Gap widens between working-age people with and without disabilities in the workforce, reports show

October 06, 2005

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Between 2003 and 2004 the employment gap widened between the number of working-age Americans with disabilities who are employed and those workers without disabilities, a new report released today (Oct. 5) on Capitol Hill shows.

The finding, which coincides with the start of National Disability Employment Awareness Month, was part of a series of reports released by Cornell University in collaboration with the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD).

The researchers found that in 2004 the "employment gap" between those with disabilities in the workforce and those workers without disabilities was 40.3 percent. That represents a .6 percentage point increase from 2003, when the gap was 39.7 percent.

The growth in the gap means that there are fewer people with disabilities in the workforce relative to the total number of Americans employed. "The rise in the employment gap suggests that people with disabilities are not participating in the recovery from the 2001 recession," said Andrew Houtenville, director of the Cornell's Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on Disability Demographics and Statistics (StatsRRTC).

The first Annual Disability Status Reports from Cornell, which contain a range of statistics about people with disabilities, including statistics by state, are available online at http://www.DisabilityStatistics.org.

The reports, which will be issued yearly at the beginning of October by Cornell, "fill a pressing need for timely and relevant statistics about people with disabilities," said Houtenville. "We hope they will become an annual event that policy-makers, advocates, the media and people with disabilities across the United States will anticipate and depend on," he said.

Another key finding in the reports: The poverty rate rose more between 2004 and 2003 for people with disabilities than for those without. For people with disabilities, it increased .8 percentage points, to 24.1 percent of working-age Americans in 2004, from 23.3 percent in 2003. For people without disabilities it increased .2 percentage points, to 9.1 percent, from 8.9 percent.

Robert Weathers, senior research associate at Cornell's Employment and Disability Institute, said, "The findings about the overall rise in poverty are consistent with the recent Census Bureau announcement that the poverty rate increased in the United States between 2003 and 2004." The Disability Status Reports use the American Community Survey -- the public-use version of the raw data that the Census Bureau uses in its report, Weathers said.

Some Cornell researchers are investigating whether the employment gap may be due, in part, to what they call the "poverty trap." Under current federal rules, people with disabilities must be essentially unemployed to receive government benefits, but the support they receive isn't enough to keep them out of poverty, they point out.

"Those with the lowest incomes lose 50 cents for every dollar they earn. That's a higher tax rate than Bill Gates pays," said David Stapleton, director of the Cornell Institute for Policy Research. Stapleton and others recommend that federal policy be revisited to reward, rather than punish, people with disabilities who earn income through employment.

The Cornell reports also showed that the employment rate of working-age people without disabilities was 77.6 percent in 2003, compared with 37.9 percent for working-age people with disabilities that year. In 2004, the employment rate for people without disabilities rose .2 percentage points, to 77.8 percent, while the employment rate of people with disabilities declined .4 percentage points, to 37.5 percent.
-end-
The StatsRRTC is the statistics arm of three Cornell units: the Employment and Disability Institute in the School of Industrial and Labor Relations, the Institute for Policy Research located in Washington, D.C., and the Department of Policy Analysis and Management in the College of Human Ecology. It is funded by the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research.

Cornell University

Related Poverty Articles from Brightsurf:

COVID-19 second wave in Myanmar causes dramatic increases in poverty
New evidence combining surveys from urban and rural Myanmar and simulation analysis find COVID-19 second wave dramatically increasing poverty and food insecurity.

Advancing the accurate tracking of energy poverty
IIASA researchers have developed a novel measurement framework to track energy poverty that better aligns with the services people lack rather than capturing the mere absence of physical connections to a source of electricity.

If you're poor, poverty is an environmental issue
A survey from Cornell researchers -- conducted among more than 1,100 US residents -- found that there were, in fact, demographic differences in how people viewed environmental issues, with racial and ethnic minorities and lower-income people more likely to consider human factors such as racism and poverty as environmental, in addition to more ecological issues like toxic fumes from factories or car exhaust.

Poverty associated with suicide risk in children and adolescents
Between 2007 to 2016, nearly 21,000 children ages 5-19 years old died by suicide.

New index maps relationships between poverty and accessibility in Brazil
Poor transportation availability can result in poor access to health care and employment, hence reinforcing the cycle of poverty and concerning health outcomes such as low life expectancy and high child mortality in rural Brazil.

Repeated periods of poverty accelerate the ageing process
People who have found themselves below the relative poverty threshold four or more times in their adult life age significantly earlier than others.

Poverty as disease trap
The realities of subsistence living in a region of Senegal hard hit by schistosomiasis make reinfection likely, despite mass drug administration.

Persistent poverty affects one in five UK children
Persistent poverty affects one in five children in the UK, and is associated with poor physical and mental health in early adolescence, suggests research published online in the Archives of Disease in Childhood.

Poverty leaves a mark on our genes
In this study, researchers found evidence that poverty can become embedded across wide swaths of the genome.

Satellite images reveal global poverty
How far have we come in achieving the UN's sustainable development goals that we are committed to nationally and internationally?

Read More: Poverty News and Poverty Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.