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Chartbook on Work and Disability

Section 1: Prevalence of disability among working-age people

This first section contains definitions and numbers to answer the most basic questions about the relationship between work and disability. Unfortunately, it is not a simple or straightforward matter to estimate the number of working-age people who have a disability. The three major national surveys that collect data on this topic differ in how they define disability, and the definitions that are used affect the estimates. In order to understand how many working-age people have a disability, it is important to understand how each of the major national surveys defines disability and measures the relationship between work and disability.

This section presents information on the definitions of disability that are used by each of the three major national surveys, as well estimates of how many working-age people have a disability, according to those definitions.

Section 1 also contains information on variations among the states in terms of rates of work disability (how many people have a condition that limits the amount or kind of work they can do).

Topic Questions:

1.1. How many working-age people in the United States have a disability?

1.2. What percentage of people with a disability are employed?

1.3. How many people have a work limitation?

1.4. How many people have a work disability or a severe work disability?

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