1 in 5 American Adults Has a Disability Cognitive difficulties, including language, are the second-most prevalent disability in the United States, following only mobility impairments, according to recent research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). About one in every five U.S. adults—more than 53 million people—has a disability related to vision, cognition, mobility, self-care or ... News in Brief
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News in Brief  |   October 01, 2015
1 in 5 American Adults Has a Disability
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Hearing Disorders / Regulatory, Legislative & Advocacy / Language Disorders / Attention, Memory & Executive Functions / News in Brief
News in Brief   |   October 01, 2015
1 in 5 American Adults Has a Disability
The ASHA Leader, October 2015, Vol. 20, 10. doi:10.1044/leader.NIB1.20102015.10
The ASHA Leader, October 2015, Vol. 20, 10. doi:10.1044/leader.NIB1.20102015.10
Cognitive difficulties, including language, are the second-most prevalent disability in the United States, following only mobility impairments, according to recent research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
About one in every five U.S. adults—more than 53 million people—has a disability related to vision, cognition, mobility, self-care or independent living, concludes “Prevalence of Disability and Disability Type Among Adults–United States, 2013.” The report is based on questions in the 2013 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, which allowed respondents to identify specific functional disabilities (such as trouble bathing or remembering things).
This effort marks the first to include functional disability in a state-based health survey. Understanding specific difficulties at a state level can lead to programs that address the needs of the different disability populations.
Because this telephone survey may not have been accessible to individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing, information on hearing difficulties was not collected. The report focused on five specific disability types and was not intended to represent the full range of disability within the United States. According to the CDC, information related to hearing loss and communication disorders is being collected and reported through other channels.
The report also found that:
  • Estimates of state-by-state prevalence range from 16 percent in Minnesota to 31.5 percent in Alabama, with the highest percentages generally in Southern states. This region also has some of the higher rates of chronic diseases, such as heart disease and diabetes, which may also be associated with disability.

  • More than one-third of adults at least 65 years old reported having a disability. Of the five categories measured, mobility disability was most prevalent (13 percent), followed by cognition (10.6 percent), independent living (6.5 percent), vision (4.6 percent) and self-care (3.6 percent).

  • Women were more likely to report any disability when compared with men (24.4 percent versus 19.8 percent).

  • Adults 45–64 years old were more likely than other age groups to report a cognitive disability.

  • Individuals reporting a higher household income or education level were less likely to report having a disability than individuals in lower income or education levels.

  • Non-Hispanic black adults (29 percent) and Hispanic adults (25.9 percent) reported disability more frequently than white non-Hispanic adults (20.6 percent).

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October 2015
Volume 20, Issue 10