Greatra Mayana

Career & Employment Opportunities

Disability Rates and Employment Status by Educational Attainment


A recent analysis in the Condition of Education
report from NCES explores how the employment status of persons with disabilities varies
by their educational attainment level. In this analysis, persons were classified
as having one or more disabilities if they reported difficulty with any of the following tasks, for example difficulty seeing even
when wearing glasses. Overall, 14.4 million, or 9 percent, of the
25- to 64-year-old population reported at least one of these disabilities in 2015. The disability rate was higher for older adults
than for younger adults. Within each age group, the disability rates
for those who had completed college were lower than for those who had
not completed high school. For example, the disability rate for older
adults with a master’s degree was not measurably different from the rates for young adults
who had not completed high school. The analysis also explored how employment outcomes vary by disability status and education level. Persons were classified as employed, unemployed (a category that includes individuals without jobs
who are actively looking for work), or not in the labor force (a category that
includes individuals without jobs who are not actively looking for work). Within each age group, the percentage of
persons who were employed was higher for persons without disabilities,
than for those with disabilities. Lower levels of educational attainment were
associated with lower employment percentages both for persons with and without disabilities. The gap in employment percentages between
those with and without disabilities was smaller for those with a bachelor’s or higher degree
than for those with an associate’s degree, those with a high school credential, and those
who had not completed high school. Although there were large gaps in the employment
and not in labor force percentages between adults with and without disabilities, there was no measurable difference in the unemployment percentage between these two groups. While higher percentages of persons with disabilities
were not participating in the labor force for all educational attainment levels, the largest differences were among those with
lower levels of educational attainment. Among those who had not completed high school, the percentage of persons with disabilities
who were not in the labor force was 51 percentage points higher than the
percentage for those without disabilities. Visit nces.ed.gov to view the full report
and learn more about the relationship between disability statuses, educational attainment,
and labor force outcomes.

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