making decisions."
  • Ambulatory Disability (was Physical disability) is now limited to mobility related activities; "reaching, lifting, or carrying" activities dropped.
  • Self-Care Disability (was Self-Care disability): no longer includes phrase "Because of a physical, mental, or emotional condition." The new question is limited to dressing and bathing activities, and the "getting around inside the home" activity is dropped.
  • Independent Living Disability (was Go-Outside-Home disability): dropped both the time restriction "lasting 6 months or more" and the phrase "Outside the home."

New Features and Notes

New Features

Additional Topics: Two new topics of special interest to disability were added to the revised 2008 ACS and have been included in the 2008 Disability Status Report: health insurance coverage and veteran’s service-connected disability rating. As the two new sensory disability questions (visual and hearing disabilities) are asked of children ages 4 and under, estimates for this age group are included in this report.

Further Notes

Puerto Rico: A Puerto Rico Disability Status Report, based on the parallel 2008 Puerto Rico Community Survey, is available again this year. 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 last year’s report 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 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.ilr.cornell.edu/edi/disabilitystatistics/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 2008 American Community Survey (ACS). Comparisons to the 2007 Disability Status Report should not be made due to changes in the 2008 ACS questions.

Age: In 2008, the prevalence of disability in the US was:

  • 12.1 percent for persons of all ages
  • 0.7 percent for persons ages 4 and under
  • 5.1 percent for persons ages 5 to 15
  • 5.6 percent for persons ages 16 to 20
  • 10.4 percent for persons ages 21 to 64
  • 26.6 percent for persons ages 65 to 74
  • 51.5 percent for persons ages 75+

Gender: In 2008, 12.4 percent of females of all ages and 11.7 percent of males of all ages in the US reported a disability.

Hispanic/Latino: In 2008, the prevalence of disability among persons of all ages of Hispanic or Latino origin in the US was 8.4 percent.

Race: In the US in 2008, the prevalence of disability for working-age people (ages 21 to 64) was:

  • 10.2 percent among Whites
  • 14.3 percent among Black / African Americans
  • 4.6 percent among Asians
  • 18.8 percent among Native Americans
  • 9.8 percent among persons of some other race(s)

Employment: In 2008, the employment rate of working-age people (ages 21 to 64) with disabilities in the US was 39.5 percent.

Looking for Work: In the US in 2008, the percentage actively looking for work among people with disabilities who were not working was 8.7 percent.

Full-Time/Full-Year Employment: In the US in 2008, the percentage of working-age people with disabilities working full-time/ full-year was 25.4 percent.

Annual Earnings: In 2008, the median annual earnings of working-age people with disabilities working full-time/full-year in the US was $35,600.

Annual Household Income: In the US in 2008, the median annual income of households with working-age people with disabilities was $39,600.

Poverty: In the US in 2008, the poverty rate of working-age people with disabilities was 25.3 percent.

Supplemental Security Income: In 2008, the percentage of working-age people with disabilities receiving SSI payments in the US was 17.7 percent.

Educational Attainment: In 2008, the percentage of working-age people with disabilities in the US:

  • with only a high school diploma or equivalent was 34.0 percent
  • with only some college or an associate degree was 29.7 percent
  • with a bachelor's degree or more was 12.3 percent.

Veterans Service-Connected Disability: In 2008, the percentage of working-age civilian veterans with a VA determined Service-Connected Disability was 16.9 percent in the US.

Health Insurance Coverage: In 2008 in the US, 81.8 percent of working-age people with disabilities had health insurance.

Prevalence: Ages 21 - 64

US Prevalence: Ages 21-64 10.4%

US Employment: with disability 39.5%

US Employment: without disability 79.9%

This summary lists percentages by state of non-institutionalized working-age (ages 21 to 64) people with disabilities using data from the 2008 American Community Survey (ACS). Comparisons to the 2007 Disability Status Report should not be made due to changes in the 2008 ACS disability questions.

Location

2008 (%)

Location

2008 (%)

Alabama

15.1

Montana

12.0

Alaska

12.9

Nebraska

8.4

Arizona

10.7

Nevada

8.7

Arkansas

16.6

New Hampshire

9.7

California

8.5

New Jersey

7.7

Colorado

8.3

New Mexico

12.4

Connecticut

8.5

New York

9.1

Delaware

10.8

North Carolina

11.7

District of Columbia

8.9

North Dakota

8.6

Florida

10.0

Ohio

11.6

Georgia

10.5

Oklahoma

16.0

Hawaii

7.2

Oregon

11.2

Idaho

10.9

Pennsylvania

11.3

Illinois

8.4

Puerto Rico

20.2

Indiana

11.6

Rhode Island

10.9

Iowa

9.6

South Carolina

12.7

Kansas

10.8

South Dakota

8.7

Kentucky

16.4

Tennessee

13.6

Louisiana

13.8

Texas

10.6

Maine

13.4

Utah

7.9

Maryland

8.6

Vermont

12.8

Massachusetts

9.3

Virginia

8.9

Michigan

11.8

Washington

10.6

Minnesota

7.9

West Virginia

18.7

Mississippi

16.3

Wisconsin

9.1

Missouri

12.6

Wyoming

11.9

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 2008 American Community Survey (ACS). Comparisons to the 2007 Disability Status Report should not be made due to changes in the 2008 ACS disability questions.

