1 Blind Adults in America: Their Lives and Challenges
2 Copyright 2004 National Center for Policy Research for Women & Families All rights reserved. Information from this report may be quoted with proper acknowledgement and without written authorization. This report may not be reproduced without permission from the National Center for Policy Research for Women & Families at or (202) Suggested Citation: Diana M. Zuckerman, 2004 Blind Adults in America: Their Lives and Challenges Washington, DC: National Center for Policy Research for Women & Families This report was made possible by a grant from the Aid Association for the Blind of the District of Columbia. The report is based on a statistical analysis that was funded by Guide Dogs for the Blind and The Seeing Eye. The contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not represent the views of the funding organizations. Blind Adults in America: Their Lives and Challenges was written by Diana M. Zuckerman, Ph.D. Special thanks to Kristine Witkowski, Ph.D, who analyzed the data; Mary Hager, Cathleen Witter, Madeleine Levin, Elinor Tucker, Dawn Dhavale and Nicole Hudak for their contributions to the report; neo design for designing the report; and the many advocates and people with vision impairment who provided support and suggestions for this project. The National Center for Policy Research for Women & Families is an independent, nonprofit research and education organization whose mission is to improve the health and safety of women, children, and families.the Center works with policy makers, researchers, research centers, public interest groups, and the public to conduct, analyze, and disseminate research information that is used to improve programs and policies that affect the lives of women, children, and families everyday. For more information, see or contact us at
3 Table of Contents Introduction The Study Why Study Adults Who Are Blind? Highlights Findings Demographic, Household, Health and Economic Characteristics Regional Differences Causes of Blindness and Current Health Status Family Income and Education Work and Other Daily Activities Programs and Services Blind Adults Living in Poverty Blind Adults Living Alone Policy Issues
4 1 Introduction A p p rox i mately one million legally blind adults live in the United States. We know that ma ny are older and increasing numbers live alone. However, there are many things we have not k nown about blind adults in our na t ion. Exactly whe re are they living? How ma ny are living in poverty or near poverty? How is their health? What pro g ra ms and services are the y using, and are their needs being met? What are their daily lives like? Are there regional differences that we need to be aware of to improve policies for the adults who are blind? Even the earliest civilizations recognized the unique needs of people who were blind. Blind men and women have made important contributions to society as teachers, philosophers, a nd artists. It is the re fo re surprising how little re s e a rch has been do ne to learn mo re about the lives of legally blind adults in contemporary American society. In fact, no nationally representative study had ever been done until very recently. This report is based on the first study conducted on a nationally representative sample of non-institutionalized legally blind adults in America.
5 The Study 2 In an effort to learn mo re about Ame r ic a ns with disabilitie s, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) decided that the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) would be used to gather information about men, women, and children with disabilities l i v i ng all across the count r y. They int e r v iewed tho u s a nds of adults and children with disabilities in 1994 and 1995, including 779 legally blind adults representing 993,766 non-institutionalized adults ages 18 and older nationwide, and 52 children representing 65,296 non-institutionalized legally blind children ages 5 to 17 nationwide. The federal government, however, never used the data to provide information to advocates or policy makers about the daily lives of legally blind adults and children. The National Center for Policy Research (CPR) for Women & Families used the NHIS data to conduct the first comprehensive statistical analysis of data on blind adults. With the support of the Aid Association for the Blind of the District of Columbia, we have summarized the information into this report. Some of the findings support assumptions that have been made about blind adults, while other findings highlight previously unrecognized needs of this very important group of Americans. Why Study Adults Who Are Blind? The policy implications of blindness in the United States are staggering. Americans are l i v i ng longer than ever befo re. As the population age s, the number of blind adults inc re a s e s. C o ns e q u e nt l y, the number of blind adults who do not have others to care for them also i nc re a s e s. While most blind adu l t s are married or living with relatives, as they age they may outlive their spouses or relatives. This is of particular concern for women, who are more likely to outlive their spouses and live alone. The more information we have about blind adults, the better we can understand what policies and services are needed to help these men and women continue to live independent, satisfying, and productive lives.
6 3 Some Highlights How old are they? It s no surprise that most blind adults are older than the general population. Our study shows that their average age is 62, and one out of every three is over the age of 75. Who do they live with? One in five blind men lives alone, but that decreases after age 75. In contrast, although few young blind women live alone, blind women are more likely to live alone as they get older, and the majority live alone after age 75. Older blind white women are much more likely to live alone than their African American and Hispanic counterparts. How did they become blind? The majority of blind adults had sight when they were young and became blind due to illness. However, a substantial number of men became blind due to accidents. Do they live in poverty? Poverty is a fact of life for many blind adults, especially older women. Few blind adults receive welfare. Most blind men in poverty receive food stamps, but most blind women in poverty do not. What services do they use? Almost none of the blind men or women reported receiving vocational rehabilitation, occupational therapy, or any other services available to help them cope with losing their vision. Olivia N. was born 16 we e ks pre m a t u re l y, which led to blindness when she was three months old. Now an a t t rac t i ve, friend l y, and ac c o m p l i s hed 22-ye a r - o ld, Olivia has battled health problems all her life. She is a junior in college, and has managed to make the Dean s list and retain a scho l a rship in spite of the int e r r u p t i o ns to her education caused by her medical problems. She is fortunate to have we l l - e d ucated pare nts who have encouraged her every step of the way and have the re s o u rces to prov i de the best medical care. Olivia re m a i ns upbeat and is de t e r m i ned to pursue her dream of becoming a medical social worker.
