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Disability rates among working-age adults are shaped by race, place, and education


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A smaller share of people in their prime working years (25-54) are employed now than in decades past, and some have wondered whether disabilities and health problems have played a role in that decline. People with disabilities have much lower employment rates than people without disabilities, and disabilities are one of the most commonly cited reasons for not working. Moreover, a recent Brookings report identified particular subgroups among the out-of-work as having disproportionately high rates of disability.

With that as context, we set out to better understand the role of geography and demography in patterns of disability among prime-age adults. Disability can take many forms, but the Centers for Disease Control provides a useful general definition: disability is any condition of the body or mind that makes it more difficult for the person with the condition to do certain activities and interact with the world around them. The onset of disability can also take many forms: it may present itself at birth, stem from an accident or injury, or result from a long-standing condition or disease, among other causes.

Nine percent of adults aged 25 to 54, or 11 million Americans, reported at least one of six disabilities in 2016.[1] Some patterns by place and demographics are already well-established: disability is disproportionately concentrated in the Southeast, Midwest and Appalachian areas (the so-called “disability belt”), and people with disabilities disproportionately include people with low levels of education and incomes. But analyses at the metropolitan level are less common, and given the regional nature of labor markets, regional-level data should inform efforts to help people with disabilities.

This analysis uses data from the American Community Survey (ACS) to examine disability rates of the 100 largest metropolitan areas, as well as differences by education and race/ethnicity. We do not limit our analysis to those receiving disability benefits, but rather include all who report a disability, in order to provide a broad picture of those with disabilities in the United States and where they live.

Metros show wide variation in disability rates

Disability rates range considerably among the country’s 100 largest metropolitan areas, from just under 4 percent up to 13 percent.

Places with the lowest disability rates have strong economies and well-educated populations, such as San Jose, Los Angeles, and San Francisco in California; Madison, Wisc.; Austin, Texas; and Washington, D.C. Metropolitan areas with the highest disability rates are located both within and outside of the disability belt. Some have historically manufacturing-based or industrial economies, such as Scranton, Pa.; Birmingham, Ala.; Toledo, Ohio; and Spokane, Wash. Others, like Tucson, Ariz.; Deltona, Fla.; and El Paso, Texas have large tourism or agricultural sectors that employ many workers with low levels of education.

Disability by race/ethnicity varies within and between metros…

At the national level, Native Americans have the highest disability rate among working-age adults (16 percent), followed by blacks (11 percent), whites (9 percent), Hispanics (7 percent), and Asians (4 percent).

Yet disability rates by race and ethnicity also vary greatly among metro areas. As Figure 1 shows, Asians exhibit both low levels of disability and relatively small variation between places, ranging from 2 percent to 13 percent. Blacks and Hispanics both exhibit wider ranges, from the low single digits to about 20 percent. In most places, as at the national level, blacks have higher disability rates than whites, up to 2.5 times greater. In a number of metro areas, however (concentrated in Florida, North Carolina, and Connecticut), blacks have the same or lower disability rates than whites. Similarly, although Hispanics have lower disability rates than most other races/ethnicities at the national level, they are more likely to be disabled than whites and blacks in metro areas such as Spokane, Wash.; Springfield, Mass.; Deltona, Fla.; and Allentown and Pittsburgh in Pennsylvania.

…but the differences by education are much larger

Among the entire prime-age population in the United States, the disability rate among those with only a high school diploma is three times higher than among those with a bachelor’s degree (12 percent and 4 percent, respectively). In a number of places, however, that gap is even greater, particularly in formerly industrial metro areas in Ohio (Akron, Cincinnati, Columbus, Toledo, Youngstown), Pennsylvania (Scranton and Pittsburgh), and Massachusetts (Springfield and Worcester).

In some ways, these data are not surprising. As noted above, people with disabilities have lower educational levels than people without disabilities, and education is a powerful predictor of health status in general. But the size of the gap is sobering and points to a complicated relationship between education and disability. Even in a post-ADA world, people with disabilities can face barriers to completing their education, and education is linked to overall health in myriad ways, including individual health knowledge and behaviors, access to health care, exposure to environmental toxins, and jobs that are more physically demanding or dangerous.

Geography also interacts with education and disability. Low education is more strongly associated with disability in some regions than others, suggesting that education is one of a number of factors that influence local disability rates. But the relationship between disability and geography is long-standing: researchers have noted it for decades, suggesting the patterns have deep roots in industrial and sociocultural conditions.

