Census Report Documents Racial Disparities in Health-Related Disabilities

A new report from the U.S. Census Bureau offers data on racial disparities in disabilities based on health-related issues. Among adults ages 40 and older, non-Hispanic Asians reported the lowest rates of disability-related health conditions in 2021 while those in the non-Hispanic Black category had the highest rate.

The U.S. Census Bureau’s Survey of Income and Program Participation has reintroduced questions on health conditions related to disability. The survey measures disability using a standard series of six questions as well as questions about work disability and child disability. Beginning in 2021, it included an additional six questions capturing other functional difficulties: sitting, lifting, grasping, learning disability, mental/emotional condition, and any condition affecting functioning (for 12 months or longer). Respondents who answered yes to any of these questions could report up to three health conditions that contributed to their disability.

The results showed that 31.8 percent of Blacks over the age of 40 had some type of disability that limited their activities. For non-Hispanic White adults over the age of 40, 27.4 percent report a disability that limited their activities. Only 17 percent of Asian Americans over 40 reported a disability.

For Black Americans who reported a disability, 6.4 percent said they had arthritis, 3.1 percent said they had diabetes, and 3.5 percent said they had hypertension. Disability-related hypertension was about three times as common among non-Hispanic Black adults than non-Hispanic White adults.



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