40 Disability Statistics That Concern All of Us

Disabilty Statistics

Having a disability doesn’t mean having only health issues. The problem is more complex than that since it affects how society perceives them. Disability statistics show that people with disabilities battle not only their bodies and minds, but they need to overcome social and environmental difficulties as well.

The term disability covers various types of impairments, different limitations and restrictions in participating in different activities. Disability can affect a person’s body, their mind, or in some cases, both. This functional impairment can be mental, cognitive, intellectual, sensory, developmental, physical, or a mixture of these.

First, let’s take a look at the most intriguing disability facts:

Top 10 Disability Facts and Statistics

  • CBD could help children who suffer from intellectual disabilities.
  • Disabled people earn less than 70% of the average paycheck of people without disabilities.
  • Cannabis controls the progression of muscular dystrophy.
  • It’s estimated that 80% of all people with intellectual disabilities live in countries with low income.
  • Only 46% of adults of working age with a learning disability have a job, as the latest learning disability statistics report.
  • Approximately 15% of people around the world have some form of disability.
  • About 6.5 million people in the US suffer from some form of intellectual disability.
  • More than 2 million people across the world are visually impaired or completely blind.
  • It’s estimated that 64% of people who apply for benefits get rejected at the beginning of the application process.
  • A great majority of intellectually disabled people have a mild disability — 85%.

To find out more about people with special needs, what the most common disabilities are, and how medical marijuana and disability are connected, keep reading.

Disability Statistics in America

1. 61 million adult Americans have some form of disability.


The highest percentage of the disabled lives in the South. As for most common disabilities, 13.7% of disabled Americans are challenged in terms of mobility, followed by cognition disability (10.8%).

Independent living is a hard goal to reach for 6.8%. of the disabled

2. More than 25 million Americans have disabilities that restrain them from traveling.

(Bureau of Transportation Statistics)

Over 3 million Americans never leave their homes, as disability statistics for 2018 report. Disabled people generally travel less on a daily basis, compared to people without disabilities. The rates of daily trips that disabled people take on a daily basis declines over time.

3. Only 29% of people with disabilities who are of working age work full time or half time.


In addition to this, more than 70% of those who don’t work claim they would prefer to have a job. Furthermore, as the disability statistics from 2017 show, just a little bit over 50% of adults with disabilities have heard of ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990), the act that protects their rights.

4. Disabled people earn less than 70% of the average paycheck of people without disabilities.

(Pew Research Center)

People with disabilities earn on average a bit more than $20,000 compared to people without disabilities, who earn about $30,000. This is the data for non-institutionalized and civilian Americans older than 16, as the disability employment statistics report.

5. Close to 40% of adults with a disability are obese.


Compared to 28% of adults who don’t suffer from any disability. Disabled people are, in general, more likely to smoke and suffer from heart diseases, obesity, and diabetes. In addition to this, 1 in 3 disabled adults doesn’t have typical health care, or the provided health care can’t meet their needs because of the costs.

Intellectual Disability Statistics

6. About 6.5 million people in the US suffer from some form of intellectual disability.

(Special Olympics)

If a persona has an intellectual disability, their cognitive skills and functioning are limited. This is the most common developmental disability, and it can occur at any time from birth until the age of 18, or even before birth.

7. More than 200 million people around the world suffer from an intellectual disability.

(Special Olympics)

According to learning disability statistics from 2016, having an IQ below 70-75 is one of the three criteria for having an intellectual disability. The other two criteria include the manifestation of the disability before the age of 18 and limitations in skills that are needed to live and work.

8. A great majority of intellectually disabled people have a mild disability — 85%.

(Exploring Your Mind)

People with a mild disability seem immature. Their short term memory and abstract thinking are affected, but it seems that they’re not different from healthy children, that is, until they grow up.

Intellectual disability prevalence figures show 10% of the disabled have a moderate disability; up to 4% suffer from severe disability, and up to 2% of disabled people have a profound disability. Their IQs are usually around 20-25, and they completely depend on other people.

9. There are approximately 6,000 newborns with Down Syndrome every year.


This is one of the most common intellectual disabilities. Scientists have found that one extra chromosome causes this problem, but no one is sure why this actually happens. As disability statistics report, people with this syndrome have mild to moderate disabilities, and speaking clearly is challenging.

