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Facts for Features
CB09-FF.13
May 26, 2009

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

41.2 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: 2007 American Community Survey <http://factfinder.census.gov>

15%

Percentage of females with a disability, compared with 14 percent of males.
Source: 2007 American Community Survey <http://factfinder.census.gov>

Using or Needing Assistance

11 million

Number of disabled people 6 and older who need personal assistance with everyday activities. This group amounts to 4 percent of people in this age category. These activities include such tasks as getting around inside the home, taking a bath or shower, preparing meals and performing light housework.

3.3 million

Number of people 15 and older who use a wheelchair. Another 10.2 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 printed words at all or were blind.

1 million

Number of people 15 and older who reported deafness or being unable to hear conversations at all.

2.5 million

Number of people 15 and older who have some difficulty having their speech understood by others. Of this number, 431,000 were unable to have their speech understood at all.

16.1 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 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.

On the Job

13.3 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 7 percent of the population this age.

46%

Percentage of people 21 to 64 having some type of disability who were employed in the past year. The rate ranged from 75 percent of those with a nonsevere disability to 31 percent with a severe disability. For those without a disability, the employment rate is 84 percent for the same period.

59%

Percent of people 21 to 64 with difficulty hearing that were employed. The corresponding percentage for those with difficulty seeing was 41 percent.

48%

Percentage of people 21 to 64 with a nonsevere disability who work full time. This compares with 63 percent without a disability and 16 percent with a severe disability.

Income and Poverty

$2,250

Median monthly earnings for people 21 to 64 with a nonsevere disability. This compares with $2,539 for those with no disability and $1,458 for those with a severe disability.

$2,252

Median monthly earnings for people 21 to 64 with difficulty hearing. The corresponding figure for those with difficulty seeing was $1,932.

12%

The poverty rate for people 25 to 64 with a nonsevere disability. This compares with 27 percent for those with a severe disability and 9 percent of those without a disability.

Serving Our Nation

$28.2 billion

Amount of compensation veterans received for service-connected disabilities in fiscal year 2007.
Source: Statistical Abstract of the United States: 2009, Table 505 <http://www.census.gov/compendia/statab/2009/>.

Accommodations

98.5%

Percent of transit buses that were ADA lift- or ramp-equipped, as of 2006. This represents an increase from 61.7 percent in 1995.
Source: Statistical Abstract of the United States: 2009, Table 1075 <http://www.census.gov/compendia/statab/2009/>.

Unless otherwise indicated, all the data are from the Americans with Disabilities: 2005 report at
<http://www.census.gov/newsroom/releases/archives/income_wealth/cb08-185.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
  • 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
  • Hurricane Season Begins (June 1)
  • Father's Day
  • The Fourth of July (July 4)
  • Anniversary of Americans With Disabilities Act (July 26)
  • Back to School (August)
  • Labor Day
  • Grandparents Day
  • Hispanic Heritage Month (Sept. 15-Oct. 15)
  • Unmarried and Single Americans Week
  • Halloween (Oct. 31)
  • American Indian/Alaska Native Heritage Month (November)
  • Veterans Day (Nov. 11)
  • Thanksgiving Day
  • 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: July 15, 2014