7 What about blind children? It is unfortunate that the NHIS study included only 52 blind children between 5 17 and thus provided limited information about children. However, since this was a representative sample, we can use the data to provide useful comparisons between adults and children. For example, blindness is often only one of several serious disabilities afflicting children who are blind, probably when blindness is a result of premature birth or brain damage. More than 40 percent of the children in the study had learning disabilities, for example, and 20 percent were considered mentally retarded. These disabilities were rare in blind adults. Compared to adults, blind children are more likely to be male and less likely to be white. Almost half of the blind children live in the South, compared to only 35 percent of the adults. This raises important questions about potential causes of blindness, such as access to prenatal care questions that can t be answered by this study. Because the sample of blind children in the study was small, this report will only discuss research findings on adults ages 18 and older. 4 Why do this report now? B l i nd ness is often a result of diseases associated with aging. The size of the blind populatio n is increasing. As baby boomers age and Americans live longer, the number of blind adults, the challenges that confront them, and the implications for our society will increase in magnitude. If we as a nation are to meet the needs of this growing population, our policy makers must have objective information about those needs. The findings from this firstof-its-kind analysis highlight several issues to help our leaders craft effective policies. Findings This report is based on adults who reported that they were legally blind or whose family member reported that they were legally blind, in response to a direct question asking Are you (or is he or she) legally blind? Legal blindness is defined as corrected eyesight no better than 20/200 for either eye or a restricted field of vision less than 20 degrees wide. The survey results indicate that there are 993,766 legally blind, non-institutionalized adults ages 18 and older in the United States. They vary tremendously on virtually every measure, from race and ethnicity, education, work history, family income, medical status, mental health, and the ability to perform the tasks of daily living.
8 5 Demographic, Household, Health and Economic Characteristics Basic Information More than three-quarters (79 percent) are white, 12 percent are black, and 6 percent are Hispanic* Almost half (49 percent) are married The average education is 11.4 years The proportion of blind adults who are white is greatest for those over age 75 A p p rox i mately half of blind men over 65 are vetera ns, but less than one - t h i rd of younge r blind men are veterans Male and Female Half of the blind adults are male and half are female Men comprise 58 percent of those between the ages of Women comprise 61 percent of those over the age of 75 Marriage and Household Blind men are more likely to be married than blind women, regardless of age As blind men age, they are more likely to be living with a spouse As blind women age, they are more likely to be living alone or with a relative Location Most blind adults (78 percent) live in an urban area More blind adults (35 percent) live in the South than in any other geographic area Rural and urban blind adults do not differ in terms of age or sex Poverty Nearly one in five (19 percent) lives in poverty Only 19 percent are currently employed All of the adults in the survey have worked in their lifetime s, either for pay or as volunt e e r s Regional Differences More than one-third of adults who are blind live in the South. The rest are almost evenly distributed in the other three regions: the Northeast, Midwest and West. There are interesting regional differences that influence how these blind adults live. For example, blind men outnumber blind women in the South, while the pattern is reversed in the other three regions. Blind adults are older in the Northwest, more likely to be married in the South, less educated in the South, and more educated in the West. Blind adults in the Northeast (89 percent) and West (86 percent) are more likely to live in an urban area than in the South (70 percent) and Midwest (71 percent). * This government survey categorizes race and ethnicity as Hispanic, non-hispanic white, non-hispanic black, Asian or Pacific Islander, and other.
9 Causes of Blindness and Current Health Status 6 Mo re than four out of five blind adults had impaired vision for mo re than 5 years. Blind ne s s was caused by disease for nearly half of the population. The most common reported causes are diseases of the retina (26 percent), diabetes (7 percent), glaucoma (7 percent), and cataracts (4 percent). Accidents accounted for 15 percent of blindness in adults and 8 percent in children. At all ages, but especially among those 45 or older, men have a higher percentage of blindness caused by accidents. Everyone in the survey was asked to rank his or her health on a five-point scale. Only 12 p e rc e nt rated their health as exc e l l e nt, 15 perc e nt rated their health as very go o d, 27 perc e nt rated their health as go o d, 25 perc e nt rated their health as fa i r, and 20 percent rated their health as poor. Almost all of them 94 percent reported at least one health problem. They reported an average of 3.3 health conditions each, in addition to their blindness. Ma ny blind adults also have other disabilitie s. Almost one in five have trouble he a r i ng, even with a hearing aid. An equal number report problems with balance. Very few report serious l e a r n i ng or ne u ro l o g ical disabilities: only 5 perc e nt had been dia g nosed as having a learning disability, 2 percent are mentally retarded, and 1 percent were born with cerebral palsy. W hen asked about emo t io nal and me ntal health pro b l e ms, mo re than one in four (29 perc e nt ) reported one or mo re emo t io nal or me ntal pro b l e ms; in add i t ion, 29 perc e nt of those individuals felt that their emotional or mental difficulties seriously impaired their lives. E mo t io nal pro b l e ms were me nt io ned by 17 perc e nt of blind adu l t s, who said they were f re q u e ntly de p ressed or anxious; 13 perc e nt were fre q u e ntly confused, disorie nt e d, or forgetful; 9 percent had trouble coping with daily stresses; and 7 percent said they had trouble concentrating long enough to complete tasks. Only 6 percent reported one or more serious mental health conditions; half of those were major depression ye a r - o ld Ben has lost most of his vision due to mac u l a r de ge ne ration. He was divo rced many ye a rs ago, and his d a u g hter helped him until she died in a car ac c i de nt last ye a r. He relies on his ho me care wo r ke r, Karina, who come s twice a week to do ho us e c le a n i ng, grocery sho p p i ng, and o t her tasks. Ben cannot affo rd to pay for full time care, a nd he doesn t wa nt to move to an assisted living fac i l i t y, i ns i s t i ng on maint a i n i ng his inde p e nde nc e. He ra rely le a ve s his apartment, finds it difficult to access information that could help him, and is increasingly isolated and v u l ne ra b le to injury and de p re s s i o n.
