More than 36 million Americans have a disability. Improving the health of this large segment of the population is a central concern for public health. This chartbook presents information about the health of adults with disabilities in Oregon. The information in this book can be used by people with disabilities, their family members, policy makers, health professionals, disability service providers, and others interested in the health and well-being of people with disabilities.
The information in this book came from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS). The BRFSS is a telephone survey that asks about health, behaviors that affect health, and access to health care. The survey is random, meaning that any resident might be called. However, some groups of people are not included. Children under age 18 and people who are in an institution, such as a jail or nursing home, are not included in the survey. People who have no telephone or only have a cell phone are not included. Those who do not speak English or Spanish are not included. Some people who have a disability may not be included because they do not understand the questions, cannot get to the phone in time, or use a special telephone that sounds to the caller like a fax machine.
The BRFSS survey is done every year by each state or territory health department.
The information used for this book was collected in Oregon in 2008.
What do we mean by “disability”?
In the BRFSS survey, people are considered to have a disability if they answer “Yes” to one or both of the following questions:
- Are you limited in any way in any activities because of physical, mental, or emotional problems?
- Do you now have any health problem that requires you to use special equipment, such as a cane, a wheelchair, a special bed, or a special telephone?
Disability in Oregon
How many people in Oregon have a disability?
About 746,663 Oregon adults age 18 and older have a disability. This is a little more than one quarter (25.7%) of the adult population of Oregon in 2008.
What age groups are most impacted by disability?
Disability becomes more common as people age. In the 18-39 age range, 15.1% of Oregon adults have a disability. Among 40-59 year olds, 27.1% have a disability and among 60-79 year olds, 36.7% have a disability. Among Oregon adults age 80 or older, 47.1% have a disability.
How much education do people with disabilities have?
Over seven percent (7.6%) of people with disabilities have less than a high school education, 27.2% have a high school education only, 34.7% have attended some college or technical school, and 30.5% of people with disabilities are college graduates.
Of people without disabilities, 9.2% have less than a high school education, 27.0% have a high school education only, 27.8% have attended some college or technical school, and 36.0% are college graduates.
How many people with disabilities are employed?
Among people with disabilities, 31.8% are employed for wages, 7.9% are self-employed, 3.6% have been out of work for more than a year, 4.1% have been out of work for less than a year, 6.7% are homemakers, 4.2% are students, 26.9% are retired, and 14.9% are unable to work.
In contrast, 56.3% of people without disabilities are employed for wages, 10.2% are self-employed, 1.6% have been out of work for more than a year, 3.4% have been out of work for less than a year, 8.3% are homemakers, 4.7% are students, 15.0% are retired, and 0.5% are unable to work.
What is the annual household income of people with disabilities?
Twelve percent (12.2%) of people with disabilities have a household income of less than $15,000 per year, 21.8% have an income between $15,000 and $25,000, 15.7% have an income between $25,000 and $35,000, 15.7% have an income between $35,000 and $50,000, and 34.6% have an annual income of $50,000 or more.
Only four percent of people without disabilities have a household income of less than $15,000 per year, 15.0% have an income between $15,000 and $25,000, 13.0% have an income between $25,000 and $35,000, 16.5% have an income between $35,000 and $50,000, and over half (51.5%) have an annual income of $50,000 or more.
How satisfied are people with their lives?
About 31.6% of people with disabilities are very satisfied with their lives, 55.9% are satisfied, and 11.7% are dissatisfied or very dissatisfied.
Among people without disabilities, 51.8% are very satisfied, 46.8% are satisfied, and 1.8% are dissatisfied or very dissatisfied.