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Employment Rates for People With and Without Disabilities

Data Note 10, 2007

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Originally published: 1/2007

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Data set: American Community Survey

Data show that people with disabilities are consistently less likely to be working than their non-disabled counterparts. In this data note, we compare the employment rate for working-age people with and without disabilities. We define "working-age" as non-institutionalized people ages 16-64. The employment rate is calculated by dividing the number of people who are employed by the sum of people who are employed, unemployed, and not in the labor force (i.e., unemployed and haven't actively looked for work in the past four weeks).

In 2005, employment rates for people with disabilities averaged 37.4%, from 25.4% in West Virginia to 54.2% in North Dakota. Employment rates for people without disabilities ranged from 70.4% in West Virginia to 82.7% in North Dakota. The gap in employment rate between people with and without disabilities ranged from 24.2% in Utah to 45.3% in Kentucky, with a national average of 37%.

Researchers calculated a rank-order correlation to test the relationship between employment rates for people with and without disabilities across all states. The results showed a moderate to strong relationship: States that had a high employment rate for people without disabilities tended to also have a high employment rate for people with disabilities.*

Employment Rates (Working-Age Population)

State With disability (%) Without disability (%) Rate gap (%)
AK 48.1 72.7 24.6
AL 32.5 73.2 40.7
AZ 37.9 73.6 35.7
AR 34.2 75.4 41.2
CA 36.7 71.2 34.5
CO 45.1 77.1 32.0
CT 42.3 76.9 34.6
DE 43.0 76.6 33.6
DC 35.0 73.1 38.1
FL 36.5 73.9 37.4
GA 35.7 74.0 38.3
HI 41.2 74.8 33.6
ID 43.5 75.3 31.8
IL 38.6 73.9 35.3
IN 39.5 75.6 36.1
IA 43.7 81.4 37.7
KS 44.7 79.7 35.0
KY 28.5 73.8 45.3
LA 32.0 70.5 38.5
ME 37.6 80.0 42.4
MD 42.4 77.5 35.1
MA 37.1 77.1 40.0
MI 35.1 73.2 38.1
MN 44.9 80.8 35.9
MS 30.2 71.8 41.6
MO 38.5 77.1 38.6
MT 49.5 77.6 28.1
NE 43.6 81.2 37.6
NV 39.6 75.0 35.4
NH 40.4 81.6 41.2
NJ 38.9 74.5 35.6
NM 37.8 72.2 34.4
NY 35.1 72.2 37.1
NC 36.5 75.5 39.0
ND 54.2 82.7 28.5
OH 36.7 75.7 39.0
OK 38.0 74.8 36.8
OR 41.1 74.8 33.7
PA 35.5 75.3 39.8
RI 38.4 79.2 40.8
SC 32.2 74.1 41.9
SD 51.7 81.4 29.7
TN 32.1 74.8 42.7
UT 52.2 76.4 24.2
TX 39.3 72.1 32.8
VT 43.5 81.6 38.1
VA 40.0 76.5 36.5
WA 41.9 74.3 32.4
WV 25.4 70.4 45.0
WI 43.5 79.1 35.6
WY 50.9 79.9 29.0
US total 37.4 74.4 37.0

rs=.671. Correlation is significant at a=.01 (2-tailed).

Source: 2005 American Community Survey (ACS).

This is a publication of StateData.info, funded in part by the Administration on Developmental Disabilities, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (#90DN0204).

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