In the Eye of the Perfect Storm: Creating Accessibility—IBM, GM, and CISCO
A “Critical Disadvantage”
Americans with disabilities constitute an estimated 49 million people, or 20 percent of the population. In other words, one in every five people has a disability, and as some experts estimate, there is an 80 percent chance that an average person will experience some kind of disability in the course of his or her lifetime. Even with the likelihood that so many people will be in this group, Americans with disabilities are, according to the 2004 National Organization on Disability/Harris Survey, still at a “critical disadvantage” when compared with nondisabled Americans. 1 The following statistics reflect this disadvantage:
· Thirty-five percent of people with disabilities report being employed full or part time, compared with 78 percent of those who do not have disabilities.
· People with disabilities are three times as likely to live in poverty with annual household incomes below $15,000 (26 percent versus 9 percent).
· People with disabilities remain twice as likely to drop out of high school compared with people without disabilities (21 percent versus 10 percent).
· People with disabilities are twice as likely to have inadequate transportation (31 percent versus 13 percent), and a much higher percentage go without needed health care (18 percent versus 7 percent).
· People with disabilities are less likely to socialize, eat out, or attend religious services than their nondisabled counterparts.
· Life satisfaction for people with disabilities trails, with only 34 percent saying they are very satisfied compared with 61 percent of those without disabilities.
· People with disabilities are much more worried about their future health and well-being. Half are worried about not being able to care for themselves or being a burden to their families, compared with a quarter of other Americans. Elaborate and discuss these statements in a detailed form.