10 7 Family Income and Education Annual family income ranged from below $5,000 to more than $50,000, with almost equal distribution in all income categories included in the survey. No significant differences in annual family income were linked to age or sex, although the number of women living in poverty increases after the age of 44. Blind adults are less well educated than the general population. The average number of years of education for blind adults is Many (40 percent) did not obtain a high school diploma, 32 percent are high school graduates, 16 percent have some college education, a nd 12 perc e nt are college gra dua t e s. In cont rast, only 25 perc e nt of the ge ne ral populatio n of adults does not have a high school education; 18 percent have a college or graduate de g re e. Age influences the level of educ a t ion: Yo u nger blind adults tend to have mo re education. The educational attainment of men and women does not differ substantially. The lower educational attainment of the group as a whole is probably related to age as well as blindness, since individuals born earlier in the 20th century are less likely to have completed high school. There were important regional differences in poverty among blind adults. Almost one in four (24 percent) of blind adults in the South lives in poverty, compared with fewer than one in five in the Northeast (18 percent), Midwest (19 percent), and West (13 percent). Similarly, 21 percent of legally blind adults in the West have an annual family income of $50,000 or more, and 20 percent are employed. Comparable statistics for the Northeast w e re 11 perc e nt with inc o mes over $50,000 and 14 perc e nt employed, for the Midwest 10 perc e nt with inc o mes over $50,000 and 24 perc e nt employed, and for the South 13 percent with incomes over $50,000 and 18 percent employed. Stephanie O. was born with congenital glaucoma. Her vision has been impaired since infancy, but she was able to read print and did well in school. Her vision slowly de c l i ned, and now at the age of 56 she can t re ad print a t all and uses a white cane. She is a civil rights atto r ney w ho has worked for the federal government and at advocacy o rg a n i z a t i o ns in New York, Indiana, and Wa s h i ng ton, DC. She says her profession seems shocking to many. So many people, including health and rehab professionals, don t have any idea of what legally blind people can and can t do.
11 Work and Other Daily Activities 8 What do blind adults say about their daily lives? Although only 19 percent are currently employed (most do not work due to age or disabilities), only one in five said they were unable to perform personal care activities. However, almost half (46 percent) reported limited ability to perform personal care activities. Despite their age, disabilities, and health problems, most blind adults are able to perform most of the a c t i v i t ies of daily living listed in the survey (bathing, dre s s i ng, eating, getting in/out of beds/chairs, using the toilet, and getting around inside the home). Only one in four (24 percent) said they have difficulty performing any of these activities. The ability to perform personal care activities decreases with age. Two-thirds of blind men and approximately half of blind women between ages reported no limitations at all, but by the time they were 75 or older, one-quarter of the blind men and one-third of the blind women reported being unable to perform personal care activities at all. A l t hough almost all blind adults can use the telepho ne and ma ny are able to shop, pre p a re meals, manage money, and do housework, more than half (52 percent) reported problems with at least one of these instrumental activities of daily living. The percentage of blind adults reporting one or more difficulty with these activities increases with age from onequarter of men and one-third of women between years of age to 62 percent of men and 75 percent of women who are at least 75 years old or older. A third category of daily activities includes functional activities such as walking, lifting, standing, bending, reaching, holding a pen, and walking up steps. Approximately 30 to 40 p e rc e nt of all blind adults ex p e r ie nce diffic u l t ies in each of these five func t io nal activitie s : walking, lifting, standing, bending, and walking up steps. These are probably related to aging. Fewer than 15 percent had any difficulty either reaching, using fingers, or holding a pen or pencil. Overall, blind adults avera ge two func t io nal diffic u l t ies each, but 47 perc e nt have no func t io nal diffic u l t ies at all. By the age of 75 or olde r, ho w e v e r, 60 perc e nt of blind men and 79 percent of blind women reported at least one functional difficulty. Most of these limitations on daily activities seem to be related to aging, but some may be a result of not learning how to do activities as a blind person that the individual knew how to do before he or she became blind. T he men and women who re l ied on others for assistance usually re l ied on re l a t i v e s. Ho w e v e r, almost half of those who received help with activities of daily living, such as bathing, paid for the service. The much larger number of adults who receive help with instrumental activities (such as shopping) or functional activities (such as walking) were much less likely to pay for help.
12 9 Programs and Services How ma ny services and types of equipme nt de s ig ned for the visually impaired are used by legally blind adults? Appare nt l y, not ma ny. Only one in four (28 perc e nt) uses visua l equipment. The most common choices are white canes (12 percent), telescopic lenses (9 percent), and Braille (5 percent). Less than 1 percent use a guide dog. Use of adapted computer technology was rare, but is probably more common today. Despite their age, only one-third (34 percent) of blind adults use mobility equipment. Of those, almost three-quarters (72 percent) use a cane (but not a white cane), crutches, a walker, prescribed shoes, or a brace. Very few blind adults report receiving therapy of any kind. For instance, only 13 percent have ever received vocational rehabilitation. Only 11 percent received physical therapy in t he past year. Even fewer received occupatio nal the rapy in the past year (3 perc e nt). Seven percent use prescription drugs for mental health treatment. Given that most blind adults became blind later in life, they might benefit greatly from these types of services. It is important to determine why they are not getting them and how services could be made more readily available to them through various public and private agencies. For example, 18 percent of legally blind adults are veterans, who could possibly have access to services through the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). W hen Dud ley s sight began to de t e r i o rate due to mac u l a r degeneration, retinal scarring, and the effects of laser treatments, his wife took immediate action. She convinced him to take classes at the Orientation Center for the Blind in a nearby town. I spent six months there le a r n i ng to take care of myself... I le a r ned all about us i ng a cane and traveling independently. He later decided a guide dog would be even more helpful, and Burton, a friendly Yellow Lab, became his constant companion. D ud ley became a vo l u nteer peer couns e lo rat the Orient a t i o n Center. It s important for me to know that I m doing something to help someone else, he explains.
