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How Many Parents with Disabilities are there in the U.S.?

How many parents with disabilities are there in the U.S.? Estimates of the numbers of U.S. parents with disabilities vary between 4.1 million to 9 million. The different estimates reflect different national data sources (American Community Survey, the National Health Interview Survey, the Survey of Program Participation) each of which determines and defines disability somewhat differently. Estimates of the number of parents with disabilities also vary according to whether the estimate includes parents whose children do not live with them or children who are 18 years or older. See United States data with State by State and County by County

4.1 million (6.2%) is the most recent estimate (2012) of parents with disabilities with children under age 18 and living at home with them. This study was conducted by Dr. H. Stephen Kaye at U.C.S.F. as part of Through the Looking Glass’ National Center on Parents with Disabilities. This study was one of several projects focused on parents with disabilities and their families, and was funded by a three year grant from the National Institute of Disability and Rehabilitation Research, U.S. Department of Education (#H133A08004). Dr. Kaye used data from the 2008-2009 American Community Survey (ACS) which provides certain advantages compared with previous ACS data as well as other data sources: the 2008-2009 ACS distinguishes between those parents who are deaf/hearing-impaired and those who are blind/visually impaired – rather than lumping them together in one “sensory disability” category. Further, the ACS allowed Dr. Kaye to provide specific estimates for all U.S. states and counties – rather than only national prevalence according to the SIPP or NHIS.

This page provides the most recent estimates of the number of parents with disabilities who have children under the age of 18. Estimates are available for the entire U.S., for each state, and for most U.S. counties. Because some U.S. counties have small populations, these counties are grouped with other neighboring counties in their state in order to be statistically meaningful. Estimates include breakdown by type of parental disability, race/ethnicity, marital status and income. Also included are estimates of the number of grandparents with disabilities who are caring for grandchildren under age 18.

If you use these statistics in your work or research, please use the following citation:
Kaye, H. Steven
Current Demographics of Parents with Disabilities in the U.S.
Berkeley, CA: Through the Looking Glass, 2012.

Click here to see estimates of Parents with Disabilities in the U.S., by state, or by county

Also see

Sources, limitations and additional information on the 2012 National Data on Parents with Disabilities and their Children