US Census Changes

US Flag with CENSUS and Outlines of People on blue background

The United States Census is looking to make changes that will undermine funding for individuals with disabilities. By changing how they collect disability data to a limited definition, less people will fit the definition, thus causing an underrepresentation of people with disabilities. By reducing how disabilities are counted in this way it would change the percentage of the population from 14% to 8%.  This means that about 20 million people with disabilities would not be counted. Individuals will lose access to services for mental health, Medicaid, housing, education, transportation, disaster preparedness and response, and many other resources. In recent history people with disabilities in the United States have died due to unpreparedness during natural disasters. Loss of some of these resources could be catastrophic. Additionally, this is a time in our history where record numbers of people are seeking mental health services and this vulnerable population was highly at risk during the recent pandemic. Furthermore, the U.S is seeing a rise in the number of elderly citizens aging into disability due to the baby boomer generation. Utilizing the new definition of disability to collect census data would result in a drop in the number of people counted as disabled and could easily be used to justify cuts to disability funding in the future. Shortchanging nearly 20 million Americans is not an acceptable course of action. We should disallow the census survey from changing the definition of disability to a limited definition, and we should request that the United States Census Bureau consult the disability community before making any further changes.