According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 20% of Americans are physically or mentally disabled and facing challenges in their lives by living with certain disadvantages. Or, more simply said, 1 in 5 people in the United States suffer from disabilities.
The study started in 2013, with a nationwide survey that inquired participants about varying health problems that might be deemed as disabilities within five categories. The end result showed that 53 million Americans rated themselves as disabled in one way or another, according to the parameters.
The researchers conducted the survey across the entire country, polling all states and drawing out percentages for each in part. They showed that the southern states were most commonly spread with people suffering from disabilities, while the northern states were the least affected.
For example, Alabama took the lead, with 31.5% of people living with one form of disability, meaning almost 1 in 3 people were afflicted, and Mississippi and Tennessee holding second place with 31.4%. On the healthier end, Minnesota was ranked as number one with 16.4% of its residents categorized as disabled, nearly half of Alabama’s. Alaska ranked second best with 17.7%.
The study defined the concept of disability within five major categories, self-reported by the participants, as vision, cognitive, mobility, self-care and independent living. Vision implies blindness of any type or trouble seeing even with the aid of glasses. Cognitive disabilities were defined as memory issues or difficulty in decision making due to physical or mental problems.
Mobility issues implied finding it difficult to climb up the stairs due to a physical condition, self-care as requiring help while bathing or dressing, and independent living as needing help from another person to run daily errands. Each person answering the poll was asked to place themselves in one or more of these categories if they reported challenges within their lifestyle in their day-to-day lives.
The mostly commonly admitted problems were those in mobility issues, with 1 in 8 Americans expressing difficulty moving around the house. Ethnically, 29% of adults from an African descent reported disabilities, 26% of Latinos and 21% of Caucasian. Broken down by gender, the statistics showed 24% of women were afflicted and 20% of men.
The study was conducted due to the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), signed in 1990 by George H.W. Bush, that paved the way for people afflicted with disabilities to join the workforce and find easier access to employment.
It helped the nation understand and better include disabled Americans into the world when they might’ve otherwise felt excluded and it is the hope that the feeling of isolation would never resurface again.
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