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Census Bureau Releases Updated Disability Statistics

August 1, 2012

The U.S. Census Bureau has released updated statistics on the population of people with disabilities in the U.S. According to the new figures, 56.7 Americans (18.7% of the population) have some type of disability. Of this number, an estimated 38.3 million (12.6%) have a disability characterized as "severe."

The findings, which are contained in a study based on the Bureau's 2010 Survey of Income and Program Participation, also provide estimates on the prevalence of different types of disability:


  • vision impairment: 8.1 million (3.3%)
  • hearing impairment: 7.6 million (3.1%)
  • difficulty walking or climbing stairs: 30.6 million (12.6%), including people who use wheelchairs (3.6 million) and canes, crutches, or walkers (11.6 million)
  • difficulty lifting or grasping: 19.9 million (8.2%)
  • cognitive, mental, or emotional impairments: 15.2 million (6.3%)

The Bureau's report, Americans with Disabilities: 2010, also covers distribution by age and gender and provides estimates on various economic factors, including employment rate, income levels, program participation, and health insurance coverage. The report and related information are available on the Census Bureau's website at http://www.census.gov/prod/2012pubs/p70-131.pdf.

Press Release: Nearly 1 in 5 People Have a Disability in the U.S., Census Bureau Reports


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