WASHINGTON, July 19 /PRNewswire/ -- The National Organization on Disability (N.O.D.) today released the 2000 N.O.D./Harris Survey of Americans with Disabilities. The survey reveals persistent gaps in levels of participation between people with disabilities and other Americans in employment, income, education, socializing, religious and political participation, and access to healthcare and transportation. While those with disabilities continue to lag generally, the survey also shows encouraging progress in some areas, especially among younger people with disabilities and among those with less severe disabilities. These latest findings define and quantify the gaps that affect the 54 million Americans with disabilities at the start of the new millennium, and provide a benchmark for future progress. They also highlight the status of people with disabilities on the 10th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act signed by President George Bush on July 26, 1990. The survey-sponsored by Aetna U.S. Healthcare and The JM Foundation-was unveiled by Senator Max Cleland (D-GA) at a press conference at the U.S. Capitol today. Senator Cleland called on all Americans to help close the gaps and accomplish the goal of the ADA -- the full and equal participation of people with disabilities in all aspects of life. "America must do more to release the talents and abilities of our citizens with disabilities who want to work, participate and contribute to the nation," stated Cleland, a Vietnam Veteran who lost three limbs in combat and uses a wheelchair. Harris Poll Chairman Humphrey Taylor, who directed surveys on the participation of people with disabilities in American life in 1986, 1994, and 1998 -- highlighted the following gaps: Only 32% of disabled people of working age (18-64) work full or part-time compared to 81% of the non-disabled population, a gap of 49% points. More than two-thirds of those not employed say they would prefer to be working. However, among those who say they are able to work despite their disability, fully 56% are working, and the 25% gap (81% versus 56%) has narrowed steadily from 1994 when only 47% of this group was working. People with disabilities are almost three times as likely as people without disabilities to live in households with total incomes of $15,000 or less (29% compared to 10%). People with disabilities are less likely to be registered to vote than people without disabilities (62% versus 78%). People with disabilities are almost three times as likely as people without disabilities to say that inadequate transportation is a problem (30% compared to 10%). "Closing these gaps is a challenge for all Americans, not just those of us with disabilities," said N.O.D. President Alan A. Reich. "We take heart from the many hopeful signs in this Harris survey, indicating the success of the ADA. Among young people with and without disabilities, age 18-29, the employment gap is only 25% and narrowing. Large numbers of people with disabilities reported that conditions had improved for them during the past four years. This reflects intensive efforts by the disability community, employers, and community leaders, as well as advances in technology, and greater accessibility. The Americans with Disabilities Act is having an impact. We must all work to close the gaps. This is America's Disability Agenda in the new millennium." Mr. Taylor commented, "The purpose of this research is not only to measure the gaps in key life areas between people with and without disabilities, but to provide a benchmark at the year 2000 for measuring future progress and to provide information to help close these gaps. I anticipate the results will be used by people both inside and outside the disability community, by the media, corporate America, legislators and state and federal administrators." The National Organization on Disability, founded in 1982, promotes the full and equal participation and contribution of America's 54 million men, women and children with disabilities in all aspects of life. N.O.D. is funded entirely by private donations and accepts no government funding. For more information, contact N.O.D. at 202/293-5960; TDD: 202/293-5968; or visit www.nod.org. The executive summary of the "2000 N.O.D./Harris Survey of Americans with Disabilities" is available online at www.nod.org. The full report (approximately 125 pages including tables and the 35-page survey questionnaire showing tabulated responses) will be available in August and may be purchased for $95 from the National Organization on Disability. The charge is $65 for disability organizations. For a limited time, media may request complimentary copies for reporting and research needs. To order your report, contact N.O.D at firstname.lastname@example.org or 202/293-5960.
SOURCE National Organization on Disability