You may be surprised to learn how many people have disabilities worldwide. One billion people live with a disability, making it the largest minority group globally. What’s more, the wide-reaching societal impact disability statistics reveal is also quite striking. But unfortunately, digital accessibility data shows how far the world is from matching rates of disability. 

Only 3% of the web is accessible to people with disabilities. Not surprisingly, these accessibility issues hurt companies’ profitability because they exclude a massive and crucial demographic. Moreover, not meeting digital accessibility standards is also legally careless concerning ADA compliance. In short, society is way behind the curve in providing an equitable web environment for all of our fellow humans.

How Many People Have Disabilities in the U.S.?

How many Americans have a disability? A whopping 61 million U.S. adults live with these conditions, comprising 26% of the country’s population. These numbers cover the full spectrum of disabilities and demographics, further illustrating the need for physical and digital accessibility

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Cognition: 10.8% struggle to concentrate, remember or make decisions

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Independent living: 6.8% find it challenging to do daily tasks

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Mobility: 13.7% have difficulty walking or climbing stairs independently

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Hearing: 5.9% are deaf or have severe hearing conditions

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Vision: 4.6% are blind or have difficulty seeing

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Self-Care: 3.7% struggle to dress themselves
  • Cognition: 10.8% struggle to concentrate, remember or make decisions
  • Independent living: 6.8% find it challenging to do daily tasks 
  • Mobility: 13.7% have difficulty walking or climbing stairs independently
  • Hearing: 5.9% are deaf or have severe hearing conditions
  • Vision: 4.6% are blind or have difficulty seeing
  • Self-Care: 3.7% struggle to dress themselves

Disabilities are Also More Common Among Specific Population Groups: 

  • 40% of American adults over 65 have a disability
  • 25% of women have a disability
  • 40% of non-Hispanic American Indians/Alaska Natives are affected

Accessibility Stats Related to Employment

Physical and digital barriers can negatively impact employment rates for people with disabilities. These obstacles are unfortunate, considering these people are contributing members of society. They are career professionals, taxpayers, parents, politicians, and possibly your closest neighbors. So it naturally follows that they can be great job candidates. 

But unfortunately, their labor force participation remained low, and unemployment was still high in 2021 compared to people who don’t have disabilities. Moreover, digital Internet and website barriers are widening the gulf in employment rates for this huge demographic, despite an increase in remote working opportunities due to COVID-19. The most recent Bureau of Labor Statistics shows the comparative disparity between people with and without disabilities in 2021: 

  • Only 21.3% of U.S. citizens with disabilities (16 years and older) worked or looked for jobs, compared to 67.1% of people without disabilities.
  • Workers with disabilities are 13% less likely to have home Internet and 11% less likely to own a computing device.

Simultaneously, as the unemployment rate doubled from 2019-2020, workers with disabilities became unemployed more than other employees. However, workers with disabilities who have Internet access were more likely to keep their jobs. Notably, there’s no connection between Internet access and job retention concerning workers without disabilities.

With all this said, offering accessible digital content to every staff member is imperative for creating an inclusive company culture. Companies of all sizes and sectors must accommodate people with disabilities in the modern world. As conventional job environments become increasingly remote and virtual (e.g., virtual events and video-conferencing meetings), it’s incumbent upon organizations to provide assistive tech tools so people of all abilities can thrive. 

The Importance of an Accessible Website

An accessible website can protect you legally, enhance your online sales, and help provide an equitable web environment. And although ADA guidelines don’t specify website requirements, that hasn’t stopped federal courts and agencies from pursuing legal action. 

  • Notably, there were 3,500 suits against inaccessible company websites in 2021
  • 74% of these companies had E-commerce storefronts. 

Plus, all-sized companies, not just the more prominent players, are vulnerable to such lawsuits. To that end, smaller businesses with limited budgets and human resources endure the most significant financial impact from these punitive actions.   

Nonetheless, there’s good news for companies that partner with tech firms that develop assistive technology tools. First, they can help businesses comprehend and apply WCAG guidelines to increase website accessibility. Second, the cost of possible legal action significantly overshadows the cost of implementing AI accessibility tools.

Legally speaking, the risk of lawsuits is only increasing, but providing an accessible website transcends the legal implications. Greater website accessibility means your company accommodates people of all backgrounds, including those with disabilities. And that’s not only ethically sound, but it’s also a wise approach to business. E-commerce sales continue to surge, and companies that invest in accessibility stand to gain the most from these shifts in the market. 

  • U.S. E-commerce sales hit approximately $5.2 trillion in 20218
  • These numbers are forecasted at $8.1 trillion by 2026
  • 93% of users want E-commerce stores better than physical locations
  • 52% will pay more if it’s easy to find products they want

UserWay Can Help With Your Accessibility Needs

UserWay’s AI technology can help you conform to all web compliance standards while making your website more accessible to people with disabilities. UserWay is committed to accommodating all people in the digital world and has affordable technology to help you do just that.

Start by requesting a demo today!

Common FAQs On Disabilities & Accessibility

How are Disabilities Defined?

Disabilities are any physical or mental condition that substantially hinders one’s daily life, and there are seven main classifications: 

  1. Physical
  2. Sensory
  3. Developmental
  4. Learning
  5. Cognitive
  6. Mental
  7. And health-related 

It’s also important to note that most disabilities aren’t visually apparent, and according to the Disabled Living Foundation, 80% of those with disabilities developed these conditions after birth.  

What is Accessibility, and Why Does it Matter?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention defines it this way: accessibility considers people explicitly with disabilities, including products, services, and facilities developed or altered to accommodate people of all ability levels. Accessibility is essential because it acknowledges the respectability of all people and enables them to partake, provide, and be a member of their communities.

How is Ableism Defined?

Ableism is the belief that able-bodied people are superior to people with disabilities. It also describes any prejudgement or bias against people based solely on their disability. Ableism spans everything from using unsuitable language to not reasonably accommodating those with disabilities.