Measuring Disability: Exploring the Census Bureau's Proposed Changes and Policy Implications

Washington , District of Columbia
Thursday, February 22, 2024 1:00 pm to 2:00 pm

The US Census Bureau is proposing a major change to the way it measures disability that would reduce the official disabled population count and potentially affect federal funding for critical safety net programs. The bureau currently estimates that 14 percent of people residing in the United States (44 million people) have a disability. According to the bureau’s testing, the new measure would cut the existing estimate to 8 percent, or 26 million people. This process did not involve meaningful engagement with the disability community. The proposed change raises important questions about how to measure disability more inclusively. Both the current and proposed measure rely on functional definitions of disability (e.g., the ability to see, hear, or walk) and exclude millions of Americans, including those with chronic illnesses, psychiatric disabilities, or conditions that affect them intermittently. The current undercount’s existing effects likely have a large impact on federal allocations and state and local distribution of funding to programs that support people with disabilities. The new measure could make these issues worse, and Urban is exploring these impacts in new research . The Urban Institute’s Disability Equity Policy Initiative and the Disability & Philanthropy Forum invite you to join a discussion on the need for an accurate count of disabled people in the US and the policy implications of proposed changes. The event will feature remarks from Richard E. Besser, president and CEO of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and cochair of the Presidents’ Council of the Disability & Philanthropy Forum, followed by a panel of disability experts.

The Urban Institute
No likes yet -- be the first!