13 The remainder of this report focuses specifically on two groups that require additional policy attention: blind adults living in poverty, and blind adults living alone. 10 Blind Adults Living in Poverty A l most one in five (19 perc e nt) of legally blind adults lives in poverty, but only three perc e nt reported that they are on welfare. Five percent stated that they receive food stamps. Poverty is a problem for approximately one in five blind women, regardless of their age. Poverty is less common for older men. While almost equal numbers of legally blind men and women under 65 are living in poverty (21 percent and 24 percent respectively), the gender gap widens after the age of 65, with only 8 percent of men living in poverty and 21 percent of women living in poverty. Why? Do blind men somehow improve their financial situation as they age? A more likely explanation is that many older blind men were not blind during their young adult years; they may be living more securely than young blind men or blind women due to pensions and Social Security. Pensions also explain the differences between women and men. Between the ages of 65 and 74, 30 percent of blind women and just over one-third of blind men receive pensions. But after age 75, the ge nder gap is mo re dra ma t ic: almost half of the men receive a pension, while the percentage for women remains steady at 30 percent. This gender difference is not unique to blind adults. For the general population, there is also a ge nder gap for poverty, with 12 perc e nt of men living in poverty compared to almo s t 16 percent of women. Poverty is also linked to race. For women between the ages of 17 and 64 who are living in poverty, about half (51 percent) are white, whereas among women in that same age group who are living above the poverty level, three-quarters (76 percent) are white. Men show a similar pattern. In the same age group, 61 percent of those living in poverty are white while 80 perc e nt of those not living in poverty are white. The census fig u res show that nearly half of the general population living in poverty is white, while approximately twothirds of those not living in poverty are white. As with the general population, marital status and education are linked to poverty. For b l i nd men and women, ind i v iduals who are living in poverty are less likely to have gra dua t e d from high school. Blind men and women living in poverty are less likely to be currently married. They are also more likely to live alone than those who are not living in poverty.
14 11 Blind adults who work are less likely to be poor. Only 16 percent of blind women who are living in poverty are employed, compared to 39 percent of blind women living above the poverty line. L i ke w i s e, 18 perc e nt of blind men below the poverty line are employed, compared to 40 percent of blind men living above the poverty line. A l most half of blind adults receive Social Security or disability bene f i t s, although ma ny of the m a re below the poverty line. O t her go v e r n me nt assistance pro g ra ms are not wide l y u s e d, especially by blind women: Blind men in poverty are mo re likely to receive fo o d stamps than blind women in poverty (65 percent vs. 37 percent). Blind women in poverty are more likely to receive welfare benefits than men (24 percent vs. 12 percent), which is not surprising since welfare available at the time of the study was designed primarily for mo t hers of young children. Even so, ma ny blind adults living in poverty did not bene f i t from welfare or food stamps, even though these data were collected prior to the impleme nt a t ion of welfa re re form in It is not possible to tell from this study whe t her welfare reform has changed these findings. Blind adults who are poor are more likely to be living in rural areas than those who are not poor (30 percent compared to 20 percent). About one-half of both men and women living in poverty live in the South. Blind Adults Ages Northeast Midwest South West Women in poverty 8% 19% 52% 19% Women above the poverty line 19% 26% 31% 26% Men in poverty 18% 17% 50% 32% Men above the poverty line 19% 26% 14% 23% Tobi H. is legally blind and uses a wheelchair. She depends on Social Security for her income, a meager $602 a month. She is currently ill, and her medications cost $4,000/month. Although she was working fewer than 10 hours a week, that income plus her Social Security check made Tobi ineligible for Medicaid. But as a part-time employee, she had no access to health insurance through work. With the help of her Social Security caseworker and state legislators, she applied for the Home Based Community Services program, which will allow her to get back on Medicaid I don t know how anyone works their way through this system without help, says Tobi.
15 In summary, blind adults most likely to live in poverty are women residing in the South who are non-white, unemployed, less educated, and have limited social networks. 12 Living in poverty is linked to physical and mental problems for blind adults, although it is not clear whether poverty exacerbates or is caused by these other disabilities. Blind men living in poverty are more likely to report difficulties hearing conversation, even with a hearing aid (19 percent), compared to those not living in poverty (7 percent). For blind w o men, the same holds true: 11 perc e nt of those living in poverty reported the same problem, as opposed to 2 percent not living in poverty. Blind women and men living in poverty were mo re likely to have pro b l e ms with balance (35 perc e nt and 21 perc e nt, respectively), compared to those not living in poverty (11 perc e nt and 11 perc e nt ). When rating their overall health, blind women and men in poverty were much more likely to rate their health as fair or poor than their more financially secure counterparts. Blind w o men and men above the poverty line were mo re likely to report their health as exc e l l e nt, very good or good than blind women and men living below the poverty line (59 perc e nt and 70 percent respectively, compared to 43 percent and 48 percent). B l i nd women and men in poverty report hig her perc e nt a ges of emo t io nal and me ntal pro b l e ms s uch as de p re s s ion, anxie t y, trouble with frie nd s h i p s, trouble in social setting s, conc e nt ra t io n difficulties, stress coping difficulties, confusion, disorientation, and phobias than do blind women and men not living in poverty. In addition, blind adults living in poverty are more likely to report one or more emotional/mental problem compared to blind adults who do not live in poverty: 52 perc e nt and 47 perc e nt for women and men living in poverty, compared to 29 percent and 22 percent for women and men living above the poverty line. Blind Adults Living Alone One out of every four (26 percent) blind adults lives alone, but the patterns are different for men and women of differe nt age s. Blind women are mo re likely to live alone as they age. Only 7 percent of blind women between the ages of live alone, but the percentage mo re than doubles to 16 perc e nt between the ages of In the age gro u p, more than one-third live alone. More than half (52 percent) of blind women 75 and older live alone. In cont rast, approx i mately 20 perc e nt of blind men live alone at all age s, falling to 16 percent for those over 75. Race and ethnicity affect this pattern. Between the ages of 17 64, 62 perc e nt of blind women living alone are white, 36 percent are black, and 2 percent are Hispanic. However, among those 65 and older, 91 percent are white, 5 percent black, 2 percent Hispanic and 2 perc e nt othe r. In cont rast, just as the re are no age differe nc e s, the re is no ra c ial differe nc e in the percentage of blind men living alone.