Location

People with Disabilities

People without Disabilities

Location

People with Disabilities

People without Disabilities

2008

2008

2008

2008

Alabama

33.1

78.1

Montana

43.7

81.0

Alaska

51.4

80.5

Nebraska

50.5

86.6

Arizona

42.4

78.2

Nevada

44.8

79.5

Arkansas

33.9

79.1

New Hampshire

46.4

84.6

California

37.2

77.3

New Jersey

41.7

81.3

Colorado

48.3

82.5

New Mexico

41.2

77.3

Connecticut

42.1

82.4

New York

36.2

78.9

Delaware

45.8

81.4

North Carolina

39.7

80.1

District of Columbia

33.1

80.6

North Dakota

60.2

87.0

Florida

36.6

78.4

Ohio

38.3

80.4

Georgia

40.8

79.2

Oklahoma

43.5

80.8

Hawaii

44.7

82.3

Oregon

41.2

79.0

Idaho

46.0

80.4

Pennsylvania

38.8

80.9

Illinois

39.5

80.0

Puerto Rico

25.0

59.4

Indiana

39.8

80.6

Rhode Island

39.8

81.4

Iowa

52.5

86.9

South Carolina

33.9

77.6

Kansas

51.3

85.0

South Dakota

61.4

86.0

Kentucky

30.8

77.0

Tennessee

35.6

79.1

Louisiana

36.6

77.6

Texas

42.9

79.6

Maine

39.5

81.4

Utah

45.9

80.1

Maryland

44.7

83.8

Vermont

48.8

84.0

Massachusetts

39.9

82.5

Virginia

41.5

82.6

Michigan

33.6

76.8

Washington

41.0

80.5

Minnesota

52.4

84.8

West Virginia

30.5

76.7

Mississippi

33.2

77.9

Wisconsin

45.1

84.3

Missouri

39.5

81.5

Wyoming

56.6

84.9

Prevalence

All Ages

Prevalence: All Ages 12.1%

Introduction

This section addresses the prevalence of disability among non-institutionalized people of all ages in the United States, using data from the 2008 American Community Survey (ACS). For definitions of terms, see Glossary. Comparisons to the 2007 Disability Status Report should not be made due to changes in the 2008 ACS disability questions.

Quick Statistics

  • In 2008, the overall percentage (prevalence rate) of people with a disability of all ages in the US was 12.1 percent.
  • In other words, in 2008, 36,169,200 of the 299,852,800 individuals of all ages in the US reported one or more disabilities.
  • In the US in 2008, among the six types of disabilities identified in the ACS, the highest prevalence rate was for "Ambulatory Disability," 6.9 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 2008*

 

Disability Type

Percent

MOE

Number

MOE

Base Population

Sample Size

Any Disability

12.1

0.05

36,169,200

157,070

299,852,800

2,949,415

Visual

2.3

0.02

6,826,400

71,880

299,852,800

2,949,415

Hearing

3.5

0.03

10,393,100

88,160

299,852,800

2,949,415

Ambulatory

6.9

0.04

19,203,700

118,020

278,976,400

2,770,321

Cognitive

4.8

0.04

13,462,900

99,810

278,976,400

2,770,321

Self-Care

2.6

0.03

7,195,600

73,750

278,976,400

2,770,321

Independent Living

5.5

0.04

13,179,300

98,800

238,826,000

2,384,789

* 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

Prevalence: Ages 4 and under 0.7%

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 2008 American Community Survey (ACS). Only the two sensory disability questions were asked of this population. Comparisons to the 2007 Disability Status Report should not be made due to changes in the 2008 ACS disability questions. For definitions of terms, see Glossary.

Quick Statistics

  • In 2008, 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 2008, 156,200 of the 20,876,400 children ages 0 to 4 in the US reported one or more disabilities.
  • In the US in 2008, 0.4 reported a visual disability
  • In the US in 2008, 0.5 reported a hearing disability

Prevalence of disability among non-institutionalized people ages 4 and under in the United States in 2008

 

Disability Type

Percent

MOE

Number

MOE

Base Population

Sample Size

Any Disability

0.7

3.29

156,200

10,990

20,876,400

179,094

Visual

0.4

3.29

91,600

8,420

20,876,400

179,094

Hearing

0.5

3.29

96,900

8,660

20,876,400

179,094

Prevalence

Ages 5 to 15 years

Prevalence: Ages 5 to 15 years 5.1%

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 2008 American Community Survey (ACS)*. For definitions of terms, see Glossary. Comparisons to the 2007 Disability Status Report should not be made due to changes in the 2008 ACS disability questions.

Quick Statistics

  • In 2008, the overall percentage (prevalence rate) of children with a disability ages 5 to 15 in the US was 5.1 percent.
  • In other words, in 2008, 2,265,800 of the 44,299,900 individuals ages 5 to 15 in the US reported one or more disabilities.
  • In the US in 2008, among the five types of disabilities* identified in the ACS, the highest prevalence rate was for "Cognitive Disability," 3.9 percent. The lowest prevalence rate was for "Hearing Disability," 0.7 percent.

Prevalence of disability* among non-institutionalized people ages 5 to 15 in the United States in 2008

 

Disability Type

Percent

MOE

Number

MOE

Base Population

Sample Size

Any Disability

5.1

0.09

2,265,800

41,730

44,299,900

427,147

Visual

0.8

3.29

342,600

16,280

44,299,900

427,147

Hearing

0.7

3.29

300,900

15,250

44,299,900

427,147

Ambulatory

0.7

3.29

300,900

15,260

44,299,900

427,147

Cognitive

3.9

0.08

1,729,100

36,480

44,299,900

427,147

Self-Care

0.9

3.29

395,600

17,490

44,299,900

427,147

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

Prevalence

Ages 16 to 20 years

Prevalence: Ages 16 to 20 years 5.6%

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 2008 American Community Survey (ACS). For definitions of terms, see Glossary. Comparisons to the 2007 Disability Status Report should not be made due to changes in the 2008 ACS disability questions.

