People often ask me if a website such as “HousingForTheDisabled.com”, which deals with housing services for the disabled, is really useful or practical. “I mean, there just aren’t that many disabled people out there to make this website relevant or necessary,” they would say. The “audience for such a website is small, right?” would be another comment. Wrong. About 56.7 million people — 19 percent of the population — had a disability in 2010, with more than half of them reporting the disability was severe, according to a comprehensive report by the U.S. Census Bureau.
The report, “Americans with Disabilities: 2010“, shows an increase of 2.2 million people with a disability since 2005, when a similar analysis was done. Both the number and percentage with a severe disability rose, along with the number and percentage needing assistance. The report shows that 41 percent of those age 21 to 64 with any disability were employed, compared with 79 percent of those with no disability. Coinciding with the unemployment figures, 10.8 percent of people age 15 to 64 with severe disabilities experienced persistent poverty; the same was true for 4.9 percent of those with a non-severe disability and 3.8 percent of those with no disability.
Other highlights from the report:
• About 8.1 million people had difficulty seeing, including 2.0 million who were blind or unable to see.
• About 7.6 million people experienced difficulty hearing, including 1.1 million whose difficulty was severe. About 5.6 million used a hearing aid.
• Roughly 30.6 million had difficulty walking or climbing stairs, or used a wheelchair, cane, crutches or walker.
• About 19.9 million people had difficulty lifting and grasping. This includes, for instance, trouble lifting an object like a bag of groceries, or grasping a glass or a pencil.
• Difficulty with at least one activity of daily living was cited by 9.4 million non-institutionalized adults. These activities included getting around inside the home, bathing, dressing and eating. Of these people, 5 million needed the assistance of others to perform such an activity.
• About 15.5 million adults had difficulties with one or more instrumental activities of daily living. These activities included doing housework, using the phone and preparing meals. Of these, nearly 12 million required assistance.
• Approximately 2.4 million had Alzheimer’s disease, senility or dementia.
• Being frequently depressed or anxious such that it interfered with ordinary activities was reported by 7.0 million adults.
Clearly, the numbers are huge, and with an aging population, growing. These numbers demand websites such as “HousingForTheDisabled.com” to provide services, such as accessible housing, to serve the ever-growing population of disabled individuals.