Disabil Health J 2019 Jul 28;12(3):411-421. Epub 2019 Mar 28.
Division of Unintentional Injury Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), USA. Electronic address:
Background: Quantifying the number of people with and types of disabilities is helpful for medical, policy, and public health planning.
Objective/hypothesis: To update prior estimates on types, prevalence, and main causes of disability among U.S. adults using the Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP) data.
Methods: We used cross-sectional data from the SIPP 2008 Panel Wave 6 interviews collected May-August 2010. Analyses were restricted to non-institutionalized adults ages ≥18 years (n = 66,410). Disability was ascertained via five non-mutually exclusive components: 1) specific activity difficulties, 2) selected impairments, 3) use of an assistive aid, 4) household work limitations, and 5) paid work limitations. Prioritized main cause of disability was established for the 95% of respondents with a disability type eligible for health condition questions. We generated weighted population estimates (number and percentage, with 95% confidence intervals (CIs)), accounting for the complex sample survey design.
Results: 50 million U.S. adults (21.8%) experienced a disability in 2010. Mobility-related activity limitations were the most prevalent disabilities across all five components. The most common main causes of disability were arthritis/rheumatism, 9.1 million (19.2%, 95% CI = 18.4-20.0) and back or spine problems, 8.9 million (18.6%, 95% CI = 17.9-19.3).
Conclusions: A growing population with disabilities has the potential to put considerable and unsustainable demand on medical, public health, and senior service systems. Strengthening clinical community linkages and expanding the availability of existing evidence-based public health interventions to prevent, delay, and mitigate the effects of disability could improve health and outcomes for people with disabilities.
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