New US Census Bureau report highlight significant disability numbers

Stephen Pate, NJN Network, Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, Canada, May 26 2009 with story from US Census Bureau

The US Census Bureau has released fast facts about the numbers and severity of the American disability population. 40 million Americans over the age of 15 are living with a disability outside institutions. The total number exceeds 50 million.

Disability is not an aberration but a condition of living and aging as the numbers show. While only 12% of working age adults are disabled, 41% of seniors have a disability.

Women are slightly higher with 15% disabled compared with 14% for men.

11 million people “need personal assistance with everyday activities. These activities include such tasks as getting around inside the home, taking a bath or shower, preparing meals and performing light housework.”

Walking disabilities affect 13.5 million Americans, 3.3 million of whom use a wheelchair. The balance use other aids such as canes, crutches or walkers.

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

Working age and disabled Americans with a severe disability earn 42% less than non-disabled and working Americans. The moderately disabled earn 11% less.

Links for this story:

American Community Survey