Census: Employment Rates Up, But Earning Levels Down
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
May 16, 2006
WASHINGTON, DC--New census data released Friday indicates a slight improvement in employment rates for Americans with disabilities in recent years, but a slight drop in average incomes.
The report from the U.S. Census Bureau was based on interviews with 26,800 households, or 6 percent of the population, during the summer of 2002. About 18 percent of respondents -- representing 51 million Americans -- identified themselves as having a disability, with about 12 percent -- or 33 million -- saying they had a "severe disability".
When asked if they had worked during the previous year, about 56 percent of adults with disabilities between 21 and 64 years of age said they had jobs and earned a median average of $22,000 a year. Among those with severe disabilities, 43 percent had jobs and earned an average of $12,800.
Those who reported having no disability averaged $25,000 in earnings. Eighty-eight percent were employed during the same period.
A similar census report released five years ago showed that only about 50 percent of working age adults were employed in 1997, but averaged $23,373 in earnings. Those considered to have severe disabilities had just a 31 percent job rate in 1997, but earned an average of $18,631 for the year.
Friday's report also found that people with severe disabilities were more likely to report poor health status. Twenty-six percent lived below the poverty rate, compared with 11 percent of those with "mild disabilities" and eight percent of those without disabilities.
On a related note, the study found that among people with severe disabilities between 15 and 64 years of age, 36 percent used a computer and 29 percent used the Internet at home.
"Press Release: More Than 50 Million Americans Report Some Level of Disability" (U.S. Census Bureau)
Report: "Americans with Disabilities -- 2002" (U.S. Census Bureau)