The number of disabled Americans has increased to 41 million, up from 37 million, over 10 years, according to AvaCare Medical in a new study.

The study, the State of Disabilities in America, uses the most recent U.S. Census Bureau Data which covers the 10-year period from 2011-2020.  

It notes that California has the No. 3 Lowest disability rate with 10.7% of residents having at least one disability.

The rise in disabilities can be attributed to myriad factors, including the continued aging of baby boomers and an increase in illnesses that cause disabilities such as obesity and heart disease.

However, disabilities for people under 17 also nearly doubled from 4% to 7% indicating the issue goes beyond aging. Socio-economic inequities also play a role as people below the poverty line in the U.S. and developing countries around the world are more likely to have a disability and less likely to have healthcare.

Other Key Findings in AvaCare Medical Study

  • The disability rate in California rose by 5.8% the No. 19 highest increase in the U.S.
  • Eight of the top 10 states with the highest disability rates were in the South.
  • The six fastest growing types of disabilities: hearing loss (+146% over 10 years), independent living (+97%), ambulatory (+89%), vision (+85%), self-care (+82%) and cognitive (+43%)
  • 5 States with the Highest Disability Rates: West Virginia (19.3%), Arkansas (17.6%), Mississippi (16.5%), Alabama (16.2%), and Oklahoma (16.2%).
  • 5 States with the Lowest Disability Rates: Utah (9.7%), New Jersey (10.4%), California (10.7%), Colorado (10.8%), and North Dakota (10.9%)