Disability Facts

  • 21% of all veterans enrolled in undergraduate programs report having a disability.
    Source: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics. (2016). Digest of Education Statistics, 2014 (2016-006), Chapter 3
  • In high school, 94% of students with learning disabilities get some kind of help
    In college, only 17% of these students take advantage of resources provided by their school.
  • The most commonly reported types of disability among undergraduate students in private 4-year US colleges:
    • Specific learning disabilities 36%
    • ADD or ADHD (Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) 26%
    • Mental illness/psychological or psychiatric condition 13%
    • Health impairment/condition, including chronic conditions 11%
    • Difficulty hearing 3%
    • Mobility limitation/orthopedic impairment   3%
    • Autism spectrum disorder 2%
    • Difficulty seeing   2%
    • Cognitive difficulties or intellectual disability  1%
    • Difficulty speaking or language impairment  1%
    • Traumatic brain injury 1%
    • Other impairments 2%
      Source: Raue, K., and Lewis, L. (2011). Students With Disabilities at Degree-Granting Postsecondary Institutions (NCES 2011–018). U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office.
  • Approximately 11% of U.S. undergraduates register a disability* with their school
    * Students in this survey reported having one or more of the following conditions:
    learning disabilities
    visual impairment
    difficulty hearing or deafness
    speech impairment
    orthopedic impairment
    health impairment
  • The actual number of college students with a disability is probably 2 or 3 times higher**
    ** Nearly 2/3 of students who received accommodations in high school do not self-disclose their disabilities in college
  • 57 million people in the U.S. have some sort of disability, and about 1 in 4 of today’s 20-year-olds will become disabled before they retire
  • Most common disabilities, Americans 18-44 years old:
    • Arthritis or other musculoskeletal: 22.2 million
    • Mental illness: 12.9 million
    • Fractures or joint injury: 7 million
    • Heart or other circulatory: 5.9 million
    • Lung: 5 million
    • Diabetes: 2.5 million
      Source: U.S. Census Bureau, 2015 American Community Survey, 1-Year Estimates, American FactFinder, Table B18120
  • People with disabilities constitute one of the nation’s largest minority groups, and the only group that ANY OF US can become a member of at any time
    • Americans with disabilities: 57 million (19% of the population)
    • Americans of Hispanic, Latino or Spanish origin: 57 million
    • African Americans: 42 million
    • Population of Connecticut: 3.6 million
    • Americans with PhDs: 2.5 million
    • Around 15% of the world’s population lives with disabilities
    • Of the 69.6 million American families, more than 20 million have at least one family member with a disability