Quick Statistics

  • In 2008, the overall percentage (prevalence rate) of people with a disability ages 16 to 20 in the US was 5.6 percent.
  • In other words, in 2008, 1,233,700 of the 22,107,800 individuals ages 16 to 20 in the US reported one or more disabilities.
  • In the US in 2008, among the six types of disabilities identified in the ACS, the highest prevalence rate was for "Cognitive Disability," 3.8 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 2008

 

Disability Type

Percent

MOE

Number

MOE

Base Population

Sample Size

Any Disability

5.6

0.14

1,233,700

30,840

22,107,800

200,117

Visual

1.0

3.29

213,000

12,840

22,107,800

200,117

Hearing

0.7

3.29

150,300

10,790

22,107,800

200,117

Ambulatory

0.9

3.29

192,600

12,210

22,107,800

200,117

Cognitive

3.8

0.11

850,400

25,620

22,107,800

200,117

Self-Care

0.7

3.29

143,700

10,550

22,107,800

200,117

Independent Living

1.9

3.29

418,200

17,980

22,107,800

200,117

Prevalence

Ages 21 to 64 years

Prevalence: Ages 21 to 64 years 10.4%

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 2008 American Community Survey (ACS). For definitions of terms, see Glossary. Comparisons to the 2007 Disability Status Report should not be made due to changes in the 2008 ACS disability questions.

Quick Statistics

  • In 2008, the overall percentage (prevalence rate) of working age people (ages 21 to 64) with a disability in the US was 10.4 percent.
  • In other words, in 2008, 18,312,900 of the 175,368,200 individuals ages 21 to 64 in the US reported one or more disabilities.
  • In the US in 2008, 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," 1.8 percent.

Prevalence of disability among non-institutionalized people ages 21 to 64 in the United States in 2008

 

Disability Type

Percent

MOE

Number

MOE

Base Population

Sample Size

Any Disability

10.4

0.06

18,312,900

115,430

175,368,200

1,693,675

Visual

1.9

3.29

3,314,200

50,380

175,368,200

1,693,675

Hearing

2.3

0.03

3,990,400

55,220

175,368,200

1,693,675

Ambulatory

5.4

0.05

9,498,200

84,400

175,368,200

1,693,675

Cognitive

4.1

0.04

7,213,700

73,840

175,368,200

1,693,675

Self-Care

1.8

3.29

3,240,900

49,820

175,368,200

1,693,675

Independent Living

3.6

0.04

6,289,600

69,060

175,368,200

1,693,675

Prevalence

Ages 65 to 74 years

Prevalence: Ages 65 to 74 years 26.6%

Introduction

This section explores the prevalence of disability among non-institutionalized people ages 65 to 74 in the United States, using data from the 2008 American Community Survey (ACS). For definitions of terms, see Glossary. Comparisons to the 2007 Disability Status Report should not be made due to changes in the 2008 ACS disability questions.

Quick Statistics

  • In 2008, the overall percentage (prevalence rate) of people with a disability ages 65 to 74 in the US was 26.6 percent.
  • In other words, in 2008, 5,287,300 of the 19,902,000 individuals ages 65 to 74 in the US reported one or more disabilities.
  • In the US in 2008, among the six types of disabilities identified in the ACS, the highest prevalence rate was for "Ambulatory Disability," 16.8 percent. The lowest prevalence rate was for "Visual Disability," 4.6 percent.

Prevalence of disability among non-institutionalized people ages 65 to 74 in the United States in 2008

 

Disability Type

Percent

MOE

Number

MOE

Base Population

Sample Size

Any Disability

26.6

0.28

5,287,300

63,420

19,902,000

243,887

Visual

4.6

0.13

925,200

26,720

19,902,000

243,887

Hearing

9.4

0.18

1,866,300

37,900

19,902,000

243,887

Ambulatory

16.8

0.23

3,342,000

50,590

19,902,000

243,887

Cognitive

5.6

0.14

1,121,100

29,410

19,902,000

243,887

Self-Care

4.9

0.13

974,300

27,420

19,902,000

243,887

Independent Living

8.7

0.18

1,732,000

36,510

19,902,000

243,887

Prevalence

Ages 75 and Older

Prevalence: Ages 75 and Older 51.5%

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 2008 American Community Survey (ACS). For definitions of terms, see Glossary. Comparisons to the 2007 Disability Status Report should not be made due to changes in the 2008 ACS disability questions,

Quick Statistics

  • In 2008, the overall percentage (prevalence rate) of people with a disability ages 75 and older in the US was 51.5 percent.
  • In other words, in 2008, 8,913,300 of the 17,298,500 individuals ages 75 and older in the US reported one or more disabilities.
  • In the US in 2008, among the six types of disabilities identified in the ACS, the highest prevalence rate was for "Ambulatory Disability," 33.9 percent. The lowest prevalence rate was for "Visual Disability," 11.2 percent.

