Thursday, July 23, 2015

Happy 25th Anniversary ADA! Disability in Utah today

Twenty-five years ago, on July 26, 1990, the Americans with Disabilities Act was signed into law, the good changes it has brought about are undeniable. But Utah has some room to improve disability rights.

ADA 25 Utah logo

One of those changes has been shining a light on what it means to live with a disability in the U.S. According to the Census Bureau, about 56.7 million people — 19 percent of the population — had a disability in 2010, according to a broad definition of disability, with more than half of them reporting the disability was severe.

And while changes to access to technology, accessible environments, employment discrimination law, and other things have improved lives of Americans with disabilities, equality is still yet to be achieved. 

Adults age 21 to 64 with disabilities in the U.S. had median monthly earnings of $1,961 compared with $2,724 for those with no disability, according to the 2010 report.

How does the Beehive state stack up? In Utah, 16.5 percent of adults aged 21 to 64 with a disability had a bachelor’s degree or higher, compared to 30 percent of people without a disability (according to Cornell University’s Disability Statistics 2013).

There is an estimated employment rate in Utah for adults aged 21 to 64 with a disability of 42.2 percent. This is in contrast to 77.5 percent among people without a disability in Utah.

Better access to employment and services, increasing the public's understanding about living with a disability, and continued work with law makers are ways to improve these numbers. Because at the end of the day, these are family, friends, community members and people - not just numbers. 

Finishing what was started 25 years ago is possible. What will you do to help?

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