Our next post will dive deeper into employment trends among people with disabilities in their prime working years, with a continued focus on trends by race, education, and geography. Both job availability and demographics vary markedly around the country, requiring local leaders to craft employment and service interventions tailored to local needs.

The authors thank Cecile Murray for her help conceptualizing and carrying out the data analysis for this blog.

[1]Disabilities are defined as having difficulties in the following areas: vision, hearing, the ability to walk or climb stairs, cognition (remembering, concentrating, or making decisions), self-care (dressing or bathing), and independent living (doing errands alone such as visiting a doctor’s office or shopping).

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    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      According to the Telegraph, the World Health Organization will change its definition of disabilities to classify people without a sexual partner as “infertile.” The controversial new classifications will make it so that heterosexual single men and women, as well as gay men and women who are seeking in vitro fertilization to have a child, will receive the same priority as couples. This could make access to public funds for IVF available to all.
      The move to extend the definition of a disability to include social conditions has, predictably, angered some who consider it overreach by a medical organization that sets global standards.
      Josephine Quintavalle, a pro-life activist and director of Comment on Reproductive Ethics told the Telegraph, “This absurd nonsense is not simply re-defining infertility but completely side-lining the biological process and significance of natural intercourse between a man and a woman.” The “natural intercourse” intercourse line is painful but expected. Quantaville took it a step further down the anti-science road by saying, “How long before babies are created and grown on request completely in the lab?”
      For the WHO’s Dr. David Adamson, one of the authors of the new standards, this move is about creating medical equality. He says, “The definition of infertility is now written in such a way that it includes the rights of all individuals to have a family, and that includes single men, single women, gay men, gay women.”
      Dr. Adamson adds that, “It puts a stake in the ground and says an individual’s got a right to reproduce whether or not they have a partner.” For countries with government provided healthcare and public funding for IVF procedures, this could have significant ramifications. “It fundamentally alters who should be included in this group and who should have access to healthcare. It sets an international legal standard. Countries are bound by it,” Adamson says.
      Under the American Disabilities Act, a person with a disability is defined as someone with “a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, a person who has a history or record of such an impairment, or a person who is perceived by others as having such an impairment.” Because the ADA does not name all of the impairments that are covered, the new WHO guidelines could apply, or even be unnecessary. After all, having children is a major life activity for many people.
      The World Health Organization has still not made its new terms official but they seem to be moving forward. It remains to be seen what effects the move will have on individual countries’ health programs.

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    • misette  »  Gilles h

      Bonsoir Gilles
      S'il te plait, aurais-tu le samedi après-midi de l'assemblée régionale 2021
      Je te remercie
       
      · 2 replies
    • Eric Ouellet

      Soyons reconnaissant devant toutes ses oeuvres
       
      Le Dieu des dieux, Jéhovah, parle ;
      il convoque la terre
      depuis le soleil levant jusqu’au soleil couchant.
      De Sion, la perfection de la beauté, Dieu rayonne.
      Notre Dieu viendra et ne pourra pas garder le silence.
      Il y a un feu dévorant devant lui,
      et une violente tempête fait rage autour de lui.
      Il convoque les cieux et la terre
      pour juger son peuple :
       « Rassemblez auprès de moi mes fidèles,
      ceux qui concluent une alliance avec moi par un sacrifice. »
      Les cieux proclament sa justice,
      car Dieu lui-même est Juge. (Sèla.)
       « Écoute, ô mon peuple, je vais parler ;
      ô Israël, je vais témoigner contre toi.
      Je suis Dieu, ton Dieu.
      Ce n’est pas pour tes sacrifices que je te réprimande,
      ni pour tes holocaustes, qui sont constamment devant moi.
      Je n’ai pas besoin de prendre un taureau de ta maison
      ni des boucs de tes enclos.
      Car tous les animaux sauvages de la forêt m’appartiennent,
      même les bêtes sur mille montagnes.
      Je connais tous les oiseaux des montagnes;
      les innombrables animaux des champs sont à moi.
      Si j’avais faim, je ne te le dirais pas,
      car le sol productif m’appartient, avec tout ce qui s’y trouve.
      Vais-je manger la viande des taureaux
      et boire le sang des boucs?
      Offre en sacrifice à Dieu ta reconnaissance
      et acquitte-toi des vœux que tu as faits au Très-Haut;
      appelle-moi en temps de détresse.
      Je te secourrai, et tu me glorifieras. »
      Mais Dieu dira au méchant :
      « De quel droit récites-tu mes prescriptions
      ou parles-tu de mon alliance?
      Car tu détestes la discipline,
      et sans cesse tu tournes le dos à mes paroles.
      Quand tu vois un voleur, tu l’approuves,
      et tu fréquentes les personnes adultères.
      Avec ta bouche, tu répands le mal,
      et tu attaches la tromperie à ta langue.
      Tu t’assieds et tu parles contre ton frère;
      tu révèles les défauts du fils de ta propre mère.
      Quand tu faisais ces choses, je gardais le silence,
      alors tu t’es dit que j’étais comme toi.
      Mais, à présent, je vais te réprimander
      et exposer ce que j’ai contre toi.
      Réfléchissez à ceci, s’il vous plaît, vous qui oubliez Dieu,
      sinon je vous déchirerai et il n’y aura personne pour vous secourir.
      Celui qui offre en sacrifice sa reconnaissance me glorifie ;
      et à celui qui est déterminé à bien agir
      je ferai voir le salut de Dieu. »