Prevalence of disability among non-institutionalized people ages 75 and older in the United States in 2008

 

Disability Type

Percent

MOE

Number

MOE

Base Population

Sample Size

Any Disability

51.5

0.33

8,913,300

81,840

17,298,500

205,495

Visual

11.2

0.21

1,939,800

38,630

17,298,500

205,495

Hearing

23.1

0.28

3,988,300

55,200

17,298,500

205,495

Ambulatory

33.9

0.32

5,870,000

66,760

17,298,500

205,495

Cognitive

14.7

0.24

2,548,600

44,230

17,298,500

205,495

Self-Care

14.1

0.23

2,441,200

43,300

17,298,500

205,495

Independent Living

26.9

0.30

4,655,500

59,580

17,298,500

205,495

Prevalence

Gender and Age

Prevalence: Males All Ages 11.7%

Prevalence: Female All Ages 12.4%

Introduction

This section examines the prevalence of disability among people by gender and age group in the United States, using data from the 2008 American Community Survey (ACS)*. For definitions of terms, see Glossary. Comparisons to the 2007 Disability Status Report should not be made due to changes in the 2008 ACS disability questions.

Quick Statistics

  • In the US in 2008, the overall percentage (prevalence rate) of males with a disability of all ages was 11.7 percent.
  • In other words, in 2008, 17,182,300 of the 147,192,100 males of all ages in the US reported one or more disabilities.
  • In the US in 2008, the overall percentage (prevalence rate) of females with a disability of all ages was 12.4 percent.
  • In other words, in 2008, 18,986,900 of the 152,660,700 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 2008

 

Gender & Age

Percent

MOE

Number

MOE

Base Population

Sample Size

Males

Males: All Ages

11.7

0.07

17,182,300

112,030

147,192,100

1,422,424

Males: Ages 4 and under

0.8

3.29

88,800

8,290

10,702,800

91,486

Males: Ages 5-15

6.4

0.14

1,454,400

33,480

22,658,100

218,391

Males: Ages 16-20

6.3

0.20

712,200

23,450

11,297,600

102,575

Males: Ages 21-64

10.5

0.09

9,100,900

82,680

86,569,500

813,909

Males: Ages 65-74

27.1

0.41

2,486,200

43,690

9,157,800

113,020

Males: Ages 75+

49.1

0.53

3,339,800

50,570

6,806,200

83,043

Females

Females: All Ages

12.4

0.07

18,986,900

117,400

152,660,700

1,526,991

Females: Ages 4 and under

0.7

3.29

67,400

7,220

10,173,700

87,608

Females: Ages 5-15

3.7

0.11

811,400

25,030

21,641,800

208,756

Females: Ages 16-20

4.8

0.18

521,500

20,080

10,810,200

97,542

Females: Ages 21-64

10.4

0.09

9,212,000

83,160

88,798,700

879,766

Females: Ages 65-74

26.1

0.37

2,801,100

46,350

10,744,200

130,867

Females: Ages 75+

53.1

0.43

5,573,500

65,080

10,492,300

122,452

* 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

Prevalence: Hispanic All Ages 8.4%

Prevalence: Non-Hispanic All Ages 12.7%

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 2008 American Community Survey (ACS)*. For definitions of terms, see Glossary. Comparisons to the 2007 Disability Status Report should not be made due to changes in the 2008 ACS disability questions.

Quick Statistics

  • In the US in 2008, the overall percentage (prevalence rate) of disability among people of Hispanic/Latino origin of all ages was 8.4 percent.
  • In other words, in 2008, 3,881,100 of the 46,285,000 people of Hispanic/Latino origin of all ages in the US reported one or more disabilities.
  • In the US in 2008, the overall percentage (prevalence rate) of disability among people of non-Hispanic/Latino origin of all ages was 12.7 percent.
  • In other words, in 2008, 32,288,100 of the 253,567,900 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 2008

 

Hispanic/Latino Origin & Age

Percent

MOE

Number

MOE

Base Population

Sample Size

Hispanic

Hispanic - All Ages

8.4

0.11

3,881,100

54,470

46,285,000

375,733

Hispanic - Ages 4 and under

0.8

3.29

41,300

5,660

5,215,000

36,810

Hispanic - Ages 5-15

4.6

0.19

419,400

18,010

9,204,100

79,074

Hispanic - Ages 16-20

4.8

0.30

187,000

12,030

3,856,500

32,982

Hispanic - Ages 21-64

8.4

0.15

2,131,300

40,480

25,442,000

201,820

Hispanic - Ages 65-74

32.2

1.06

480,900

19,280

1,491,900

14,805

Hispanic - Ages 75+

57.8

1.33

621,100

21,910

1,075,500

10,242

Non-Hispanic

Non-Hispanic - All Ages

12.7

0.06

32,288,100

149,480

253,567,900

2,573,682

Non-Hispanic - Ages 4 and under

0.7

3.29

114,800

9,430

15,661,400

142,284

Non-Hispanic - Ages 5-15

5.3

0.10

1,846,400

37,690

35,095,800

348,073

Non-Hispanic - Ages 16-20

5.7

0.15

1,046,600

28,420

18,251,300

167,135

Non-Hispanic - Ages 21-64

10.8

0.07

16,181,600

108,910

149,926,200

1,491,855

Non-Hispanic - Ages 65-74

26.1

0.28

4,806,400

60,520

18,410,200

229,082

Non-Hispanic - Ages 75+

51.1

0.35

8,292,200

79,020

16,223,000

195,253

* 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 2008 American Community Survey (ACS). For definitions of terms, see Glossary. Comparisons to the 2007 Disability Status Report should not be made due to changes in the 2008 ACS disability questions.

