Accessibility by the Numbers

Demographic representation of the population with different shapes and colors

“My disability exists not because I use a wheelchair, but because the broader environment isn’t accessible.”

Stella Young

What does it mean to be disabled.

Disabled is a single, overly simple word that is used to broadly label a HUGE demographic of people with cognitive disabilities, hearing disabilities, mobility disabilities, vision disabilities, self-care disabilities, and independent living disabilities. According to the 2019 Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP) data, there are around 54 million disabled Americans. To put that number into perspective, the current U.S. population is roughly around 329 million. That means about 1 in 6 Americans have some type of disability.

Let’s go over a few things before we look at the numbers: The following statistics are from a survey conducted in 2017 of 316,450,569 Americans. We use information from two years ago because it’s still the most current information available. Also, it’s important to note that the numbers below reflect about 98% of the U.S. population, and not all 324 million people populating America in 2017. Here we go:

Just the facts

Number of American Adults (18+ years) with disabilities – 36,872,540 people

Number of American Children with disabilities – 3,033,788 people

Total number of Americans with disabilities (out of a survey of 316,450,569) – 39,906,328 people

That’s 12% of the survey population who have disabilities. It might be easy to see that percentage and think, well, that’s not a HUGE demographic, but consider this: California – the most populous state in America, is estimated to have a total population of 39,557,045. In fact, the Institute of Disability points out that if “people with disabilities were a formally recognized minority group… they would be the largest minority group in the United States.”

Accessibility makes sense

If you ever wonder why web accessibility is such a big deal, just remember the 39,906,328 people—the entire state of California—who need access to the web. After all, we do almost EVERYTHING there. Call a friendly ilumino consultant and find out how you can make your online environment more accessible.