16 13 A Report by the National Center for Policy Research for Women & Families The vast majority (94 percent) of older women who live alone are divorced, widowed, or separated, compared with 70 percent of younger women. The remainder (30 percent) of the younger women have never married, compared to 5 percent of the older women. Approximately two-thirds of the younger and older men living alone are divorced, widowed, or separated, and the rest never married. Blind men and women living alone have similar educational levels, except that younger women are more likely to have attended (but not graduated from) college than their male peers. Older men are more likely to have attended (but not graduated from) high school than their female peers. Blind adults who live alone are more likely to live in poverty than the general population. Approximately one-third of blind men ages and blind women and men ages 65 and older live in poverty, but almost half (48 percent) of blind women ages live in poverty. Comparable proportions of blind women and men under the age of 65 living alone receive Social Security, as do blind women and men over the age of 65. Only 32 percent of blind women over 65 and 15 percent of blind men over 65 receive pensions based on a lifetime of employment, which is considerably more than the younger women and men. Blind women and younger men living alone almost never report receiving welfare. Only 8 percent of older men living alone receive welfare. Blind men are much more likely to receive food stamps than blind women: 42 percent of younger blind men received food stamps compared to none of the younger blind women, and 23 percent of older blind men received food stamps, compared to 13 percent of the older blind women. This disparity raises an important question that deserves attention: Since so many of them are poor, why do legally blind women between the ages of 18 and 64 who live alone not receive food stamps? The income distribution of blind women living alone is different from blind men living alone. While younger blind women are more likely to live in poverty than any other group, there are also more younger blind women at the highest income levels. Their income distribution does not follow the same pattern as the other groups: approximately half the older blind women and younger and older blind men have incomes between the poverty line and $25,000, whereas almost half the younger blind women are living below the poverty line but only 20 percent report incomes between the poverty line and $25,000. At the other extreme, 10 percent of younger blind women living alone have family incomes of $50,000 or more, compared to 1 percent of older blind women, no younger blind men, and 4 percent of older blind men. It appears that blind women living alone are more likely to be very poor or relatively affluent, with fewer between those extremes.
17 There are major geographic differences among blind adults living alone. Younger women (17 64) living alone primarily reside in the Midwest (41 percent), with about 1 in 4 living in the South (26 percent) and West (24 percent), and only 8 percent in the Northeast. T he o l der women living alone are mo re evenly distributed ge o g ra p h ic a l l y. About one in five lives in the South (21 perc e nt), and about one in four lives either in the West (23 p e rc e nt ), Midwest (28 percent), or Northeast (28 percent). 14 Younger men living alone are most likely to live in the South (33 percent) or Midwest (29 percent), and less likely to live in the West (23 percent) and Northeast (15 percent). Approximately one in three (34 percent) of the older men lives in the South (34 percent), but one in four lives in the Northeast (26 percent) and one in five lives either in the Midwest (19 percent) or West (21 percent). The women living alone seem to be most concentrated in the Midwest and men living alone seem to be concentrated in the South.
18 15 POLICY ISSUES The major policy implications of these findings are as follows: Most blind adults have work experience and many below the age of 65 are healthy and w e l l - f u nc t io n i ng. Most are not c u r re ntly employed, ho w e v e r. R e g a rdless of age, sex, educ a- t io n, a nd inc o me, few blind adults receive the kinds of services that could pre s u mably he l p t he m succeed in the work force and remain independent and productive, such as vocational rehabilitation, occupational therapy, or visual equipment. Almost half of blind adults receive Social Security or disability benefits, but even they are more likely to live below the poverty line than other adults. Very few blind adults receive welfare or food stamps. Since welfare is designed for parents of young children, most blind adults do not qua l i f y. The fact that men are mo re likely to receive food stamps than women and that adults living alone are least likely to receive benefits suggests that ma ny blind adults may find the applic a t ion process for re c e i v i ng food stamps or other benefits too difficult. Assistance with the process or modification of it for blind adults could help them receive the benefits that they are entitled to. Most blind adults were not born blind and became blind as a result of diseases, not accidents. Data on causes are limited in this study, but prevention efforts that include diabetes, cataracts, and glaucoma could reduce blindness in a substantial number of Americans. As baby boomers age and longevity increases, the federal government needs to consider how to help blind adults who want to continue to live independently, but who have more health problems and disabilities as they age. Assistance may be especially necessary for blind women, most of whom live alone as they age, and many of whom live in poverty. Most blind women over 65 who are living alone are white. A p p rox i mately half of the blind men over the age of 65 are vetera ns, but less than one-third of those under 65 are veterans. The VA could potentially provide important assistance for many but not most blind men. Blind adults tend to live in urban areas and one-third live in the South. More than half the blind adults living in poverty live in the South. State and federal policies need to consider these geographic trends and do more to prevent blindness and provide services for those who need them.
