Disability Inclusive Employment Policy Rehabilitation Research and Training Center
Research to enhance employment opportunities for people with disabilities.
The Intersection of Disability, Race, and Employment
Working-age people with disabilities are less likely to be employed than people without disabilities. To address the root causes of the disability disparity and develop appropriate public policies, we need to recognize that employment outcomes vary by race and ethnicity. The graph below shows the employment rate (employment to population ratio) for working age people with and without disabilities by race/ethnicity based on data from the Current Population Survey. Because of the sample size, we present a three-month moving average (i.e. the December data is the average of October, November and December). This data will provide a snapshot of trends identified over time that will help us focus for possible policy and program interventions in need of further testing and evaluation.
If you are interested in employment statistics for people with disabilities as group, See nTIDE for monthly information on the employment to population ratio, labor force participation rate, and unemployment rate of working-age people with disabilities at: https://kesslerfoundation.org/
To see a chart with data from the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, please view this webpage on a desktop computer.
Chart Description: The chart above shows two distinct groups for employment rate across time. People with disabilities (no matter their race) have lower rates of employment than those without disabilities by almost 40 percent. People with disabilities’ employment rate falls between 20 to 40 percent across time, and the employment rate of those without disabilities hovers between 60 to 80 percent employment. Showing the complex intersection between race and disability, Black Americans with disabilities hold the lowest rates of employment across all groups followed by a volatile employment rate for Asian and Indigenous peoples with disabilities.
The Disability-Inclusive Employment Policy Rehabilitation Research and Training Center (DIEP RRTC) is funded by the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR, grant #90RTEM0006-01-00) in the U.S. Department for Health and Human Services. Burton Blatt Institute at Syracuse University, Harvard Medical School, and Rutgers University are partnering to design and implement a series of studies that produce new data and evidence on DIEP policy to increase employment rates and outcomes for persons with disabilities.
The DIEP-RRTC will examine federal, regional, state, and private industry policies and programs to identify critical outcomes and impacts that improve employment entry options, better wage and income levels, worker retention and job quality and benefits, career growth and paths to economic stability, employment reengagement in the event of job loss and reduced dependence on Social Security disability benefits.
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