Adults with One or More Functional Disabilities – United States, 2011-2014
The characteristics of working-age adults with disabilities
The Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) has published a new report that describes the demographic and socioeconomic characteristics of working-age (18-64 years) adults with disabilities living in U.S. communities. What’s unique about this report is that the researchers also looked at these characteristics by number of disability types. According to the report, about 12% (22.6 million) of working-age adults in the United States have any disability and nearly 6 in 10 of them have only one disability type. Living in poverty, having less than a high school education, or being in the labor force, but looking for work, are each more common among adults who have a disability, even those with only 1 disability, compared with those with no disability. Adults with disabilities had from 1 to 6 disability types; the researchers assigned them to groups of adults who had 1, 2, 3, or 4 or more disability types. As the number of disability types increased from 1 to 4 or more, people in those groups were increasingly more likely to live in poverty, have less than a high school education, or if in the labor force, to be looking for work.
This MMWR presents important information that public health officials and decision makers can use to understand the characteristics of working-age adults with disabilities, including those with multiple disabilities, and make sure they are included in programs and policies designed to increase social participation.
Read the full report Adults with One or More Functional Disabilities – United States, 2011 – 2014
- Approximately 1 in 8 working-age adults in the United States have some type of disability. Of these adults over half (51.0%) had a mobility disability and 38.3% had a cognitive disability.
- Among working-age adults with only 1 disability, the most common type was disability in mobility (33.5%), followed by hearing (24.4%) and cognition (23.1%).
- Among working-age adults with 2 or more disability types, disability in mobility, independent living, and cognition were the most common types.
- Compared with working-age adults with no disability, adults with any disability were more likely to be age 45-64 and more likely to be black, non-Hispanic.
- People with disabilities had from 1 to 6 disability types; the researchers assigned them to groups of adults who had 1, 2, 3, or 4 or more disability types. As the number of disability types increased from 1 to 4 or more, people in those groups were increasingly more likely to live in poverty, to have less than a high school education, and if in the labor force, to be looking for work.
About This Study
- This report is based on data from the 2011-2014 National Health Interview Survey. It includes 6 questions to identify the 6 disability types:
- Hearing (serious difficulty hearing),
- Vision (serious difficulty seeing),
- Cognition (serious difficulty concentrating, remembering or making decisions),
- Mobility (serious difficulty walking or climbing stairs),
- Self-care (difficulty dressing or bathing),
- Independent living (difficulty doing errands alone).
- This report looked at characteristics of working-age adults with one, two, three and four or more disability types.
What can be done?
Working together, public health professionals, employers and communities can address the barriers that may be keeping people with disabilities from getting into the workforce and obtaining the social, economic and health benefits that employment can offer.
- Create a workforce culture that embraces diversity and recognizes the talents, skills, and dedication that people with disabilities bring into the workplace.
- Provide reasonable accommodationsexternal icon so that employees with disabilities can effectively do their jobs and participate in their workplace.
- Provide opportunities for growth and development that match people’s interests and abilities.
- Make sure employees with disabilities can participate in any wellness programs offered in the workplace.
- Bring together professionals from a range of sectors (for example, transportation, health, environment, labor, education, and housing) with community representatives to identify and address the needs of individuals with disabilities in the community.
- Provide access to information and skill building courses that can help residents with disabilities find the resources, jobs, and community services they need.
- Help ensure that community services are inclusive, accessible, and take into consideration people’s literacy skills.
Public Health Officials can
- Work with communities and partners at the local, state and national level to increase the access for people with disabilities to high quality education, jobs, and opportunities for healthy living (for example, access to parks, gyms, grocery stores, health centers, community businesses).
- Support and expand training programs that bring new and diverse workers with disabilities into the healthcare and public health workforce.
- Develop and evaluate community-based programs to reduce differences in health among people with and without disabilities.
CDC currently supports 19 State Disability and Health Programs and two National Centers on Disability.
State Disability and Health Programs inform policy and practice at the state level. These programs ensure that individuals with disabilities are included in ongoing activities within the state that prevent disease and promote health.
The National Centers on Disability—Special Olympics and the National Center on Health, Physical Activity and Disability (NCHPAD)—develop, implement, evaluate, and report on activities aimed at
- Reducing health differences between people with and without disabilities, and
- Improving the health of people with mobility limitations and/or intellectual disabilities across their lifespans.
Key Findings Reference:
Stevens AC, Carroll DD, Courtney-Long EA, Zhang QC, Sloan ML, Griffin-Blake S, Peacock G. Adults with One or More Functional Disabilities — United States, 2011–2014. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2016;65:1021-1025.