Aerial View of Yale University

Disability Facts

Postsecondary students

  • 21% of students enrolled in postsecondary programs reported having a disability. 
  • 11% of postbaccalaureate students reported having a disability
  • 28.1% of veterans enrolled in postsecondary programs report having a disability.

SOURCE: Fast Facts: Students with disabilities, National Center for Education Statistics. Data from 2019-2020.

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.

In the United States:

  • 1 in 4 adults (27%) live with a disability. Of those adults with a disability:
  • 12.1 percent have a mobility disability with serious difficulty walking or climbing stairs.
  • 12.8 percent have a cognition disability with serious difficulty concentrating, remembering or making decisions.
  • 7.2 percent have an independent living disability with difficulty doing errands alone.
  • 6.1 percent are deaf or have serious difficulty hearing
  • 4.8 percent have a vision disability with blindness or serious difficulty seeing even when wearing glasses.
  • 3.6 percent have a self-care disability with difficulty dressing or bathing.

Source: Disability Impacts All of Us, Centers for Disease Control, retrieved April 3, 2024.