      · 0 replies
    • Eric Ouellet

      Dieu aime les prières et la sincérité de ses serviteurs humbles
       
      Dieu aime la bonté de coeur envers autrui et non aux sacrifices et holocaustes d'animaux sauvages et domistiques.
      Dans ton amour fidèle, accorde-moi ta faveur, ô Dieu.
      Dans ta grande miséricorde, efface mes transgressions.
      Lave-moi complètement de ma faute
      et purifie-moi de mon péché.
      Car je suis bien conscient de mes transgressions,
      et mon péché est constamment devant moi.
      C’est contre toi que j'ai failli, oui j'ai fait le mal
      devant tes yeux.
      Ainsi, tu es juste quand tu parles,
      tu es droit quand tu juges.
      Vois ! Je suis né coupable
      et, depuis l’instant où ma mère m’a conçu, je suis pécheur.
      Vois ! Tu prends plaisir à la vérité dans le fond du cœur;
      enseigne-moi la vraie sagesse, au plus profond de moi.
      Purifie-moi de mon péché avec l’hysope, pour que je sois pur;
      lave-moi, pour que je sois plus blanc que la neige.
      Fais-moi entendre le son de l’allégresse et de la joie,
      pour que les os que tu as broyés se réjouissent.
      Détourne ton visage de mes péchés
      et efface toutes mes fautes.
      Crée en moi un cœur pur, ô Dieu,
      et mets en moi un esprit nouveau, ferme.
      Ne me chasse pas de ta présence ;
      ne m’enlève pas ton esprit saint.
      Redonne-moi la joie d’être sauvé par toi;
      éveille en moi la volonté de t’obéir.
      Je veux enseigner tes chemins aux transgresseurs,
      pour que les pécheurs reviennent à toi.
      Libère-moi de la culpabilité de meurtre, ô Dieu, mon Dieu sauveur,
      pour que ma langue puisse proclamer joyeusement ta justice.
      Ô Jéhovah, ouvre mes lèvres
      pour que ma bouche proclame ta louange.
      Car tu ne veux pas de sacrifices — autrement, j’en donnerais ;
      tu ne prends pas plaisir aux holocaustes.
      Le sacrifice qui plaît à Dieu, c’est un esprit brisé ;
      un cœur brisé et broyé, ô Dieu, tu ne le rejetteras pas.
      Dans ta bienveillance, agis pour le bien de Sion ;
      bâtis les murailles de Jérusalem.
      Alors tu prendras plaisir aux sacrifices de justice,
      aux holocaustes et aux offrandes totales ;
      alors on offrira des taureaux sur ton autel.