10. It’s estimated that 80% of all people with intellectual disabilities live in countries with low income.

(Special Olympics)

Up to 3% of all the population around the globe suffer from some kind of intellectual disability. 16.41 in 1,000 people with intellectual disabilities live in economically developing countries, as the prevalence of intellectual disability shows.

11. Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) affects 1 in 5 children.


Learning disorders make a big category of intellectual disabilities. Children with this kind of issue have brains that have developed differently compared to children without learning disabilities.

Their brains also function in a different way. Child disability report shows that they are as smart as children without such disabilities, but they need a bit of support.

12. As the latest learning disability statistics report, only 46% of adults of working age with a learning disability have a job.


Adults with a learning disability are two times more likely to not have a job, compared to healthy adults. They also enroll in colleges at half the rate of the typical number of adults without disabilities, and only 41% of them graduate.

13. There are over 4 million children with at least one learning disability in the United States.

(Healthy Place)

As some of the latest disability abuse statistics report, children with learning disabilities have more than 30% chances to be bullied than children without learning disabilities.

The same research has found that approximately 45% of parents of children with learning disabilities admitted that their child was bullied.

14. Only 1 in 50 students in public schools get arrangements to suit their disability through a civil rights statute Section 504.


Moreover, only 1 in 16 students in public schools attends Individualized Education Programs for Specific Learning Disabilities, according to the disability statistics for the US. However, millions of children with learning disabilities remain formally unidentified.

15. The prevalence of developmental disability has risen from 5.7% to 6.9% in just two years.

(Disability Scoop)

The term developmental disability includes people who suffer from both intellectual and physical disabilities. This prevalence is by far higher in boys than girls.

However, Hispanic children had the lowest disability number among all ethnic and racial groups that were surveyed.

Disability Statistics Around the World

16. Approximately 15% of people around the world have some form of disability.


Up to 4% of that number of people experience serious difficulties in everyday life. The prevalence of worldwide disability is higher than ever. The high rise in this number is caused by the increase of chronic diseases and the aging of the population.

In addition to this, the methodology that measures disabilities has been greatly improved.

17. Disability facts estimate that 20% of people from developing countries have some form of disability.

(Disabled World) (Jeffrey Freedman)

This is the biggest minority group in the world.

Some of the physical disabilities include Alzheimer’s, cancer, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, seizures, heart disease, arthritis, asthma, and many more. Having a physical disability may qualify people for benefits if the disability is preventing them from working.

18. Rheumatoid arthritis affects more than 1.3 million people in the US.


As the rheumatoid arthritis disability statistics report, this disability usually starts earlier in women, when they’re in their 30s, and it affects men in their 60s.

Rheumatoid arthritis is detrimental not only for the joints, but it can affect the whole body. In some cases, it can also attack organs like lungs and heart, and even cartilage and muscles.

19. There were over 2 million people around the world suffering from multiple sclerosis in 2016.

(The Lancet)

According to some of the latest multiple sclerosis disability statistics, this accounts for more than 10% of the increase in MS prevalence since 1990. MS is a neurological illness that affects young people, usually in their 30s. It normally takes 10 to 20 years to get to the more severe phase of the illness.

20. A person with multiple sclerosis may spend over $4 million on managing the illness during their lifetime.


This an immensely expensive illness to treat. The cost depends on how much the disease has progressed, but as the disability statistics from 2016 report, the annual health care costs can range somewhere between $30,000 to $100,000.

21. More than 2 million people across the world are visually impaired or completely blind.


Out of this number, approximately 1 million vision impairments could’ve been prevented.

These impairments and blindness are mainly caused by cataracts, untreated refractive errors, glaucoma, diabetes, trachoma, corneal opacity, and macular degeneration caused by old age. Low and middle-income countries have cataracts as the main cause for vision impairment, and judging by the blind disability facts, high-income countries’ leading cause is diabetes.

22. Just 45 countries around the globe have anti-discrimination laws that protect disabled people.

(Brandon Gaille)

1 in 4 people with a disability of any kind faces discrimination on a daily basis. Although there are laws against discrimination of the disabled that have been created to make everyone equal, none cover all forms of discrimination.

23. In seven years there were over 250,000 filed complaints about disability-related discrimination in the workplace.

(Washington Post)

The said period was 2010-2017. Disability discrimination statistics tell us that the most frequent discrimination types, besides medical and disability discrimination, include retaliation, age, sex, and racial discrimination. In addition to this, out of all the closed cases, only fewer than 20% found a relief.

