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Facts for Features
CB10-FF.13
May 26, 2010

20th Anniversary of Americans with Disabilities Act: July 26


This day marks the 20th anniversary of the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act, which guarantees equal opportunity for people with disabilities in public accommodations, commercial facilities, employment, transportation, state and local government services and telecommunications. Unless otherwise indicated, all the data are from the Americans with Disabilities: 2005 report at <http://www.census.gov/prod/2008pubs/p70-117.pdf>.

Population Distribution

54 million

Number of people who have a disability. They represent 19 percent of the civilian noninstitutionalized population.

By age —

  • 5 percent of children 5 to 17 have disabilities.
  • 10 percent of people 18 to 64 have disabilities.
  • 38 percent of adults 65 and older have disabilities.

Source: 2008 American Community Survey <http://factfinder.census.gov>

12.4%

Percentage of females with a disability, compared with 11.7 percent of males.
Source: 2008 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. 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 million use a walking 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.

1 million

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

2.5 million

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

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 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 difficulty finding a job or remaining employed because of a health condition.

46%

Percentage of people 21 to 64 having some type of disability who were employed. The employment 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.

6%

Percentage of disabled workers 16 and older who used public transportation to commute to work. In addition, 69 percent of people with a disability drove alone, 13 percent carpooled, 4 percent walked and 3 percent used a taxicab, motorcycle, bicycle or other means.
Source: 2008 American Community Survey <http://factfinder.census.gov>

21%

Percentage of disabled workers 16 and older who worked in the educational services and health care and social assistance industries.
Source: 2008 American Community Survey <http://factfinder.census.gov>

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

$36.3 billion

Amount of compensation veterans received for service-connected disabilities in fiscal year 2008.
Source: Statistical Abstract of the United States: 2010, Table 511 <http://www.census.gov/compendia/statab/>

Accommodations

98%

Percent of transit buses that were lift- or ramp-equipped, as of 2007. This represents an increase from 62 percent in 1995.
Source: Statistical Abstract of the United States: 2010, Table 1079 <http://www.census.gov/compendia/statab/>

Education

28%

Percentage of people 25 and older with a disability who had less than a high school graduate education. This compares with 12 percent for those with no disability.
Source: 2008 American Community Survey <http://factfinder.census.gov>

13%

Percentage of people 25 and older with a disability who had a bachelor's degree or higher. This compares with 31 percent for those with no disability.
Source: 2008 American Community Survey <http://factfinder.census.gov>

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)
  • Earth Day (April 22)
  • 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