How would I get U.S. data on people with disabilities? I want the total number tracked (however defined), and also broken down by disability,e.g. blindness, deafness, etc., on a state by state basis, if possible.

  • What kind of data are you looking for and what specific ?
    Commented Jul 18, 2016 at 20:10
  • @PROBERT: How many blind people there are, how many deaf people, how many use sign language, etc. and on a state by state basis. We are building a company to cater to this market.
    – Tom Au
    Commented Jul 18, 2016 at 20:34
  • It would be very hard to know how many deaf people, blind people...the only way I know of is the US Census but their disabilities is too broad to know. census.gov .
    Commented Jul 18, 2016 at 20:39
  • 1
    In fact, I tried that to use it for making a map in New Mexico and it doesn't tell you how many deaf people lived in New Mexico. Their word for deaf is broad...and it makes a diffcult to know if they are deaf, hard of hearing, one ear deaf and the other ear is hearing...etc....
    Commented Jul 18, 2016 at 20:41
  • One way to go about this might be looking at regional sales of hearing aids etc.: hearingreview.com/2013/05/…
    – Swier
    Commented Jul 20, 2016 at 14:50

2 Answers 2


Quandl has a database called Social Security Administration, which has data on number of disabled workers, but it unfortunately doesn't show the disability eg. blindness or deafness and the data isn't broken down on a state-by-state basis.

Check it out here: https://www.quandl.com/data/SOCSEC/DISABWORK-Social-Security-Beneficiary-Data-Disabled-Worker

If you're interested in regional sales of hearing aids, though, or any other products for those with disabilities, you can search for the product name in the search bar at https://www.quandl.com and see what results show.

For "hearing aids", for example, check out the following databases:

https://www.quandl.com/data/FRED?keyword=hearing%20aid https://www.quandl.com/data/OECD?keyword=hearing%20aid

[Disclosure: I work for Quandl]

  • Is quandl a private or public sector entity?
    – Tom Au
    Commented Jul 20, 2016 at 20:15
  • Quandl is a private company.
    – user37317
    Commented Jul 20, 2016 at 20:42
  • Hi @TomAu, could you please send an email to [email protected] and elaborate a bit further what you had in mind? Many thanks.
    – user37317
    Commented Aug 4, 2016 at 19:55

The US government sources that publish disability data classify disabilities into broad groups - people that have difficulties with: hearing, vision, cognitive functions, ambulatory functions, self-care, and independent living. These groups will capture more than what you're looking for (vision difficulties includes blindness but also other vision impairments).

If this data helps, you can look at:

  1. The Census Bureau's American Community Survey data. Even though state based-data is available annually, I'd look at the 5 year estimates because the margins of error for the disability population groups can be quite high at the one year level. A lot of this data is cross-tabbed with other demographic and socio-economic variables. http://factfinder.census.gov

  2. The CDC's Disability and Health Data System. They provide state-level tables, maps, and profiles. Easy to navigate. http://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/disabilityandhealth/dhds.html

These are both statistical datasets, generated from large sample surveys. The Social Security Administration publishes some administrative data culled from their records about beneficiaries of social security and medicare that includes people with disabilities. The categories at the state level are probably less precise - I think they include data on blindness and then all people with disabilities.

  1. Take a look at the Annual Statistical Supplement (the Geographic Data in particular, as that's state-based): https://www.ssa.gov/policy/docs/statcomps/supplement/

The final possibility would be to look at individual non-profit organizations or foundations for people with a specific disability to see if they've gathered any data, like The National Federation of the Blind, the National Association of the Deaf, etc.

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