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Chartbook on Women and Disability

Section 1: Women and disability throughout the life cycle: Definitions and prevalence

1.1. How many women and men have a disability?

The Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP) uses a broad-based definition of disability. The SIPP definition considers limitations in specific functional activities, activities of daily living (ADLs), and instrumental activities of daily living (IADLs), as well as the use of special aids, the presence of certain conditions related to mental functioning, and questions pertaining to the ability to work. According to the SIPP, one in five Americans has a disability, and 53% of those with disabilities are female.

In 1995, an estimated 20.6% of non-institutionalized civilians (53.9 million people) met the criteria for disability as measured by the SIPP. Women and girls with disabilities are estimated to number 28.6 million, which is 21.3% of the female population. An estimated 25.3 million men and boys with disabilities make up 19.8% of the male population.

One in five Americans has a disability; more than half of those with disabilities are female.

Pie chart. Go to Data Table for Figure 1 for the data values shown in this chart.

Figure 1: Americans with and without disability, by gender

Data Table for Figure 1

Source: McNeil (1997). Website: http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/disable/sipp

Surveys: SIPP, 1994-95

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