19 Copies of this report are available free online at and in limited quantities from: National Center for Policy Research for Women & Families 1901 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Suite 901 Washington, DC (202)
20 National Center for Policy Research for Women & Families 1901 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Suite 901 Washington, DC (202)
Diabetes A drain on U.S. resources Some people with diabetes are able to control their condition and lead an active life. On the whole, however, people with diabetes are faced with many challenges. The
Caregiving Helping the elderly with activity limitations Number 7 May 2000 NATIONAL ACADEMY ON AN AGING SOCIETY Two of five people over age 70 need help with one or more daily activities. Yet many do not
Check List Douglas County Residents Only Our Mission Promoting Independence by Providing Car Care Please Submit the Following: FOR ALL APPLICANTS Fill out application completely and sign Sign the attached
Health Insurance Coverage: Early Release of Estimates From the National Health Interview Survey, January June 2013 by Michael E. Martinez, M.P.H., M.H.S.A., and Robin A. Cohen, Ph.D. Division of Health
Americans Current Views on Smoking 2013: An AARP Bulletin Survey November 2013 Americans Current Views on Smoking 2013: An AARP Bulletin Survey Report Prepared by Al Hollenbeck, Ph.D. Copyright 2013 AARP
Number, Timing, and Duration of Marriages and Divorces: 2009 Household Economic Studies Issued May 2011 P70-125 INTRODUCTION Marriage and divorce are central to the study of living arrangements and family
Health Insurance Coverage: Early Release of Estimates From the National Health Interview Survey, January March 2014 by Robin A. Cohen, Ph.D., and Michael E. Martinez, M.P.H., M.H.S.A. Division of Health
Seattle Seniors A Demographic Tidal Wave: numbers / needs Affordable Housing: today / looking ahead Strategies: addressing a significant demographic shift A Report prepared by the Seattle Office of Housing
Custodial Mothers and Fathers and Their Child Support: 2011 Current Population Reports By Timothy Grall Issued October 2013 P60-246 IntroductIon This report focuses on the child support income that custodial
Individualized Education Plans Updated: Children with special needs living in high-poverty neighborhoods are less likely to receive special services through an Individualized Education Plan (IEP). Importance
GAO United States Government Accountability Office Report to the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions, U.S. Senate March 2008 HEALTH INSURANCE Most College Students Are Covered through Employer-Sponsored
Selected Socio-Economic Data African American and White, Not Hispanic www.fairvote2020.org www.fairdata2000.com 5-Feb-12 C03002. HISPANIC OR LATINO ORIGIN BY RACE - Universe: TOTAL POPULATION Population
Demographic Analysis of the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community Using 2010 Census and 2010 American Community Survey Estimates Completed for: Grants & Contract Office The Salt River Pima-Maricopa
Women, Retirement and Advisors Concerned About Meeting Retirement Expectations, Female Boomers Seek Expert Advice September 2011 About the Insured Retirement Institute: The Insured Retirement Institute
Health Insurance Coverage: Early Release of Estimates From the National Health Interview Survey, January June 04 by Michael E. Martinez, M.P.H., M.H.S.A., and Robin A. Cohen, Ph.D. Division of Health Interview
2. RELATED SERVICES AND SUPPORTS RECEIVED BY YOUTH WITH DISABILITIES As noted in Chapter 1, students with disabilities can receive a variety of related services or supports when they are deemed necessary
Start Making the Most of Your Money! Answer 23 simple questions and you will get a personal report with tips on money management and budgeting, staying healthy, and protecting your financial information.
Working Beyond Retirement-Age Kelly A. Holder and Sandra L. Clark U.S. Census Bureau Housing and Household Economics Division Labor Force Statistics Branch Presented at the American Sociological Association
Educational Attainment in the United States: 2003 Population Characteristics Issued June 2004 P20-550 The population in the United States is becoming more educated, but significant differences in educational
Please submit the following to the 2 nd floor reception desk at the Blaine Human Services Center, or via fax, or mail (see fax/address at bottom of the page): Car Repair, Insurance, or Vehicle Registration
2010 US United States 2010 Disability Status Report United States www.disabilitystatistics.org Employment and Disability Institute at the Cornell University ILR School Contents Introduction 2010 Annual
Many Older Americans Engage in Caregiving Activities Richard W. Johnson and Simone G. Schaner NUMBER 3, JULY 2005 Many older Americans provide care to young children and frail adults. Although few caregivers
Health Insurance Coverage: Early Release of Estimates From the National Health Interview Survey, January March 2013 by Robin A. Cohen, Ph.D., and Michael E. Martinez, M.P.H., M.H.S.A. Division of Health
NUMBERS, FACTS AND TRENDS SHAPING THE WORLD FOR RELEASE NOVEMBER 19, 2015 BY Aaron Smith FOR FURTHER INFORMATION ON THIS REPORT: Aaron Smith, Associate Director, Research Dana Page, Senior Communications
MetLife Retirement Income IQ Study A Survey of Pre-Retiree Knowledge of Financial Retirement Issues June, 2008 The MetLife Mature Market Institute Established in 1997, the Mature Market Institute (MMI)
Disability in Washington State May 2006 For additional information, contact: Washington State Department of Health Community and Family Health Division Genetic Services Section 20435 72 nd Avenue South,
RHODE ISLAND SERVICES FOR THE BLIND AND VISUALLY IMPAIRED ORS/DHS THE INDEPENDENT LIVING FOR OLDER BLIND PROGRAM FINAL EVALUATION REPORT OCTOBER 1, 2005 - SEPTEMBER 30, 2006 Prepared by Kristine L. Chadwick,
