Disability Employment Statistics
Credible, consistent data is critical to creating change. ODEP promotes the availability and use of disability data and statistics to further education, research, and policy initiatives to improve employment opportunities and outcomes for people with disabilities.
This work was first revealed in 2008, when after several years of research and testing, new questions were added to the monthly Current Population Survey (CPS) to gauge the employment status of people with disabilities. The questions, which were originally developed for use in the American Community Survey (ACS), were added after extensive collaboration between ODEP, DOL's Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), and other stakeholders, and were sponsored by ODEP. Prior to this, there was no way to measure the labor force status of people with disabilities on a regular basis. Today, these data are updated monthly, providing citizens and policymakers with reliable and accurate information on a topic of importance to America's workforce and economy.
In the last few years, ODEP has expanded upon this work, collaborating with other agencies to develop:
New Disability Employment Data Resources
Economic Picture of the Disability Community Project
Examines the occupational distribution of people with disabilities as of 2010-2012, and compares that distribution to projections of occupational employment growth from 2012 to 2022, using data from the Census Bureau's ACS (2010-2012) and the BLS' Employment Projections (2012 to 2022).
- Data Sets (Excel Document)
- *Data Sets Accessible Version (Excel Document)
*File data layout modified from original source for assistive technology utilization
- Key Points Document (PDF)
- Disability Employment Tabulation (2008-2010)
Provides over 1 billion estimates showing the disability status and diversity of the labor force and population age 16 and over for more than 4,000 unique geographic entities.
General Disability Employment Statistics Resources
- Current Population Survey (CPS)
Released by DOL's Bureau of Labor Statistics, the CPS is the U.S. government's source for comprehensive monthly estimates on labor force participation, employment, and unemployment.
- Persons with a Disability: Labor Force Characteristics
- Table A-6. Employment Status of the Civilian Population by Sex, Age, and Disability Status, Not Seasonally Adjusted
- Historical Disability Employment Data
- Frequently Asked Questions about Disability Employment Data
- Frequently Asked Questions about How the Government Measures Unemployment
- American Community Survey (ACS)
Released by the U.S. Census Bureau, the ACS is the largest survey sampled annually in the United States, and collects data on a wide range of demographic, economic and housing characteristics. Every year, the Census releases ACS aggregate estimates related to employment and other characteristics of people with disabilities.
- How Disability Data Are Collected
- Annual Disability Statistics Compendium
- Disability Data in National Surveys (PDF)
- Sources for Employment and Disability Data
Commonly Used Terms
- People with jobs are employed.
- People who are jobless, looking for jobs, and available for work are unemployed.
- People who are employed or unemployed but looking for jobs and available for work are in the labor force.
- People who are neither employed nor unemployed are not in the labor force.
- Labor force measures are based on the civilian, non-institutional population 16 years old and over.