Quick Statistics

In 2008, among working-age people in the US:

  • 10.2 percent of persons who were White reported a disability.
  • 14.3 percent of persons who were Black/African American reported a disability.
  • 18.8 percent of persons who were Native American reported a disability.
  • 4.6 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 2008

 

Race

Percent

MOE

Number

MOE

Base Population

Sample Size

White

10.2

0.07

13,555,900

100,140

133,078,900

1,345,915

Black/African American

14.3

0.21

2,968,400

47,710

20,797,800

160,618

Native American or
Alaska Native

18.8

0.92

260,900

14,210

1,386,100

14,552

Asian

4.6

0.20

395,700

17,490

8,578,100

80,849

Some other race(s)

9.8

0.24

1,132,000

29,550

11,527,300

91,741

Employment

Employment: with disability 39.5%

Employment: without disability 79.9%

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 2008 American Community Survey (ACS). For definitions of terms, see Glossary. Comparisons to the 2007 Disability Status Report should not be made due to changes in the 2008 ACS disability questions.

Quick Statistics

  • In 2008, the employment rate of working-age people with disabilities in the US was 39.5 percent.
  • In 2008, the employment rate of working-age people without disabilities in the US was 79.9 percent.
  • The gap between the employment rates of working-age people with and without disabilities was 40.4 percentage points.
  • Among the six types of disabilities identified in the ACS, the highest employment rate was for people with a "Hearing Disability," 56.0 percent. The lowest employment rate was for people with a "Self-Care Disability," 18.7 percent.

Employment of non-institutionalized working-age people (ages 21 to 64) by disability status in the United States in 2008

 

Disability Type

Percent

MOE

Number

MOE

Base Pop.

Sample Size

No Disability

79.9

0.09

125,504,100

237,690

157,055,300

1,514,867

Any Disability

39.5

0.32

7,234,000

73,930

18,312,900

178,808

Visual

43.3

0.76

1,433,700

33,240

3,314,200

30,434

Hearing

56.0

0.69

2,234,700

41,440

3,990,400

40,827

Ambulatory

28.7

0.41

2,725,300

45,730

9,498,200

93,756

Cognitive

28.0

0.47

2,021,300

39,430

7,213,700

67,209

Self-Care

18.7

0.60

604,800

21,620

3,240,900

31,133

Independent Living

18.8

0.43

1,184,500

30,220

6,289,600

60,862

Not Working but Actively Looking for Work

Actively Looking: with disability 8.7%

Actively Looking: without disability 21.4%

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 2008 American Community Survey (ACS). For definitions of terms, see Glossary. Comparisons to the 2007 Disability Status Report should not be made due to changes in the 2008 ACS disability questions.

Quick Statistics

  • In 2008 in the US, the percentage of working-age people with disabilities who were not working but actively looking for work was 8.7 percent.
  • In 2008 in the US, the percentage of working-age people without disabilities who were not working but actively looking for work was 21.4 percent.
  • The difference in the percentage not working but actively looking for work between working-age people with and without disabilities was 12.7 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," 11.1 percent. The lowest percentage was for people with a "Self-Care Disability," 3.5 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 2008

 

Disability Type

Percent

MOE

Number

MOE

Base Pop.

Sample Size

No Disability

21.4

0.15

6,897,800

55,250

32,269,500

308,535

Any Disability

8.7

0.18

990,300

21,140

11,414,900

110,443

Visual

9.9

0.45

195,500

9,410

1,975,100

18,115

Hearing

11.1

0.50

199,300

9,500

1,799,300

17,982

Ambulatory

5.7

0.19

399,200

13,430

6,946,300

68,417

Cognitive

8.5

0.26

457,500

14,380

5,361,800

49,854

Self-Care

3.5

0.24

94,100

6,520

2,699,100

26,012

Independent Living

4.5

0.19

236,500

10,340

5,267,900

50,788

Full-Time / Full-Year Employment

FT / FY Employment: with disability 25.4%

FT / FY Employment: without disability 60.4%

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 2008 American Community Survey (ACS). For definitions of terms, see Glossary. Comparisons to the 2007 Disability Status Report should not be made due to changes in the 2008 ACS questions regarding the number of weeks worked in the past 12 months and disability.

Quick Statistics

  • In 2008, the percentage of working-age people with disabilities working full-time/full-year in the US was 25.4 percent.
  • In 2008, the percentage of working-age people without disabilities working full-time/full-year in the US was 60.4 percent.
  • The difference in the percentage working full-time/full-year between working-age people with and without disabilities was 35 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," 40.9 percent. The lowest full-time/full-year employment rate was for people with "Independent Living Disability," 8.8 percent.

Full-Time/Full-Year employment of non-institutionalized working-age people (ages 21 to 64) by disability status in the United States in 2008

 

Disability Type

Percent

MOE

Number

MOE

Base Pop.

Sample Size

No Disability

60.4

0.09

94,829,400

185,100

157,055,300

1,514,867

Any Disability

25.4

0.23

4,645,200

49,010

18,312,900

178,808

Visual

29.0

0.57

960,400

22,420

3,314,200

30,434

Hearing

40.9

0.56

1,632,400

29,200

3,990,400

40,827

Ambulatory

17.9

0.29

1,703,500

29,820

9,498,200

93,756

Cognitive

14.0

0.30

1,011,500

23,010

7,213,700

67,209

Self-Care

10.4

0.39

338,400

13,320

3,240,900

31,133

Independent Living

8.8

0.26

554,100

17,040

6,289,600

60,862

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

Earnings: with disability $35,600

Earnings: without disability $40,700

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 2008 American Community Survey (ACS). For definitions of terms, see Glossary. Comparisons to the 2007 Disability Status Report should not be made due to changes in the ACS disability questions.

