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A Census Bureau proposal could shrink the U.S. disability rate by 40%

Posted on December 22, 2023


  • The Census Bureau wants to change how it counts people with disabilities in the U.S.

  • Disability advocates worry that changes to the disability questions on the Bureau’s yearly American Community Survey and how the results are shared could cause problems with the government’s official numbers.

  • It might make it harder for disabled people to get housing, healthcare, and legal protection against discrimination.

  • Individuals with disabilities wonder if the information collected would show what life is like for them.

  • The Census Bureau says they’re making these changes to make the data better and more like other countries.

  • Some people don’t like the idea of changing the questions. Right now, the questions ask if something is easy or hard (yes or no). The new questions ask people to say how hard things are on a scale. New estimates of disabled people would only include people who report “A lot of difficulty” or “Cannot do at all.” Those reporting “Some difficulty” would be left out.

  • The suggested changes might show fewer people in the U.S. have disabilities, about 40% less than before.

  • People can share their thoughts on these changes until December 26. There will be another chance in Spring 2024. The final decision needs approval by June 1, 2024, for changes to start in 2025.

Read the NPR article

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