24. Approximately 38% of people think that disabled people present a burden on society.

(Brandon Gaille)

The disabled experience discrimination everywhere they go. Two-thirds of healthy people actually avoid the disabled because they don’t know how to interact with them, or act around them.

Social Security Disability Statistics

25. Social security beneficiaries have cost the US more than $11 billion in 2015 alone.


The research also shows that more than 10 million people in the United States were on benefits, but they were canceled for more than 800,000 people. Disabled people on benefits received on average about $1,100 every month.

26. The SSA may require a Continuing Disability Review every 6 months to 7 years.


Continuing disability review statistics say it depends on how likely the person is to recover. If someone is expected to recover from an injury or illness, they’ll be reviewed 6 to 18 months after the benefits program starts.

People likely to recover will probably be reviewed after 3 years. However, if the improvement isn’t expected, it will take Social Security Administration 5 to 7 years to review their case.

27. 35.4% of benefits receivers suffer from the musculoskeletal system and connective tissue diseases.

(Lawyer NC)

According to the disability statistics in 2015, the nervous system and sensory organ diseases make up for the smallest part of this group, with only 8% of beneficiaries. Approximately 9.5% suffer from neoplasms and cancer, 10.6% deal with circulatory system illnesses, and even 18% of benefits receivers have some type of a mental disorder.

28. It’s estimated that 64% of people who apply for benefits get rejected at the beginning of the application process.

(Social Security Resource Center)

More than 85% of applicants are rejected when they file for reconsideration, according to disability appeals council statistics.

When someone applies for this program, the SSA requires medical records from the applicant’s doctor, as well as information about their condition from their doctor and themselves. This is a long, tiring process, so many people get discouraged from even applying for the program.

29. Some applicants wait for the SSA’s decision on benefits claims for more than 600 days.


One of the main causes for this is the Congress’ decision to cut the SSA’s funding. To contribute to a social security disability facts forum, we can say there is also an abuse of the program, in addition to fraud, but these cases are very rare. This only prolongs the already long process of social benefits application.

Medical Marijuana and Disability

30. CBD could help children who suffer from intellectual disabilities.

(Q13 Fox News)

The research is ongoing, but scientists are optimistic that CBD could help children with Fragile X Syndrome. Cannabidiol is supposed to energize the brains of these children and calm their anxiety.

31. Disability statistics report that 80% of children with autistic spectrum disorder showed improvement after using CBD oil.


Researchers treated children who suffered from autism with CBD oil for seven months, after which 80% of the parents reported improvement in problematic behaviors. Additionally, more than 60% of the parents noted overall improvements in their children, and 40% reported lower levels of anxiety.

Traditional medications couldn’t achieve these results.

32. Epidiolex is the only FDA approved cannabis oil for epilepsy. 

(Medical News Today) (CBD Scouts)

Disability facts show that Epidiolex is prescribed for treating Dravet syndrome and Lennox–Gastaut syndrome, two very rare types of epilepsy. It’s an expensive medication, but some of the CBD companies that give discounts for disability include Lazarus Naturals, Bluebird Nauticals, and Go Green Hemp.

33. Cannabis controls the progression of muscular dystrophy.

(Green House)

Muscular dystrophy causes muscle cramps, chronic pain, and spasms, which can be relieved with the help of medicinal marijuana. Some of the latest disability statistics for America show that cannabis reduces the severity and lengths of these symptoms. It can also help muscular dystrophy patients to sleep better and get back their appetite.

34. 61% of multiple sclerosis patients have experienced improvements in the symptoms after using cannabinoids.


The study was conducted on 630 MS patients in 33 health centers in the UK. They received an oral cannabis extract which included THC. The patients found it efficient for spasticity and pain. Another research proved the beneficial effects of Sativex, too.

35. Disability statistics about cerebral palsy confirm medicinal marijuana relieves the symptoms.

(Cerebral Palsy News Today)

Cerebral palsy affects muscle tone, posture, and movement, causing involuntary movements, uncommon reflexes, and limb floppiness. One study has discovered that out of all traditional medications and pain relief drugs, medicinal cannabis has the best effect in treating pain caused by cerebral palsy.

