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As part of the acknowledgment of the importance of the 25th year anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, ADA, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently published findings on the Prevalence of Disability and Disability Type Among Adults in their Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

This report is important on a couple of levels; #1 because the survey results will help give policy makers, disability advocates and persons with disabilities greater insight and data on various types of disabilities, but also; #2 this is one of the first reports to utilize a new standardized method of data collection.

The CDC analyzed the population of Massachusetts and compared both individuals with and without disabilities by looking at four categories: income level, education, marital status, and employment status.

Here are some of the report’s key findings:

  • 52.2% of persons with disabilities earn less than $35,000/yr.; whereas, 29.2% of adults without disabilities earn less than $35,000/yr.
  • 23.4% of persons with disabilities graduated college; whereas, 38.5% of persons without disabilities graduated college.
  • On the other hand, 8% more persons with disabilities graduated high school than those without disabilities.
  • The rate of divorce among persons with disabilities (17.6%) is nearly double that of individuals without disabilities (9.2%).
  • The rate of employment among persons without disabilities (64.9%) is nearly double that of persons with disabilities (39.3%)
paper cutout of people holding hands

The CDC analyzed the population of Massachusetts using a new standardized method of data collection.

As the above findings show, having data regarding the prevalence of disability type is both important and helpful for directing social services to the appropriate needs of persons with disabilities.  But it is also important that new uniform standards of data collection have been set.

As part of Section 4302 of the Affordable Care Act, the U.S Department of Health and Human Services issued implementation guidance that promulgated a new set of uniform data collection standards for inclusion in surveys conducted or sponsored by HHS as required by International Classification of Functioning, Disability, and Health.

As time goes by the anticipation among policy makers is that better quality information can lead to more effective programming that is data-driven and speaks to more specific areas of need of persons with disabilities.

The Massachusetts Office on Disability is pleased to learn of new and more robust information and endeavors to utilize data to better assist persons with disabilities.

Written by David D’Arcangelo, Director

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