Institute on Disability


In the United States, employment rates among individuals with disabilities are persistently low but vary substantially. In this study, we examine the relationship between employment outcomes and features of the state and county physical, economic, and policy environment among a national sample of individuals with disabilities. To do so, we merge a set of state- and countylevel environmental variables with data from the 2009–2011 American Community Survey accessed in a U.S. Census Research Data Center. We estimate regression models of employment, work hours, and earnings as a function of health conditions, personal characteristics, and these environmental features. We find that certain environmental variables are significantly associated with employment outcomes. Although the estimated importance of environmental variables is small relative to individual health and personal characteristics, our results suggest that these variables may present barriers or facilitators to employment that can explain some geographic variation in employment outcomes across the United States.


Institute on Disability

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US Census Bureau Center for Economic Studies

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