36. On average, insulin levels in cannabis users are lower by 16%.

(Medical News Today)

Some of the physical disability statistics report that the antioxidant features in cannabis also lower the arterial inflammation, and keep the blood vessels open, which furthermore lowers the blood pressure and recovers circulation.

Medical marijuana also alleviates different pains caused by diabetes complications, and it can even help with weight loss, and decrease the risk of obesity.

37. CBD oil can decrease the number of spastic quadriplegia seizures from 50 a day to 2-3.

(Cerebral Palsy Guidance)

Disability facts describe spastic quadriplegia is the most serious form of cerebral palsy, and it affects the whole body. There are few reliable studies, though CNN’s documentary about Charlotte’s Web reached a wide audience. Charlotte, who was dealing with continual seizures as a child, had them reduced by using CBD oil.

38. Medical marijuana and CBD oil can calm the joint inflammation caused by rheumatoid arthritis.


Since marijuana can help alleviate long-term pain, rheumatoid arthritis patients can use it to restrain the morning pain, as the rheumatoid arthritis disability statistics have discovered. CBD oil and marijuana can also help them achieve better sleep quality.

39. Alzheimer’s disease patients have clumps of protein built up in their brains, which can be removed with cannabis.

(Alzheimer’s Society)

Studies performed on lab mice have shown that patients with Alzheimer’s could improve their learning skills and decrease the number of protein clumps in the brain. The treatment included THC. Cannabis could also help with behavioral symptoms of dementia.

40. Disability statistics report that cannabis helps symptoms of ADHD with only 8% of people experiencing side effects.


The antipsychotic and anti-anxiety properties of CBD can be helpful in managing this attention disorder. Cannabis users who suffer from ADHD report that marijuana helps them mainly with impulsivity and hyperactivity, but it’s a bit less helpful for inattentiveness. However, unlike traditional ADHD medications, which can cause irritability, sleep trouble, and weight loss, cannabis causes much fewer side effects.

The Bottom Line

We hope that these stats and facts have answered your CBD and disability questions, and have lessened your worries. No matter if you or someone you care about suffer from an intellectual or physical disability, life can be made easier.

What is more, the aim of these disability statistics is to show the disability prevalence and (unfortunately) how common it is. Having accepted the above facts, perhaps the society could take it in its stride to make some improvements regarding the public attitude, laws and rules, as well as health services. Taking advantage of legalizing marijuana is definitely recommendable.


What percentage of the population has a disability in the US?

The ACS research shows that in 2016 the US disability percentage reached 12.8%. This number varied depending on the state, the number of people with unemployment disabilities, general health, earnings and poverty levels.

Looking at the US population by age group, it can be concluded that people older than 65 are the biggest disabled group, with over 35%, while child disability report shows that less than 1% of children younger than 5 had a disability.

(Disability Compendium)

How many Americans have a disability?

48.9 million people in the United States suffer from some form of disability — intellectual, physical, or both. Out of this number, more than 24 million Americans suffer from severe disability, and over 32 million Americans have a functional imitation.


Which country has the highest disability rate?

China is the country with most residents, and also the highest number of disabled people in the world. They have 42.77 million disabled men and 40.19 million disabled women.

Most of China’s disabled people live in rural areas.


Does disability health insurance cover medical weed?

Although medicinal cannabis is very efficient in treating various types of disabilities, it’s still not approved by the FDA as a safe alternative to traditional medications (unless we’re talking Epidiolex, Nabilone, and Dronabinol). As the disability insurance facts report, Medicare may not cover medical marijuana, but you should make inquiries.

(eHealth Medicare)

Can your disability be denied for testing positive for THC?

This largely depends on whether cannabis use is legal, if smoking marijuana affects the progress of your disability, and whether cannabis relieves your psychiatric problems for which you receive the benefits.

If it’s not legal in the state, the approval chances are minimal. There are ways for getting weed out of your system if you can afford not to use cannabis regularly.


What are disability statistics by state in the US?

One in four Americans deals with some form of disability. According to some stats, Utah was the state with the lowest percentage of disability — 9.9%. The highest percentage was in West Virginia — a staggering 20.1%!

The latest report shows that adults from the South Census region are most at risk, as well as Alaska Natives. Women too are more likely to suffer from disability.

(UCED) (CBS News)

List of Sources:

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