2016 Annual Disability Statistics Compendium
Section 4: Earnings
This section presents statistics on earnings in the United States. The statistics describe the earnings of individuals with and without disabilities in the past 12 months, as well as the difference in percentage earned (earnings gap) between these two populations. The principal source of these data is the U.S. Census Bureau, specifically the American Community Survey. Statistics for people with disabilities (disability status) are based on having responded ‘yes’ to a series of questions within the American Community Survey (see the glossary for more details). In addition, in the American Community Survey people are asked about their total income for the past 12 months. This information is used to calculate earnings. When presenting earnings data, the median earnings (or middlemost) value is used rather than the average earnings because people’s incomes are heavily skewed—the higher the salary, the fewer people who earn that respective salary—the average does not represent the population as well as the median.
Tables 4.1: In 2015, for the individuals with disabilities ages 16 years and over living in the community that had earnings from work, median earnings were $21,572. In contrast, among individuals without disabilities ages 16 years and over living in the community that had earnings from work, median earnings were $31,872, an earnings gap of $10,300. This earnings gap is smallest (meaning the earnings of people with disabilities are closest to the earnings of people without disabilities) in the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico ($980) and largest (meaning the earnings of people with disabilities are furthest from the earnings of people without disabilities) in the District of Columbia ($24,828).