Overview: People with Disabilities

Quick Facts: A Nationwide Perspective

According to Americans with Disabilities: 2005

  • Approximately 18% of the population is disabled.
  • Roughly 3.3 million people, or 1 percent, age 15 and older used a wheelchair or similar device, with 10.2 million, or 4 percent, using a cane, crutches or walker.
  • Nearly 7.8 million people age 15 and older had difficulty seeing words or letters in ordinary newspaper print, including 1.8 million being completely unable to see.
  • More than 16 million people had difficulty with cognitive, mental or emotional functioning. 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.
  • The chances of having a disability increase with age: 18.1 million people 65 and older, or 52 percent, had a disability. Of this number, 12.9 million, or 37 percent, had a severe disability. For people 80 and older, the disability rate was 71 percent, with 56 percent having a severe disability.
  • Among people 16 to 64, 13.3 million, or 7 percent, reported difficulty finding a job or remaining employed because of a health-related condition.
  • Among people 25 to 64 with a severe disability, 27 percent were in poverty, compared with 12 percent for people with a nonsevere disability and 9 percent for those without a disability.
  • Median monthly earnings were $1,458 for people with a severe disability, $2,250 for people with a nonsevere disability and $2,539 for those with no disability.
  • Parents reported that 228,000 children under age 3, or 2 percent, had a disability. Specifically, they either had a developmental delay or difficulty moving their arms or legs. In addition, there were 475,000 children 3 to 5 years, or 4 percent, with a disability, which meant they had either a developmental delay or difficulty walking, running or playing.
  • There were 4.7 million children 6 to 14, or 13 percent, with a disability. The most prevalent type was difficulty doing regular schoolwork (2.5 million, or 7 percent).

Local Needs?

Below are a few ways that people can help:

  • Persons with disabilities have additional needs in a disaster. contains useful tips for helping disabled Americans develop an emergency plan.
  • Transportation can be a major barrier for persons with disabilities. Providing transportation to the grocery store, the doctor's office, community events, etc... can provide more freedom to those with disabilities.
  • Oftentimes children with disabilities may not be able to attend summer camp because it cannot accommodate their disability. Providing a summer camp for children with disabilities will allow them to participate in this age old tradition.

Other Resources

Added 05/12/2010 by asblackwood, Modified 11/27/2013 by sarya


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