2023 Annual Disability Statistics Compendium


Overview. Statistics are a powerful tool in research, policymaking, program evaluation, and advocacy. They are used to frame issues, monitor current circumstances and progress, judge the effectiveness of policies and programs, make projections about the future, and predict the costs of potential policy changes.

In the United States, disability statistics – information about the population with disabilities and about the government programs that serve people with disabilities - are often difficult to find. Numerous government agencies generate and publish disability statistics, and as a result, the data are scattered across various federal government documents and websites.

The Annual Disability Statistics Compendium, one of the five publications included in the Institute on Disability’s Annual Disability Statistics Collection – referred to as “the Collection” – is a summary of statistics about people with disabilities and about the government programs which serve them. The Compendium, available both in hard copy and online (at www.disabilitycompendium.org), presents key overall statistics on topics including the prevalence of disability, employment among persons with disabilities, rates of participation in disability income and social insurance programs, and other statistics.

Additional publications included in the Collection are:

  • The Annual Disability Statistics Supplement covers 150 additional tables that analyze the content found in the Compendium by age, gender, and race/ethnicity.
  • The State Reports for County-Level Data, which provide county-level prevalence, employment, and poverty statistics for each state.
  • The Annual Report on People with Disabilities in America, which graphically represents trends of key statistics from the Compendium.
  • Infographics in the Collection are curated through partnerships with organizations that specialize in the intersectionality of disability with other identities.
  • The Annual Disability Statistics Standard Errors Companion, new to the Collection this year, details the standard errors of percent and standard errors of frequency for applicable tables in the Compendium.

All publications are available online at https://disabilitycompendium.org. The Annual Report on People with Disabilities in America and the infographics are also available in print format.

Notes on the data. The Compendium is a compilation of data from multiple sources, such as the Social Security Administration, Veterans Benefits Administration, and frequently, the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, among others. Many of these are updated annually, however some of them have not received an update in recent years. These include selected data from the Social Security Administration (SSA) on the State Assistance Programs for SSI Recipients (last updated in 2011) and the data from the U.S. Department of Education, Rehabilitation Services Administration (last updated in 2016). We used the most recent data wherever available.

It is also of note that in many cases disability data are categorized into six main types - cognitive, ambulatory, hearing, vision, self-care, and independent living - and do not necessarily allow for granular analysis. For instance, the cognitive disability category does not specify the type of cognitive disability - such as whether the disability is related to a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) or an Intellectual/Developmental Disorder (IDD).

Exploring other topics. The UNH Institute on Disability is dedicated to thorough research and has explored topics such as understanding the factors associated with the health disparities experienced by people with intellectual disabilities through the Health Disparities Project (https://iod.unh.edu/health-disparities-project) and career self-management through job crafting for people with physical and mild cognitive disabilities (https://iod.unh.edu/career-self-management-through-job-crafting-people-physical-mild-cognitive-disabilities).

Additional Resources. A companion Annual Report is available, providing graphical representations of key findings. The Annual Report highlights trend data related to specific tables in the Compendium and Supplement. The statistics presented here, as well as those in the Supplement and Annual Report, can be viewed and downloaded at https://disabilitycompendium.org/.

Help navigating any of the resources described here can be found in the Frequently Asked Questions section at https://disabilitycompendium.org/faq. Assistance interpreting and locating additional statistics is available via our toll-free number, 866-538-9521, or by email at disability.statistics@unh.edu. For more information about our research projects, please visit https://www.researchondisability.org.

Suggested Citation. Paul, S., Rogers, S., Bach, S., & Houtenville, A.J. (2023). Annual Disability Statistics Compendium: 2023. Durham, NH: University of New Hampshire, Institute on Disability.