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5 facts everyone should know about people with disabilities

5 Things Everyone Should Know About People with Disabilities

November 29, 2016

Think you know everything there is to know about people with disabilities? Your assumptions about this population of people may or may not be correct – there are many statistics that might surprise you about the rights of people with disabilities.

Read on for five of them.

Their employment rates vary greatly by state.

South Dakota is on the right track when it comes to disability employment. With more than 50 percent of people with disabilities currently employed, South Dakota is the only state to pass the halfway mark. In addition, the state ranks among the top two for percent employed with cognitive or ambulatory disabilities. However, there’s always more work to be done – businesses statewide can help this improving trend going!

Their rights and opportunities vary greatly by country.

While South Dakota continues to excel among U.S. states with employing people with disabilities, worldwide, there is a great deal of work yet to be done. With more 1 billion people globally who have some form of disability, 350 million live in areas in which disability-related services aren’t offered and as many as 80 percent live in isolated or developing areas. It’s important to continue to set the example that people with disabilities deserve to earn a living and are a major, untapped workforce – both here and globally.

They are diverse.

While the rate of disability among Caucasians topped out at 13.9 percent in 2015, it’s not the racial population with the highest rate of disability. It’s actually No. 3. The rate of disability among black Americans is 14 percent, while the most prominent rate is among American Indian and Alaska Native populations, at 16.8 percent. The face of Americans with disabilities isn’t one color – this is a population diverse in many ways, from race to gender to economic status.

They are more than “brave” and “inspirational.”

It may be easy to see a person with a disability as someone who is “overcoming” or “succeeding through struggle,” but the fact of the matter is, a healthy majority of people with disabilities are just living their lives like anyone else would – from career to family to home life. Most simply want to be treated like everyday citizens who work, manage and live everyday lives, rather than an “other.”

They are generally underpaid.

On the whole on a national level, employed people with disabilities are underpaid, on average. DiversityInc estimates that the median annual income for those with a disability is more than $10,000 less than for those without. The organization also estimates that people with disabilities in poverty number 250% of those without disabilities who are in poverty. The beauty is, statistics don’t need to win the day – better employment opportunities for people with disabilities is attainable and, more importantly, the right thing to do.


Sources: U.S. Census Bureau, DiversityInc, World Health Organization

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