Quick Statistics

  • In 2008, the median earnings of working-age people with disabilities who worked full-time/full-year in the US was $35,600.
  • In 2008, the median earnings of working-age people without disabilities who worked full-time/full-year in the US was $40,700.
  • The difference in the median earnings between working-age people with and without disabilities who worked full-time/full-year was $5,100.
  • Among the six types of disabilities identified in the ACS, the highest annual earnings was for people with "Hearing Disability," $40,700. The lowest annual earnings was for people with "Cognitive Disability," $30,600.

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 2008

 

Disability Type

Median Earnings

MOE

Base Pop.

Sample Size

No Disability

$40,700

$100

94,829,000

914,570

Any Disability

$35,600

$370

4,645,000

46,353

Visual

$32,600

$790

960,000

8,812

Hearing

$40,700

$720

1,632,000

17,103

Ambulatory

$33,900

$570

1,703,000

17,011

Cognitive

$30,600

$670

1,011,000

9,515

Self-Care

$35,600

$1,380

338,000

3,155

Independent Living

$32,300

$1,070

554,000

5,460

Annual Household Income

Household Income: with disability $39,600

Household Income: without disability $61,200

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 2008 American Community Survey (ACS). For definitions of terms, see Glossary. Comparisons to the 2007 Disability Status Report should not be made due to changes in the 2008 ACS disability questions.

Quick Statistics

  • In 2008, the median income of households that include any working-age people with disabilities in the US was $39,600.
  • In 2008, the median income of households that do not include any working-age people with disabilities in the US was $61,200.
  • The difference in the median income between households including and not including working-age people with disabilities was $21,600.
  • Among the six types of disabilities identified in the ACS, the highest median income was for households including persons with a "Hearing Disability," $49,800. The lowest median income was for households containing persons with a "Cognitive Disability," $32,400.

Note: Household income is not available for persons living in group quarters.
Caution: Estimate based on small sample size (less than 40 individuals).

Median annual income of households including any working-age people (ages 21 to 64) by disability status in the United States in 2008

 

Disability Type

Median H.H. Income

MOE

Base Pop.

Sample Size

No Disability

$61,200

$200

79,519,000

798,761

Any Disability

$39,600

370

14,646,000

153,586

Visual

$35,600

780

2,838,000

27,998

Hearing

$49,800

810

3,610,000

38,932

Ambulatory

$35,100

450

8,076,000

84,682

Cognitive

$32,400

520

5,655,000

58,674

Self-Care

$33,600

760

2,697,000

28,328

Independent Living

$33,300

570

5,039,000

54,197

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

Poverty

Poverty: with disability 25.3%

Poverty: without disability 9.6%

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 2008 American Community Survey (ACS). For definitions of terms, see Glossary. Comparisons to the 2007 Disability Status Report should not be made due to changes in the 2008 ACS disability questions.

Quick Statistics

  • In 2008, the poverty rate of working-age people with disabilities in the US was 25.3 percent.
  • In 2008, the poverty rate of working-age people without disabilities in the US was 9.6 percent.
  • The difference in the poverty rate between working-age people with and without disabilities was 15.7 percentage points.
  • Among the six types of disabilities identified in the ACS, the highest poverty rate was for people with "Cognitive Disability," 32.4 percent. The lowest poverty rate was for people with "Hearing Disability," 18.0 percent.

Note: The Census Bureau does not calculate poverty status for those people living in military group quarters or college dormitories.
Caution: Estimate based on small sample size (less than 40 individuals).

Poverty rates of non-institutionalized working-age people (ages 21 to 64) by disability status in the United States in 2008

 

Disability Type

Percent

MOE

Number

MOE

Base Pop.

Sample Size

No Disability

9.6

0.07

15,003,300

105,080

156,398,000

1,509,656

Any Disability

25.3

0.28

4,617,300

59,330

18,275,200

178,495

Visual

27.7

0.68

915,300

26,580

3,308,400

30,382

Hearing

18.0

0.54

715,100

23,500

3,982,600

40,758

Ambulatory

27.6

0.40

2,621,400

44,860

9,488,200

93,690

Cognitive

32.4

0.49

2,330,600

42,320

7,193,100

67,042

Self-Care

30.6

0.71

992,000

27,670

3,239,200

31,120

Independent Living

31.4

0.52

1,970,900

38,940

6,283,700

60,820

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

Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

SSI Recipients: with disability 17.7%

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 2008 American Community Survey (ACS). For definitions of terms, see Glossary. Comparisons to the 2007 Disability Status Report should not be made due to changes in the 2008 ACS disability questions. 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 2008, the percentage of working-age people with disabilities receiving Supplemental Security Income payments in the US was 17.7 percent.
  • In 2008, the number of working-age people with disabilities receiving Supplemental Security Income payments in the US was 3,237,600.
  • Among the six types of disabilities identified in the ACS, the highest percentage that received SSI was people with "Independent Living Disability," 28.9 percent. The lowest percentage that received SSI was people with "Hearing Disability," 10.7 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 2008

 

Disability Type

Percent

MOE

Number

MOE

Base Pop.

