Main Conent


Work is an important part of social citizenship and responsibility in the United States. A person’s work confers status and power and contributes to the commonweal.

color poster disability history america

People with disabilities throughout American history have faced difficulties in getting work skills and finding jobs. Sometimes, people could only find work that exploited their physical differences. Such “freak shows” and circuses were popular from the 1840s to the 1960s. Despite discrimination, people with disabilities have worked in every field.

Current statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau and the National Association on Disability illustrate the continuing problem. 

$1,961.—Average monthly earnings of people with any kind of disability.

$2,724.—Average monthly earnings of people with no disability.

28.6% of people 25 to 64 years old with a severe disability live in poverty.

17.9%--Poverty rate for people with a nonsevere disability.

14.3%-- Poverty rate for people with no disability.