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Chartbook on Women and Disability

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

1.5. Do women's disability rates differ by race and ethnicity?

In the general population, women have a higher rate of disability than men, due primarily to women's higher average longevity. According to the Survey of Income and Program Participation (1991-92), women have higher disability rates than men in all of the major ethnic and racial groups except Native Americans. Among females, Native Americans face the highest disability rate (21.8%), followed closely by Black females at 21.7%. White women have a disability rate of 20.3%, and the rate for Hispanic women is 16.2%. Among the female population, Asian/Pacific Islander women have the lowest disability rate of 10.7%.

These ethnic differences are probably due to a variety of factors including income, education and other socioeconomic disparities (LaPlante & Carlson, 1996), as well as possible cultural differences in how disability is experienced and reported. Further research is needed to investigate ethnic variability in disability rates, and to understand the experiences of ethnic minority women and girls.

Compared to other women, Native American and Black women have the highest rates of disability.

Vertical bar chart. Go to Data Table for Figure 5 for the data values shown in this chart.

Figure 5: Percentage with disability, by gender and ethnicity

Data Table for Figure 5

Source: Bradsher (1995); McNeil (1993).

Surveys: SIPP, 1991-92

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