Oct. 4, 2006 – A "dramatic" gap in unemployment and poverty separates people with and without disabilities, according to a new report released by Cornell University in collaboration with the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD).
- Attitude, Not Cost, Barrier to Disabled Workers (Mar 9, 2006)
Cornellâ€™s second Annual Disability Status Report found that only 38 percent of nearly 21.5 million people with disabilities between the ages of 21-64, or what is determined as "working-age," were employed last year. That figure compares to just over 78 percent of people without disabilities.
"The employment gap between people with and without disabilities is long-standing," said Andrew Houtenville, director of Cornell's Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on Disability Demographics and Statistics, in a press statement.
The report also found that in 2005, people with disabilities made an average of $6,000 less for full-time work than those without disabilities.
Similarly, median household income was $35,000, about $26,500 less than people without disabilities. People with disabilities were twoâ€“and-a-half times as likely to live in poverty than those without.
The report examined data from the 2005 American Community Survey (ACS), a new US Census Bureau analysis of demographic information collected on a yearly basis. The Cornell report cautioned against making comparisons to 2004 data due to changes in how the ACS survey is conducted.
Gathering statistics on working-age people is important, said researchers, because "employment is a key factor in the social integration and economic self-sufficiency of working-age people with disabilities."
As previously reported by The NewStandard, some disability-rights advocates say the biggest barriers to raising the income and status of people with disabilities are attitudinal. Linda Richman, deputy executive director of Liberty Resources, a Philadelphia-based advocacy organization, told TNS last March that in her view, many employers mistakenly believe that hiring a person with a disability means that "youâ€™re automatically compromising somehow on the quality or volume of work."