Disability data at risk as House votes to eliminate the American Community Survey

The House approved the Commerce, Science, Justice Appropriations bill earlier this month which included amendments to eliminate funding for the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey (ACS) and to make the survey voluntary.   The ACS provides vital economic, social, and housing data on many of our counties, cities, Congressional districts, towns, and communities that are not provided anywhere else.  The ACS is particularly critical to the disability community because it was the first reliable measure of disability in the general population.  The ACS replaced the long form used in the decennial census.  The loss of this survey would be devastating to the national data collected about people with disabilities. This data is critical to gathering a clearer picture of the lives of individuals with disabilities and measuring our success at achieving integration and inclusion of children and adults with disabilities in mainstream society.  It is unclear if the Senate will consider its version of the bill before the Memorial Day recess or after.  The Arc is joining with the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD) to urge the Senate to fully fund the ACS.

New CDC data shows sharp increase in Autism prevalence; Senate Issues Proclamation

On March 29, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released new data on the prevalence of autism showing that one in 88 children has autism or a related disorder, a 23% increase since the last report in 2009 and a 78% increase since the first report in 2007.  The Arc spoke out to warn that this could be a “perfect storm,” with proposed cuts to Medicaid in Congress threatening services and supports for people with autism.  On the same day, Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) submitted Senate Resolution 413 supporting the designation of April 2012 as National Autism Awareness Month.

Federal Workforce Annual Report Released with Data on Employing People with Disabilities

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) released its Annual Report on the Federal Work Force II: Work Force Statistics, Fiscal Year (FY) 2010. There were over 2.8 million employees in 64 federal agencies in FY 2010. Of those employees, only .88% (25,217) were persons with “targeted” disabilities, which includes intellectual disability. Only eleven agencies achieved the federal goal of at least a 2% participation rate for individuals with targeted disabilities. Among agencies with 500 or more employees, the EEOC had the highest percentage of individuals with targeted disabilities (2.67%).

Crimes against persons with disabilities

The Bureau of Justice Statistics in the Department of Justice released data from 2008-2010 about crimes against individuals with disabilities over the age of 12. In 2010, the rate of crimes against people with disabilities was almost twice the rate for people without disabilities (28 victimizations per 1,000 individuals with disabilities compared to 15 per 1,000 individuals without disabilities).