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Additional Information on the 2012 National Data on Parents with Disabilities and their Children

Limitations of American Community Survey Data

In estimating the number of parents with disabilities in the U.S., Dr. Kaye used data from the 2008-2009 American Community Survey (ACS). The ACS identifies the U.S. population with disabilities by asking questions about functional impact – such as whether a disability limits walking, lifting, hearing, seeing, remembering and/or self-care -- rather than assigning individuals to pre-determined disability categories. Although the American Community Survey and functional impact are increasingly regarded by researchers and demographers as more reliable and more appropriate ways to estimate those with disabilities, nevertheless many people still want to know how many people there are within more fixed traditional disability categories (e.g., those who are deaf, those who are blind, those with physical disabilities, those with psychiatric disabilities, those with intellectual disabilities). The data presented here identifies five broad categories of parental disability: hearing, vision, mobility, cognitive and daily living activity. These five categories are not mutually exclusive – that is, a parent could be counted in more than one disability category. The ACS data also does not allow further breakdown of those parents with cognitive disability (e.g., those who have a psychiatric disability, intellectual disability or Traumatic Brain Injury).

Data on Counties with Small Populations

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.

Additional Data on Parents with Disabilities and their Children

Available data from the American Community Survey do not allow us to provide state or county level detail for some additional demographic breakdowns such as the number of children in the family or whether or not the children themselves have a disability. However, in unpublished tabulations from the 2008-2009 American Community Survey, Dr. Kaye was able to provide national estimates of the following:

Children who have parents with disabilities:
• 6.6 million, or 9.1% of U.S. children

Educational attainment of parents with and without disabilities:
• 12.6% of those with disabilities have college degrees, compared to 30.8% of those without disabilities.
• 76.5% of those with disabilities have a high school diploma (includes people with college degrees and beyond), compared to 87.2% of those without disabilities.

Income:
• Median family income for parents with disabilities is $35,000, compared to $65,000 for parents without disabilities.