      · 0 replies
    • Eric Ouellet

      Dieu aime les prières et la sincérité de ses serviteurs humbles
       
      Dieu aime la bonté de coeur envers autrui et non aux sacrifices et holocaustes d'animaux sauvages et domistiques.
      Dans ton amour fidèle, accorde-moi ta faveur, ô Dieu.
      Dans ta grande miséricorde, efface mes transgressions.
      Lave-moi complètement de ma faute
      et purifie-moi de mon péché.
      Car je suis bien conscient de mes transgressions,
      et mon péché est constamment devant moi.
      C’est contre toi que j'ai failli, oui j'ai fait le mal
      devant tes yeux.
      Ainsi, tu es juste quand tu parles,
      tu es droit quand tu juges.
      Vois ! Je suis né coupable
      et, depuis l’instant où ma mère m’a conçu, je suis pécheur.
      Vois ! Tu prends plaisir à la vérité dans le fond du cœur;
      enseigne-moi la vraie sagesse, au plus profond de moi.
      Purifie-moi de mon péché avec l’hysope, pour que je sois pur;
      lave-moi, pour que je sois plus blanc que la neige.
      Fais-moi entendre le son de l’allégresse et de la joie,
      pour que les os que tu as broyés se réjouiss.
      Détourne ton visage de mes péchés
      et efface toutes mes fautes.
      Crée en moi un cœur pur, ô Dieu,
      et mets en moi un esprit nouveau, ferme.
      Ne me chasse pas de ta présence ;
      ne m’enlève pas ton esprit saint.
      Redonne-moi la joie d’être sauvé par toi;
      éveille en moi la volonté de t’obéir.
      Je veux enseigner tes chemins aux transgresseurs,
      pour que les pécheurs reviennent à toi.
      Libère-moi de la culpabilité de meurtre, ô Dieu, mon Dieu sauveur,
      pour que ma langue puisse proclamer joyeusement ta justice.
      Ô Jéhovah, ouvre mes lèvres
      pour que ma bouche proclame ta louange.
      Car tu ne veux pas de sacrifices — autrement, j’en donnerais ;
      tu ne prends pas plaisir aux holocaustes.
      Le sacrifice qui plaît à Dieu, c’est un esprit brisé ;
      un cœur brisé et broyé, ô Dieu, tu ne le rejetteras pas.
      Dans ta bienveillance, agis pour le bien de Sion ;
      bâtis les murailles de Jérusalem.
      Alors tu prendras plaisir aux sacrifices de justice,
      aux holocaustes et aux offrandes totales ;
      alors on offrira des taureaux sur ton autel.


    • Shirley Lowery

      Hello to all my Spiritual Brothers and Sisters! I haven't been on here in a while, because as of August 17, 2021, I moved to Commerce, Texas! I was on the Commerce Housing Authority Waiting list since 2019!  I was selected to receive my one bedroom apartment, with my Chihuahua, with my precious Babyboy, who is now 16 years old! and I signed my lease on August 5, 2021, and had my gas turned on! We have a very small Congregation of 71 publishers, including me!  I haven't been to our beautiful Kingdomhall yet, but I did take some photos of the outside of it! I'm praying that we are one of the Congregations, chosen to start attending in person, our pilot meetings that many countries are now attending! Puerto Rico, Chile, and Australia are a few chosen right now! There's three Shirley's in my Congregation!  Two elderly sisters, one is white, she's No.1 , and another  elderly sister who is black, she's No.2, and I'm ShirleyL3!  One sister lovingly named me that! I feel special now! I haven't been given an assignment yet, but soon I will!  I really enjoyed our "POWERFUL by FAITH" Regional Convention so much!  We needed all the Spiritual Encouragement which focused on all of us! Also, all those beautiful videos, and the real life experiences! July 29, 1972, was my baptism date! 49 years now, serving Jehovah! I was 15 when I dedicated my life to serve Jehovah! I'm 64 years young now, and still faithfully serving Jehovah! I do telephone witnessing now! Which lots of people hang up on me, but I'm used to it now! All that matters is that I'm giving Jehovah my best!  I'm so excited about our Special Campaign now!  Only Jehovah reads hearts!  Hopefully lots of people will show some interest!  This year 2021 is almost over! I received both doses of Moderna, and have to wait till I turn 65 in May, to receive my Booster shot! We lost over 17, 000 brothers and sisters to Covid-19! My prayers are with them and their families! Soon, as Jehovah has promised, they will welcome their loved ones back in their lives, during the resurrection! I love it here so much, everyone is very friendly! I just love my Congregation too! I hope everyone makes their personal decision to get vaccinated! Also I hope everyone has a great rest of 2021! Let's see what Jehovah has in store for us in 2022! Were having our Circuit Assembly on November 27, 2021!  Take care of yourselves, be safe, and always trust in Jehovah!!!  Have a great weekend everybody, agape love, Sister Shirley Ann Lowery! 
      · 1 reply
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