Older, female, and non-white: A snapshot of Pennsylvanians with disabilities | The Numbers Racket

Source: Pennsylvania State Data Center at Penn State Harrisburg (screen capture)

For this week’s edition of The Numbers Racket, we’re taking a closer look at people with disabilities in Pennsylvania. Our dive comes courtesy of The Pennsylvania Data Center at Penn State University’s Harrisburg campus. The data comes the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2013-2017 American Community Survey Five-Year Estimates.

The data reveal some sharp inequities in education and income — with Pennsylvanians with disabilities tending to earn less and at a lower level of educational accomplishment. There are also divisions along gender, age, and racial lines that bear noting, and that should serve as a guide for policy-makers as they work to formulate solutions and provide services.

First, some top-line numbers:

1.73 million: The total number of Pennsylvanians who had reported having at least one disability between 2013 and 2017.

13.7 percent: The percentage of Pennsylvanians with disabilities in the state’s total population, the 16th largest complement in the nation (tied with Michigan).

12.6 percent: The percentage of Americans who have at least one disability.

The age and gender gap:

47.7 percent: The percentage of those aged 75 and older who reported having disabilities. “Together, those over 65 years account for 16.7 percent of the civilian, non-institutionalized population, but 41.6 percent of those with disabilities,” Penn State researchers noted.

Source: Pennsylvania State Data Center (screen capture)

14 percent: The percentage of Pennsylvania women who had at least disability.

13.5 percent: The percentage of Pennsylvania men who had at least one disability.

“Females were slightly more represented in the population of persons with a disability (52.4 percent) than in the civilian, non-institutionalized population of Pennsylvania (51.3 percent),” Penn State researchers concluded.

Source: Pennsylvania State Data Center at Penn State Harrisburg (screen capture)

Divisions along racial and ethnic lines:

“The American Indian and Alaska Native population had the highest percent of persons with disabilities (23.1 percent), though this estimate was inflated due to low sample sizes,” Penn State researchers further noted. “Black or African Americans, Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islanders, and individuals of some other race alone all had disability rates higher than the civilian, non-institutionalized (13.7 percent). Asian residents had the lowest percent of persons with disabilities (6.5 percent) at less than half of the general population and other racial groups.”

Source: Pennsylvania State Data Center (screen capture)

Types of disability:

27 percent: The percentage of disabled Pennsylvanians who have ambulatory disabilities — or those affecting their movement.

20.7 percent: The percentage of disabled Pennsylvanians who have a cognitive disability.

“Approximately 7.4 percent of Pennsylvania’s population from 2013 to 2017 had ambulatory-based disabilities, while 6.2 percent had independent-living-based disabilities, or those affecting the ability of the person to complete errands alone, and 5.7 percent had cognitive-based disabilities, disabilities that make concentrating, remembering, or making decisions more difficult,” researchers found.

Source: Pennsylvania State Data Center (screen capture)

“Just under half (47.1 percent) of the population with disabilities had two or more types of disabilities. The population under 18 years of age with disabilities had the lowest percentage of persons with two or more types of disabilities (25.6 percent). Of the population age 18 to 64 years with disabilities, 45.8 percent had two or more types of disabilities while a slight majority (52.8 percent) of persons age 65 years and over with disabilities had two or more types of disabilities,” researchers concluded.

The income and wage gap:

20.3 percent: The percentage of Pennsylvanians with disabilities who have less than a high school diploma or its equivalent.

7.6 percent: The percentage of non-disabled Pennsylvanians who have less than a high school education.

14.2 percent: The percentage of Pennsylvanians with disabilities who have obtained a bachelor’s degree or higher.

34 percent: The percentage of non-disabled Pennsylvanians who have obtained at least a bachelor’s degree.

$34,607: Median earnings for non-disabled Pennsylvanians.

$21,696: Median earnings for those with a disability.

20.6 percent: Percentage of Pennsylvanians with a disability who had incomes below the poverty level.

10.1 percent: Percentage of non-disabled Pennsylvanians who had incomes below the poverty threshold.

An award-winning political journalist with more than 25 years' experience in the news business, John L. Micek is The Pennsylvania Capital-Star's Editor-in-Chief. Before joining The Capital-Star, Micek spent six years as Opinion Editor at PennLive/The Patriot-News in Harrisburg, Pa., where he helped shape and lead a multiple-award-winning Opinion section for one of Pennsylvania's most-visited news websites. Prior to that, he spent 13 years covering Pennsylvania government and politics for The Morning Call of Allentown, Pa. His career has also included stints covering Congress, Chicago City Hall and more municipal meetings than he could ever count, Micek contributes regular analysis and commentary to a host of broadcast outlets, including CTV-News in Canada and talkRadio in London, U.K., as well as "Face the State" on CBS-21 in Harrisburg, Pa.; "Pennsylvania Newsmakers" on WGAL-8 in Lancaster, Pa., and the Pennsylvania Cable Network. His weekly column on American politics is syndicated nationwide to more than 800 newspapers by Cagle Syndicate.

1 COMMENT

  1. For decades politicians, academics, and the people of Hawaii have been bombarded with claims that Native Hawaiians have the worst victimhood statistics for virtually every terrible disease or social dysfunction: heart disease, breast cancer, diabetes, drug abuse, poverty, incarceration — the list of woes is endless. Such claims are presented along with statistics which appear to prove them. The claims, sometimes accompanied by statistical “studies”, are published in newspapers or academic journals to influence public opinion to feel sympathy for those poor, downtrodden Native Hawaiians and to build political support for racial entitlement programs.

    Victims are assigned to the category of “Native Hawaiian” without regard to the other ethnicities that make up a majority of their ancestry. This greatly inflates the alleged victimhood of Native Hawaiians while at the same time depriving those other ethnicities of the victimhood recognition to which the facts entitle them. Anyone with even a single drop of Hawaiian native blood is classified as “Native Hawaiian” and solely as Native Hawaiian.

    The opposite sort of one-drop rule is used when counting Caucasians. A person whose ancestry is 7/8 Caucasian might be classified as Filipino merely because the father has 1/8 Filipino ancestry. These two applications of the one-drop rule grossly increase the apparent level of Native Hawaiian victimhood while also reducing the apparent level of Caucasian victimhood.

    This is extremely obvious and totally ignored by the tycoons of the Hawaiian grievance industry who totally ignore this concept and knowingly produce bogus statistical results — An accurate assessment of ethnic victimhood would require researchers to have the courage to ask the politically incorrect but scientifically essential question: What are you? What racial groups are present in your ancestry, and what is the percentage of each one?

    If victimhood is to be ascribed as being genetically caused by or correlated with race, then each racial group should be awarded a fractional victimhood tally mark for each victim, equal to the fraction of that race in the ancestry of each victim. If victimhood is to be ascribed as being caused by ethnic lifestyle or culture or religion, then a researcher should create for each lifestyle or culture or religion a list of activities or attitudes that characterize each culture or religion, and award fractional points to each of them according to the activities or attitudes of each victim.

    Each point made in this comment is discussed at length, with proof, at
    http://tinyurl.com/j3aolqg

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