Transforming Health Care: American Attitudes On Shared Stewardship An Aspen Institute- Survey Submitted by zogby international may 2008 2008 Report Overview A new Aspen Institute/Zogby interactive survey
Research Summary Expenditures of college-age students nonstudents Geoffrey D. Paulin As the U.S. workforce comes to rely increasingly on computer technology, including the Internet, higher levels of education
NFCA/Allsup Family Caregiver Survey Insight into the concerns, interests and activities of higher burden family caregivers October 2011 NFCA member/higher burden caregiver profile 2-3 Caregiver and care
Transportation Assistance Program Please keep this page for your records. Car Repair, Insurance, Vehicle Registration Requests: Anoka County Minnesota Residents Only VERIFICATION CHECKLIST: Please submit
Photo used with Permission: Muscular Dystrophy Association Caregivers of Younger Adults: A Focused Look at Those Caring for Someone Age 18 to 49 National Alliance for Caregiving in collaboration with AARP
The Health Insurance in Iowa: The consumer perspective Final report to the Iowa Dept. of Public Health Peter Damiano* Suzanne Bentler* Daniel Shane* University of Iowa Public Policy Center* and College
Health Policy Brief September 2011 Stressed and Strapped: Caregivers in California Geoffrey J. Hoffman and Carolyn A. Mendez-Luck S U M M A R Y: This policy brief profiles California's informal caregivers
Insight on the Issues OCTOBER 2015 Beneficiaries Out-of-Pocket Spending for Health Care Claire Noel-Miller, MPA, PhD AARP Public Policy Institute Half of all beneficiaries in the fee-for-service program
Research Highlights LONG-TERM CARE IN AMERICA: AMERICANS OUTLOOK AND PLANNING FOR FUTURE CARE INTRODUCTION In the next 25 years, the U.S. population is expected to include 82 million Americans over the
KEY STATS Number of Americans who volunteer mainly with arts groups: 1 million volunteer secondarily with arts groups: 0.6 million provide free artistic services to non-arts groups: 7.1 million Research
APRIL 2007 Issue Brief Women and Health Coverage: The Affordability Gap Elizabeth M. Patchias and Judy Waxman National Women s Law Center For more information about this study, please contact: Elizabeth
America Is Changing National Conference of State Legislatures August 15, 2013 Atlanta, GA Race and Immigration Family, Marriage and Gender Young and Old Share of U.S. Population Growth by Race and Ethnicity,
Photo used with permission: The Princess Royal Trust for Carers Caregivers of Children: A Focused Look at Those Caring for A Child with Special Needs Under the Age of 18 National Alliance for Caregiving
Health Status, Health Insurance, and Medical Services Utilization: 2010 Household Economic Studies Current Population Reports By Brett O Hara and Kyle Caswell Issued July 2013 P70-133RV INTRODUCTION The
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation Office of Disability, Aging and Long-Term Care Policy CONSIDERING CHILDREN WITH DISABILITIES AND THE STATE CHILDREN
Educational Attainment of Veterans: to 9 January 11 NCVAS National Center for Veterans Analysis and Statistics Data Source and Methods Data for this analysis come from years of the Current Population Survey
Health Insurance Coverage: Early Release of Estimates From the National Health Interview Survey, 2013 by Robin A. Cohen, Ph.D., and Michael E. Martinez, M.P.H., M.H.S.A. Division of Health Interview Statistics,
T H E F A C T S A B O U T Upstate New York adults with diagnosed type 1 and type 2 diabetes and estimated treatment costs Upstate New York Adults with diagnosed diabetes: 2003: 295,399 2008: 377,280 diagnosed
Transform 2010 DATA REPORT Baby Boomer Survey Themes for Action Redefining work and retirement Supporting caregivers of all ages Foster communities for a lifetime Improving health and long-term care Maximizing
Heart Disease A disabling yet preventable condition Number 3 January 2 NATIONAL ACADEMY ON AN AGING SOCIETY Almost 18 million people 7 percent of all Americans have heart disease. More than half of the
Near-Elderly Adults, Ages 55-64: Health Insurance Coverage, Cost, and Access Estimates From the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey, Center for Financing, Access, and Cost Trends, Agency for Healthcare Research
Depression A treatable disease PROPORTION OF PATIENTS WHO ARE DEPRESSED, BY CHRONIC CONDITION Diabetes 33% Parkinson s Disease % Recent Stroke % Hospitalized with Cancer 42% Recent Heart Attack 45% SOURCE:
INSIGHT on the Issues AARP Public Policy Institute Medicare Beneficiaries Out-of-Pocket for Health Care Claire Noel-Miller, PhD AARP Public Policy Institute Medicare beneficiaries spent a median of $3,138
Health Insurance Coverage: Early Release of Estimates From the National Health Interview Survey, 2012 by Robin A. Cohen, Ph.D., and Michael E. Martinez, M.P.H., M.H.S.A. Division of Health Interview Statistics,
IWPR Publication #D487 March 2010 Social Security: Vital to Retirement Security for 35 Million Women and Men Jeff Hayes, Heidi Hartmann, and Sunhwa Lee This Briefing Paper examines major sources of income
A Survey about Financial Literacy Among the U.S. Military Prepared For: The National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC) Prepared By: Harris Poll 1 NFCC Financial Literacy among U.S. Military Survey
EmployAble Pilot Study Participant Screening and Pre-Survey EmployAble is a model Virtual Employment Orientation, Training, Resource and Support Center. It is funded by the Kessler Foundation and has been
Employment-Based Health Insurance: 2010 Household Economic Studies Hubert Janicki Issued February 2013 P70-134 INTRODUCTION More than half of the U.S. population (55.1 percent) had employment-based health
Publication #2009-21 4301 Connecticut Avenue, NW, Suite 350, Washington, DC 20008 Phone 202-572-6000 Fax 202-362-8420 www.childtrends.org CHILDREN S ACCESS TO HEALTH INSURANCE AND HEALTH STATUS IN WASHINGTON
