USA Disability Rate 12.6%

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Cover of the “2015 Annual Disability Statistics Compendium” USA

The USA Annual Disability Statistics Compendium is available from the University of New Hampshire website. This is a web-based tool that pools disability statistics published by various federal agencies together in one place.  The Compendium shows that the overall rate of disability in the US population in 2014 was 12.6%. The percentage of those with a disability in the United States civilian population rose from 11.9 in 2010 to 12.6 in 2013 and 2014.  Rates of disability increase with age. In 2014, in the population under 5 years old, less than 1.0% of the population had a disability. For the population ages 5-17, the rate was 5.4%. For ages 18-64, the rate was 10.5%. For people ages 65 and older, 36.0% had a disability.  In 2014, of the US population with disabilities, forty percent (40.7%) of people with disabilities were 65 and older.  All disability types (hearing, vision, cognitive, ambulatory, self-care, and independent living) have increases in disability percentages with age, however cognitive shows the least change between age groups.

Hearing disability is connected strongly with age: there are very low percentages in the under 5 and 5-17 age groups (0.5% and 0.6% respectively), rising to 2.1% of 18-64 year olds, and to 15.0% of those ages 65 and over.    Vision disability also is connected strongly with age. Only 0.5% of children under 5, 0.8% of the 5-17 age group, and 1.9% of 18-64 year olds had a vision disability. For those 65 and over, the percentage increases to 6.7%.  The national prevalence percentage for civilians with cognitive disabilities increases with age, starting at 4.1% for those age 5-17, rising to 4.4% for those 18-64, and jumping to 9.1% for those ages 65 and over.  the percentage of ambulatory disability increases rapidly with age. In those ages 5-17, the rate was a very low 0.6%.  For those in the working age (18-64 year olds), the rate jumps to 5.2%.  The rate then leaps to 23.0% for those ages 65 and over.  As with the other disabilities, the national percentage of civilians with a self-care disability rises with age (Figure 27).  The percentage was 1.0% for those ages 5-17, 1.9% for those ages 18-64, and 8.4% for those 65 and over.  The national percentage for independent living disability for civilians ages 18-64 was 3.7%. For those 65 and over, however, the percentage skyrockets to 15.2% (or nearly 1 in 7).

References: Kraus, Lewis. (2015). 2015 Disability Statistics Annual Report. Durham, NH: University of New Hampshire.   Follow on Twitter: @UNHIOD @Dialogue4Health


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