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Statistics on Disability

Learn more about disability statistics — why they are important, where to find them, and what they tell us.

This page discusses different sources for disability statistics, national-level estimates on disability prevalence, employment rates of people with disabilities, and links to additional information.

Where can I find the most current employment statistics for people with disabilities?

Each month, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) publishes updated labor force participation and employment statistics for people with and without disabilities.

Why are disability employment statistics important to employers?

Knowing the proportion of people with disabilities in a local labor pool compared to that in an employer's specific workforce helps with setting disability inclusion goals and measuring an organization’s success in hiring and retaining disabled workers.

How many working-age people have a disability?

About 22 million (11%) of the 201 million non-institutionalized [1] working-age (18 to 64 years old) people in the United States have a disability (2022 American Community Survey).

How does the United States count people with disabilities?

In the United States, we typically count the number of people with disabilities, assess employment, and determine their labor force participation using two surveys:

  • The American Community Survey (ACS) is an annual survey of approximately 2 million households conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau. The ACS covers various topics, including age, sex, race, disability, employment, income and benefits, health insurance, education, veteran status, and housing characteristics.
  • The Current Population Survey (CPS) is a monthly survey of 60,000 households, sponsored jointly by the U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The CPS is the primary source of U.S. monthly labor force statistics and includes extensive details on employment-related issues.

One household member completes the ACS or CPS on behalf of all members. The surveys are conducted by mail, online form, phone, or in-person interview. Other Federal Government surveys also identify people with disabilities. Disability prevalence rates vary depending on the survey.

Who is counted as having a disability?

Surveys may use different questions and criteria to define a "person with a disability," but the ACS and CPS define disability similarly. Both ask people six yes/no questions about whether they find it difficult to do certain activities. A person is counted as having a disability if they (or the person responding on their behalf, such as a parent or caregiver) answer "yes" to one or more of these questions.

Definition of disability types based on ACS (American Community Survey) questions
ACS Disability Questions: Answering "yes" means this person has a:
1. Is this person deaf or does he/she have serious difficulty hearing? Hearing Disability
2. Is this person blind or does he/she have serious difficulty seeing even when wearing glasses? Visual Disability
3. Because of a physical, mental, or emotional condition, does this person have serious difficulty concentrating, remembering, or making decisions? Cognitive Disability
4. Does this person have serious difficulty walking or climbing stairs? Ambulatory Disability
5. Does this person have difficulty dressing or bathing? Self-Care Disability
6. Because of a physical, mental, or emotional condition, does this person have difficulty doing errands alone such as visiting a doctor’s office or shopping? Independent Living Disability

Source: American Community Survey – Sample ACS and PRCS Forms and Instructions

What do the data tell us about people with disabilities?

All the estimates below are based on an analysis of the 2022 [2] ACS Public Use Microdata Sample (PUMS) focused on the working-age (18-64), non-institutionalized population. Using ACS data offers a large sample and allows the development of nationally representative estimates by characteristics such as age, disability type, race, and ethnicity.

Do data exist about other specific disability types?


  1. Non-institutionalized people are those who do not live in institutions such as hospitals or prisons.
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  2. U.S. Census Bureau estimates are lagged about a year due to data collection schedule and availability.
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  3. The 2022 ACS asked one question about a person’s gender: "What is Person 1's Sex? Mark X in ONE box." The response options are "Male" and "Female." Responses reflect how the person was identified on that question. For more information, see:
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  4. A person is defined as "employed" in the ACS if they answer a survey question about their job and say EITHER:
    • They did any work at all during the previous week as a paid employee, including working at their business, on their own farm, or working at least 15 hours without pay on a family farm or business; OR
    • They were "with a job but not at work," that is, they had a job but temporarily did not work at that job during the previous week due to illness, bad weather, industrial disputes, vacation, or other personal reasons.
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  5. The employment rates presented here will differ from the labor force participation rate. The labor force participation rate is defined by the U.S. Census Bureau as the proportion of the total population aged 16 and over that is in the labor force.
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For More Information

If you want to find more data about people with disabilities, visit the following sites: 

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