The Household Context of Disability

Authors: Christiane von Reichert*, Geography and RTC: Rural, University of Montana, Rayna Sage, RTC: Rural, University of Montana, Helen E. Berry, Sociology, Social Work & Anthropology, Utah State University
Topics: Disabilities, Population Geography
Keywords: disability, household relations, rural-urban
Session Type: Poster
Day: 4/5/2019
Start / End Time: 1:10 PM / 2:50 PM
Room: Lincoln 2, Marriott, Exhibition Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


The number of people in America experiencing disability ranges from 40 million (ACS 2015) to over 50 million people (Brault 2012, Courtney-Long et al. 2015). Most people with disability live in households, often sharing the household with members not experiencing a disability. The ACS Public Use Microdata Sample allows for identifying the household context of disability and reveals that 40 million people without disability live in households with one or more other disabled persons (von Reichert 2017), nearly doubling the number of people affected by disability –either of their own or a household member. This household context of disability is rarely recognized, seriously under-explored, and poorly—if at all—understood, therefore raising countless questions about households that are made up of persons with and without disability. What is the age-, gender- and racial make-up of these households, and what are the household relationships? What does this suggest about households as a unit of support and about informal caregiving? Additionally, given that disability rates (of persons) are higher in rural than urban areas, are there geographic dimensions to household disability? The contribution of this research lies in using – with the ACS PUMS -- a sizeable national dataset to highlight disability at the household level and explore the nature and types of households experiencing disability.

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