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Chartbook on Work and Disability

Section 1: Prevalence of Disability Among Working-age People

1.5. How do the states differ in the numbers of people with a work disability?

With the exception of Maine and Oregon, the states with the highest percentage of people with a work disability are in the southern United States. The eight states with the highest percentage of working age persons with disabilities are ranked as follows:

State Percentage of
working age persons
with disabilties
West Virginia 12.6%
Kentucky 11.4%
Arkansas 11.2%
Mississippi 11.0%
Louisiana 10.3%
Maine 10.2%
Oklahoma 10.2%
Oregon 10.0%

The five states with the lowest proportions of work disabilities are the following:

State Percentage of
working age persons
with disabilties
New Jersey 6.2%
Connecticut 6.4%
Hawaii 6.6%
Alaska 6.6%
Illinois 6.9%

The highest rates of work disability are concentrated in the South.

Map of the U.S. showing rates of work disability

Figure 5: Map showing rates of work disability, by state

Source: LaPlante & Cyril (1993), Disability Statistics Abstract #6, Table 1.

Surveys: U.S. Bureau of the Census, 1990.

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