Sample Size

Any Disability

17.7

0.19

3,237,600

38,080

18,312,900

178,808

Visual

17.0

0.44

562,800

15,950

3,314,200

30,434

Hearing

10.7

0.33

426,300

13,880

3,990,400

40,827

Ambulatory

20.1

0.28

1,912,100

29,330

9,498,200

93,756

Cognitive

26.1

0.35

1,883,900

29,110

7,213,700

67,209

Self-Care

27.6

0.53

895,400

20,100

3,240,900

31,133

Independent Living

28.9

0.38

1,818,300

28,610

6,289,600

60,862

Education

High School Diploma/Equivalent

High School Only: with disability 34.0%

High School Only: without disability 26.2%

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 2008 American Community Survey (ACS). Comparisons to the 2007 Disability Status Report should not be made due to changes in the 2008 ACS disability questions. For definitions of terms, see Glossary.

Quick Statistics

  • In 2008, the percentage of working-age people with disabilities with only a high school diploma or equivalent in the US was 34.0 percent.
  • In 2008, the percentage of working-age people without disabilities with only a high school diploma or equivalent in the US was 26.2 percent.
  • The difference in the percentage with only a high school diploma or equivalent between working-age people with and without disabilities was 7.8 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," 35.2 percent. The lowest percentage with only a high school diploma or equivalent was for people with "Visual Disability," 31.7 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 2008

 

Disability Type

Percent

MOE

Number

MOE

Base Pop.

Sample Size

No Disability

26.2

0.09

41,080,200

146,340

157,055,300

1,514,867

Any Disability

34.0

0.27

6,230,700

60,650

18,312,900

178,808

Visual

31.7

0.63

1,052,000

25,140

3,314,200

30,434

Hearing

32.7

0.58

1,306,400

28,000

3,990,400

40,827

Ambulatory

34.4

0.38

3,263,500

44,110

9,498,200

93,756

Cognitive

34.7

0.44

2,505,300

38,700

7,213,700

67,209

Self-Care

33.8

0.65

1,094,600

25,640

3,240,900

31,133

Independent Living

35.2

0.47

2,212,700

36,390

6,289,600

60,862

Education

Some College/Associate's Degree

Some College: with disability 29.7%

Some College: without disability 32.2%

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 2008 American Community Survey (ACS). Comparisons to the 2007 Disability Status Report should not be made due to changes in the 2008 ACS disability questions. For definitions of terms, see Glossary.

Quick Statistics

  • In 2008, the percentage of working-age people with disabilities with only some college or an Associate's degree in the US was 29.7 percent.
  • In 2008, the percentage of working-age people without disabilities with only some college or an Associate's degree in the US was 32.2 percent.
  • The difference in the percentage with only some college or an Associate's degree between working-age people with and without disabilities was 2.5 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," 31.7 percent. The lowest percentage with only some college or Associate's degree was for people with "Independent Living Disability," 26.1 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 2008

 

Disability Type

Percent

MOE

Number

MOE

Base Pop.

Sample Size

No Disability

32.2

0.09

50,607,100

159,460

157,055,300

1,514,867

Any Disability

29.7

0.26

5,436,900

56,730

18,312,900

178,808

Visual

28.0

0.61

926,800

23,600

3,314,200

30,434

Hearing

31.7

0.57

1,266,200

27,570

3,990,400

40,827

Ambulatory

29.5

0.36

2,799,400

40,890

9,498,200

93,756

Cognitive

26.9

0.41

1,937,900

34,070

7,213,700

67,209

Self-Care

27.3

0.61

884,300

23,050

3,240,900

31,133

Independent Living

26.1

0.43

1,639,000

31,350

6,289,600

60,862

Education

Bachelor's Degree or More

Bachelor's Degree or More: with disability 12.3%

Bachelors's Degree or More: without disability 30.6%

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 2008 American Community Survey (ACS). Comparisons to the 2007 Disability Status Report should not be made due to changes in the 2008 ACS disability questions. For definitions of terms, see Glossary.

Quick Statistics

  • In 2008, the percentage of working-age people with disabilities with a Bachelor's degree or more in the US was 12.3 percent.
  • In 2008, the percentage of working-age people without disabilities with a Bachelor's degree or more in the US was 30.6 percent.
  • The difference in the percentage with a Bachelor's degree or more between working-age people with and without disabilities was 18.3 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," 15.6 percent. The lowest percentage with a Bachelor's degree or more was for people with "Cognitive Disability," 8.8 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 2008

 

Disability Type

Percent

MOE

Number

MOE

Base Pop.

Sample Size

No Disability

30.6

0.09

48,003,300

156,100

157,055,300

1,514,867

Any Disability

12.3

0.19

2,260,500

36,770

18,312,900

178,808

Visual

11.9

0.44

394,900

15,420

3,314,200

30,434

Hearing

15.6

0.45

621,600

19,340

3,990,400

40,827

Ambulatory

10.8

0.25

1,028,300

24,850

9,498,200

93,756

Cognitive

8.8

0.26

634,200

19,530

7,213,700

67,209

Self-Care

10.1

0.41

326,700

14,030

3,240,900

31,133

Independent Living

9.3

0.28

587,000

18,790

6,289,600

60,862

Veterans Service-Connected Disability Rating

Veterans with a Service-Connected Disability 16.9%

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 2008, there were 13,102,700 working-age civilian veterans in the US, of whom 2,217,000 had a VA service-connected disability.
  • In 2008, the percentage of working-age civilian veterans in the US with a VA service-connected disability was 16.9 percent.
  • In 2008, 396,700 working-age civilian veterans in the US had the most severe service-connected disability rating (70 percent or above).
  • In 2008, 17.9 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 2008

 

Service–Connected Disability

Percent

MOE

Number

MOE

Base Pop.