MEPS Chartbook No. 18 Medical Expenditure Panel Survey Full-Time Poor and Low Income Workers: Demographic Characteristics and Trends in Health Insurance Coverage, 1996 97 to 2005 06 Agency for Healthcare
February 9, 2011 Latinos and Digital Technology, 2010 FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Gretchen Livingston, Senior Researcher, 1615 L St, N.W., Suite 700 Washington, D.C. 20036 Tel(202) 419-3600 Fax (202)
Substance Use, Treatment Need and Receipt of Treatment in Minnesota: Results from Minnesota Student Survey, Minnesota Survey on Adult Substance Use, and Drug and Alcohol Abuse Normative Evaluation System
Problems Paying Medical Bills Among Persons Under Age 65: Early Release of Estimates From the National Health Interview Survey, June 5 by Robin A. Cohen, Ph.D., and Jeannine S. Schiller, M.P.H. Division
Consumer-Directed Health Care for Persons Under 65 Years of Age with Private Health Insurance: United States, 2007 Robin A. Cohen, Ph.D., and Michael E. Martinez, M.P.H. Key findings Data from the National
[REPORT] National Association of Social Workers MEMBERSHIP WORKFORCE STUDY WHO WANTS TO BE A SOCIAL WORKER? CAREER INFLUENCES AND TIMING NASW NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF SOCIAL WORKERS James J. Kelly, PhD,
SOCIETY OF ACTUARIES THE AMERICAN ACADEMY OF ACTUARIES RETIREMENT PLAN PREFERENCES SURVEY REPORT OF FINDINGS January 2004 Mathew Greenwald & Associates, Inc. TABLE OF CONTENTS INTRODUCTION... 1 SETTING
LICENSED SOCIAL WORKERS IN THE UNITED STATES, 2004 SUPPLEMENT Chapter 2 of 5 Who Are Licensed Social Workers? Prepared by Center for Health Workforce Studies School of Public Health, University at Albany
DEMOGRAPHICS & DATA The goal is to transform data into information, and information into insight. Carly Fiorina 11 MILWAUKEE CITYWIDE POLICY PLAN This chapter presents data and trends in the city s population
Experiment on Web based recruitment of Cell Phone Only respondents 2008 AAPOR Annual Conference, New Orleans By: Chintan Turakhia, Abt SRBI Inc. Mark A. Schulman, Abt SRBI Inc. Seth Brohinsky, Abt SRBI
Bedroom Poll Summary of Findings National Sleep Foundation 1522 K Street NW, Suite 500 Washington, DC 20005 Ph: (202) 347-3471 Fax: (202) 347-3472 www.sleepfoundation.org 2191 Defense Highway Suite 401
Demographic and Background Characteristics This subsection summarizes background characteristics of respondents. Knowledge Networks has previously compiled a great deal of information on the demographic
Adoption Advocate NICOLE FICERE CALLAHAN, EDITOR CHUCK JOHNSON, EDITOR ELISA ROSMAN, PH.D., EDITOR NO. 22 MARCH 2010 A PUBLICATION OF THE NATIONAL COUNCIL FOR ADOPTION ADOPTION USA: SUMMARY AND HIGHLIGHTS
October 26, 1997 Daily Travel by Persons with Low Income Elaine Murakami Federal Highway Administration Washington, DC Jennifer Young University of Tennessee Knoxville, TN Contents reflect the views of
Issue Brief May 2006 WORKING THEIR WAY THROUGH COLLEGE: STUDENT EMPLOYMENT AND ITS IMPACT ON THE COLLEGE EXPERIENCE During the 2003 04 academic year, 78 percent of undergraduates worked while they were
Health Economics Program Issue Brief 2006-05 August 2006 Medicare Supplemental Coverage and Prescription Drug Use, 2004 Medicare is a federal health insurance program that provides coverage for the elderly
Agency for Healthcare Medical Expenditure Panel Survey Research and Quality STATISTICAL BRIEF #87 July 2005 Attitudes toward Health Insurance among Adults Age 18 and Over Steve Machlin and Kelly Carper
Seniors Opinions About Medicare Prescription Drug Coverage 8 th Year Update Prepared for September 2013 1 Table of Contents Page Method 3 Executive Summary 7 Detailed Findings 9 Satisfaction with Medicare
CelPhoneEtiquete: AnAARPBuletinPol June2010 Cell Phone Etiquette An AARP Bulletin Poll Data Collected by Social Science Research Solutions (SSRS) Report Prepared by Teresa A. Keenan, Ph.D. Copyright 2010
Consumer Debt Among Older Adults in Rural Oklahoma Eileen St. Pierre, Ph.D., CFA, CFP Personal Finance Specialist Department of Human Development & Family Science College of Human Environmental Sciences
The Ariel Investments 2010 Black Investor Survey: Saving and Investing Among Higher Income African-American and Americans July 21, 2010 1 For further information, contact Merrillyn J. Kosier at Ariel Investments
The characteristics of small-business employees Small businesses employ slightly more than half of the private-sector workforce; in many ways, such as education, race, origin, age, and part-time status,
S2701 HEALTH INSURANCE COVERAGE STATUS 2009-2013 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates Supporting documentation on code lists, subject definitions, data accuracy, and statistical testing can be found
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Social Workers Summary Social workers help people in every stage of life cope with challenges, such as being diagnosed with depression. 2012 Median Pay Entry-Level Education
The 2015 Self-Assessment Guide For Long Term Care Insurance A JOINT PUBLICATION BY: SHIP State Health Insurance Assistance Program And Indiana Partnership Long Term Care Insurance Program Both of the Indiana
New York Assisted Living Facility Survey Summary Report Data Collected by Zogby International Report Prepared by Rachelle Cummins Copyright AARP, 2001 AARP 601 E Street NW Washington DC http://research.aarp.org
Rural Poverty At A Glance During the 199s, America experienced unprecedented economic growth and a large decline in the national poverty rate. Between 1993 and, real GDP (gross domestic product adjusted
CAHPS Survey for ACOs Participating in Medicare Initiatives 2014 Medicare Provider Satisfaction Survey Survey Instructions This survey asks about you and the health care you received in the last six months.