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Facts for Features
CB08-FF.11
May 27, 2008

Americans with Disabilities Act: July 26

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

Population Distribution

41.3 million

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

By age --

  • 6 percent of children 5 to 15 have disabilities.
  • 12 percent of people 16 to 64 have disabilities.
  • 41 percent of adults 65 and older have disabilities.

Source: 2006 American Community Survey <http://www.census.gov/acs/www/>

16%

Percentage of females with a disability, compared with 14 percent of males.
Source: 2006 American Community Survey <http://www.census.gov/acs/www/>

Using or Needing Assistance

10.7 million

Number of disabled people 6 and older who need personal assistance with one or more activities of daily living (such as taking a bath or shower) or instrumental activities of daily living (such as using the telephone). This group amounts to 4 percent of people in this age category.

2.7 million

Number of people 15 and older who use a wheelchair. Another 9.1 million use an ambulatory aid such as a cane, crutches or walker.

Specific Disabilities

1.8 million

Number of people 15 and older who report being unable to see.

1 million

Number of people 15 and older who report being unable to hear.

2.6 million

Number of people 15 and older who have some difficulty having their speech understood by others. Of this number, 610,000 were unable to have their speech understood at all.

14.3 million

Number of people with limitations in cognitive functioning, or who have a mental or emotional illness that interferes with daily activities, including those with Alzheimer's disease and mental retardation. This group comprises 6 percent of the population 15 and older.

On the Job

11.8 million

Number of 16- to 64-year-olds who reported a medical condition that makes it difficult to find a job or remain employed. They comprise 6 percent of the population this age.

56%

Percentage of people 21 to 64 having some type of disability who were employed in the past year. The rate ranged from 82 percent of those with a nonsevere disability to 43 percent with a severe disability. For those without a disability, the employment rate is 88 percent for the same period.

44%

Percentage of people with a nonsevere disability who work full time, year-round. This compares with 53 percent without a disability and 13 percent with a severe disability.

Perceived Health Status

33%

Percentage of people 25 to 64 who have a nonsevere disability and report their health as being "very good" or "excellent." This compares with 13 percent of those with a severe disability and 73 percent of those without a disability

Income and Poverty

$22,000

Median earnings for people with a nonsevere disability. This compares with $25,000 for those with no disability and $12,800 for those with a severe disability.

18%

Percentage of people with a nonsevere disability with household incomes of $80,000 or more. By comparison, 26 percent of people without a disability had household incomes of $80,000 or more, with the same being true of 9 percent of those with a severe one.

11%

The poverty rate for people 25 to 64 with a nonsevere disability. This compares with 26 percent for those with a severe disability and 8 percent of those without a disability.

Living Arrangements

60%

Percentage of people 25 to 64 with a nonsevere disability who live in married-couple families. The corresponding rates are 68 percent for those without disabilities and 50 percent for people with severe disabilities.

23%

Percentage of people with a nonsevere disability who live alone or with nonrelatives. This compares with 28 percent of those with a severe disability and 19 percent without a disability.

Education

33%

The percentage of people 25 to 64 who had a nonsevere disability and were college graduates. This compares with 43 percent with no disability and 22 percent with a severe disability.

2.2 million

The number of undergraduates with a disability, as of the 2003-04 school year. These students represented 11 percent of all undergrads.
Source: Statistical Abstract of the United States: 2008, Table 279 <http://www.census.gov/compendia/statab/2008/>.

Plugged in to the Net ...

36% and 29%

Percentages of people 15 to 64 with a severe disability who use a computer and the Internet at home, respectively. The respective figures for those without a disability are 61 percent and 51 percent.

Serving Our Nation

2.7 million

Number of veterans who received compensation totaling $26.6 billion for service-connected disabilities in 2006.
Source: Statistical Abstract of the United States: 2008, Table 508 and Table 509 at <http://www.census.gov/compendia/statab/2008/>.

Accommodations

96.5%

Percent of transit buses that were ADA lift- or ramp-equipped, as of 2005. This represents an increase from 61.7 percent in 1995.
Source: Statistical Abstract of the United States: 2008, Table 1083 at <http://www.census.gov/compendia/statab/2008/>.

Unless otherwise indicated, all the data are from the Americans with Disabilities: 2002 report at <http://www.census.gov/newsroom/releases/archives/aging_population/cb06-71.html>.

Following is a list of observances typically covered by the Census Bureau's Facts for Features series:

  • African-American History Month (February)
  • Super Bowl XLII (Feb. 3)
  • Valentine's Day (Feb. 14)
  • Women's History Month (March)
  • Irish-American Heritage Month (March)/
          St. Patrick's Day (March 17)
  • Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month (May)
  • Older Americans Month (May)
  • Cinco de Mayo (May 5)
  • Mother's Day (May 11)
  • Hurricane Season Begins (June 1)
  • Father's Day (June 15)
  • The Fourth of July (July 4)
  • Anniversary of Americans With Disabilities Act (July 26)
  • Back to School (August)
  • Labor Day (Sept. 1)
  • Grandparents Day (Sept. 7)
  • Hispanic Heritage Month (Sept. 15-Oct. 15)
  • Unmarried and Single Americans Week (Sept. 21-27)
  • Halloween (Oct. 31)
  • American Indian/Alaska Native Heritage Month (November)
  • Veterans Day (Nov. 11)
  • Thanksgiving Day (Nov. 27)
  • The Holiday Season (December)

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

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Source: U.S. Census Bureau | Public Information Office | PIO@census.gov | Last Revised: February 10, 2014