Sample Size

Has a service-connected disability rating (0-100%)

16.9

0.20

2,217,000

29,140

13,102,700

137,632

Disability rating of veterans with a service connected-disability

0 percent

7.8

0.35

172,600

8,160

2,217,000

24,071

10 or 20 percent

39.7

0.65

880,500

18,400

2,217,000

24,071

30 or 40 percent

17.4

0.50

384,700

12,170

2,217,000

24,071

50 or 60 percent

9.6

0.39

213,000

9,060

2,217,000

24,071

70 percent or higher

17.9

0.51

396,700

12,360

2,217,000

24,071

Rating not reported

7.6

0.35

169,600

8,090

2,217,000

24,071

Health Insurance Coverage

Health Coverage: with Disability 81.8%

Health Coverage: without Disability 80.5%

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 2008 American Community Survey (ACS). For definitions of terms, see Glossary.

Quick Statistics

  • In 2008, 81.8 percent of working-age people with disabilities in the US had some type of health insurance coverage.
  • In 2008, 80.5 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 1.3 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," 86.8 percent. The lowest health insurance coverage rate was for people with "Visual Disability," 77.3 percent.

Health Insurance Coverage of non-institutionalized working-age people (ages 21 to 64) by disability status in the United States in 2008

 

Disability Type

Percent

MOE

Number

MOE

Base Pop.

Sample Size

No Disability

80.5

0.09

126,441,100

253,200

157,055,300

1,514,867

Any Disability

81.8

0.27

14,982,100

111,190

18,312,900

178,808

Visual

77.3

0.68

2,560,600

46,950

3,314,200

30,434

Hearing

83.0

0.55

3,310,600

53,310

3,990,400

40,827

Ambulatory

83.9

0.35

7,968,400

82,070

9,498,200

93,756

Cognitive

82.1

0.42

5,926,000

71,020

7,213,700

67,209

Self-Care

86.8

0.55

2,814,100

49,190

3,240,900

31,133

Independent Living

86.4

0.40

5,431,700

68,050

6,289,600

60,862

Type of Health Insurance Coverage

Coverage through Employer/Union: with Disability 39.0%

Coverage through Employer/Union: without Disability 66.9%

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 2008 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 2008, 39.0 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 2008, 66.9 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 2008, 9.9 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 2008, 22.5 percent of working-age people with disabilities in the US reported Medicare coverage and 29.0 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 2008

 

Disability Status/ Insurance Type

Percent

MOE

Number

MOE

Base Pop.

Sample Size

Any Disability

Uninsured

18.2

0.27

3,330,800

53,470

18,312,900

178,808

Employer/Union

39.0

0.34

7,139,800

77,790

18,312,900

178,808

Purchased

9.9

0.21

1,810,800

39,530

18,312,900

178,808

Medicare

22.5

0.29

4,128,200

59,450

18,312,900

178,808

Medicaid

29.0

0.31

5,319,700

67,350

18,312,900

178,808

Military/VA

7.2

0.18

1,317,400

33,740

18,312,900

178,808

Indian Health Service

0.7

3.29

134,400

10,800

18,312,900

178,808

No Disability

Uninsured

19.5

0.09

30,614,200

154,590

157,055,300

1,514,867

Employer/Union

66.9

0.11

105,056,800

244,300

157,055,300

1,514,867

Purchased

11.1

0.07

17,465,800

119,540

157,055,300

1,514,867

Medicare

1.2

3.29

1,912,700

40,620

157,055,300

1,514,867

Medicaid

4.9

0.05

7,642,800

80,420

157,055,300

1,514,867

Military/VA

3.3

0.04

5,220,400

66,730

157,055,300

1,514,867

Indian Health Service

0.4

3.29

610,000

22,990

157,055,300

1,514,867

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. were “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.

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 StatsRRTC

About the Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on Disability Demographics and Statistics (StatsRRTC)

The Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on Disability Demographics and Statistics (StatsRRTC) bridges the divide between the sources of disability data and the users of disability statistics. We conduct research exploring the reliability of existing data sources and collection methods, and study the potential to improve current and future data collection efforts.

The StatsRRTC is an interdisciplinary effort of two organizations at Cornell University: the Employment and Disability Institute, and the Department of Policy Analysis and Management. In addition, expertise is drawn from the following collaborating institutions: American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD), Center for an Accessible Society, InfoUse, and Mathematica Policy Research, Inc.

The StatsRRTC is funded by the U.S. Department of Education, National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (No. H133B031111). The contents of this paper 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)).

StatsRRTC Co-Principal Investigators

Susanne M. Bruyere: Director, Employment and Disability Institute, School of Industrial and Labor Relations, Extension Division, Cornell University

Richard V. Burkhauser: Sarah Gibson Blanding Professor, Department of Policy Analysis and Management, College of Human Ecology, Cornell University

David C. Stapleton: Mathmatica Policy Research, Center for Disability Policy

Contact Us

Employment and Disability Institute, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York 14853

Phone: 607.255.7727
Email: disabilitystatistics@cornell.edu
Web: www.disabilitystatistics.org