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Release Number CB17-FF.11
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On July 26, 1990, President George H.W. Bush signed into law the Americans with Disabilities Act, which prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities in employment, transportation, public accommodations, commercial facilities, telecommunications, and state and local government services.

This Facts for Features provides a demographic snapshot of the U.S. population with a disability and examines various services available to them. The statistics come from various Census Bureau censuses and surveys, covering differing periods of time.

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Population Distribution

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56.7 million

The number of people in the United States with a disability in 2010, representing 19.0 percent of the civilian noninstitutionalized population. People with a disability have a physical or mental impairment that affects one or more major life activities, such as walking, bathing, dressing, eating, preparing meals, doing errands alone or doing housework. A disability can occur at birth or at any point in a person’s life.

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15.7 million

The number of people age 65 and older with at least one disability, according to data collected from 2008 to 2012, which makes up 39.0 percent of the population in this age group. Of this group, two-thirds had difficulty in walking or climbing stairs. The second-most cited disability was difficulty with independent living, such as visiting a doctor’s office or shopping.

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19.4%

The percentage of the civilian noninstitutionalized population in West Virginia in 2015 with a disability — the highest rate of any state in the nation. Utah, at 9.9 percent, had the lowest rate.

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28.7%

The percentage of the civilian noninstitutionalized population in Pike County, Ky., in 2015 with a disability — among the highest rate in the nation for counties with populations of 65,000 or more. Kendall County, Ill., at 4.9 percent, had among the lowest rate.

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22.4%

The percentage of the civilian noninstitutionalized population in Flint city, Michigan, in 2015 with a disability — among the highest rates in the nation among places with populations of 65,000 or more. Fisher’s town, Indiana, at 3.5 percent, had among the lowest rates. A place is a city, town, village or borough, either legally incorporated or not.

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Services for Those With Disabilities

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2,833

The number of business establishments providing special needs transportation in 2012, up 20.7 percent from 2,347 in 2007. Such businesses may use specially equipped vehicles to provide passenger transportation. These businesses employed 61,605 people in 2012 and generated revenues of $3.5 billion. Employment was up 24.0 percent and revenues increased 27.7 percent since 2007.

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14,060

The number of business establishments that provided pet care (except veterinary services) in 2012. These businesses generated revenues of $3.4 billion. Among these businesses are those that train assistance dogs.

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25,964

The number of business establishments primarily providing services for the elderly and persons with disabilities in 2012. These establishments provided for the welfare of these individuals in such areas as day care, nonmedical home care or homemaker services, social activities, group support and companionship. These businesses employed 901,359 workers and generated $34.1 billion in revenues. In 2015, these businesses generated $40.7 billion in revenues.

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7,832

The number of business establishments providing vocational rehabilitation services in 2012. These businesses employed 312,659 people and generated revenues of $12.4 billion. In 2007, there were 7,631 such establishments, employing 303,713 people and producing revenues of $11.5 billion. These businesses provide job counseling, job training and work experience to people with disabilities.

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2,344

The number of business establishments providing translation and interpretation services in 2012. These businesses employed 24,926 people and generated revenues of $4.2 billion. In 2007, there were 1,975 such establishments, employing 14,546 people and producing revenues of $1.9 billion. Among these businesses are those that provide sign language services.

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3,597

The number of business establishments providing home health equipment rental in 2012, down 4.4 percent from 3,762 in 2007. Such businesses rent home-type health and invalid equipment, such as wheelchairs, hospital beds, oxygen tanks, etc. These businesses employed 33,935 people in 2012 and generated revenues of $5.4 billion. Employment was up 2.8 percent while revenues decreased 7.8 percent since 2007.

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Specific Disabilities

Note: All statistics in this section come from the 2015 American Community Survey, measuring the civilian noninstitutionalized population.

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10.8 million

The number of people age 18 and older in 2015 who reported being deaf or having significant difficulty hearing. Among the population age 65 and older, 6.9 million reported being deaf or having significant difficulty hearing.

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6.8 million

The number of people age 18 and older in 2015 who had serious difficulty seeing even when wearing glasses. Among people age 65 and older, 3.0 million had serious difficulty seeing.

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20.6 million

The number of people age 18 and older in 2015 who had serious difficulty walking or climbing stairs. Among people age 65 and older, 10.5 million had serious difficulty walking or climbing stairs.

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12.9 million

The number of people age 18 and older in 2015 who had serious difficulty concentrating, remembering or making decisions due to a physical, mental or emotional condition. Among people age 65 and older, 4.2 million had serious difficulty concentrating, remembering or making decisions.

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14.2 million

The number of people age 18 and older in 2015 who had difficulty doing errands alone, such as visiting a doctor’s office or shopping, due to a physical, mental or emotional condition. Among people age 65 and older, 6.9 million had difficulty doing errands alone.

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7.5 million

The number of people age 18 and older in 2015 who had difficulty dressing or bathing. Among people age 65 and older, 3.8 million had difficulty dressing or bathing.

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Older People With a Disability

Note: The source for this section is Older Americans With a Disability: 2008-2012, which presents statistics from the 2008-2012 American Community Survey.

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25.4%

The percentage of the population age 85 and older with a disability among the population age 65 and older.

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More Than One-Third

The proportion of people age 85 and older with a disability who lived alone, is about one-fourth of those aged 65 to 74.

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54.4%

The percentage of the older population who had not graduated from high school and had a disability, twice the rate of those with a bachelor’s degree or higher (26.0 percent).

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12.6%

The percentage of older Americans living in a household with a disability living in poverty, compared with 7.2 percent of the older household population without a disability.

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Earnings

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$21,572

The median earnings in the past 12 months for people with a disability. This is 69.0 percent of the median earnings, $31,872, for those without a disability. (Both figures pertain to the civilian, noninstitutionalized population age 16 and older, with earnings in the past 12 months.)

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Mobility

Note: The source for the statistics in this section is Desire to Move and Residential Mobility: 2010-2011, which come from the Survey of Income and Program Participation.

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12.5%

The percentage of householders with a disability who desired to move to another residence, higher than the corresponding figure of 8.2 percent for those without a disability. Those with mental disabilities were the most likely to desire to move (20.6 percent).

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17.3%

The percentage of householders with a disability who desired to move to another residence and actually did so over a one-year period.

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9.3%

The percentage of all householders with a disability who moved to another residence over a one-year period.

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The 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)
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; or e-mail: pio@census.gov.

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