Research on Disability

Disability Statistics
and Demographics

Rehabilitation and Research Training Center


About StatsRRTC

High quality disability statistics play an important role in efforts to address disparities between people with and without disabilities. However, there is a divide between the producers and end users of disability statistics. On one side of this divide, the production of relevant disability statistics is hindered by the challenge of capturing the complexity of disability via data collection instruments and by the exclusion of people with disabilities due to barriers within data collection environments. On the other side of this divide, the use of disability statistics is adversely affected by the fragmented production of disability statistics across several agencies (making statistics difficult to find, interpret, and compare) and by the limited resources/capacity of many end users to compile, analyze, and interpret statistics.

The mission of the Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on Disability Statistics and Demographics (StatsRRTC) is to narrow and actively bridge the divide between the producers and end users of disability statistics, thereby supporting better data collection, more accurate information, better decision-making, more effective programs, and better lives for people with disabilities.

In pursuit of this mission, the Center will conduct 10 research and 15 knowledge translation projects that build upon the ongoing work of the StatsRRTC. Several research projects focus on improving the quality of disability data and will narrow the divide by (a) conducting research on data methods and data collection strategies. Other research projects are designed to better inform programs and policies, which will be achieved by (b) analyzing existing sources of disability and demographic data, and (c) using these data to assess critical program and service needs. The Center’s dissemination projects will actively bridge the divide by providing access to timely and relevant disability statistics, primarily through (d) national and state-level Annual Reports on Disability that track key indicators, (e) an Annual Disability Statistics Compendium, and (f) a series of Intersectionality Infographics that highlights statistics relevant to the intersection of disability with other primary demographic characteristics. Technical assistance projects will narrow and actively bridge the divide by (g) producing customized statistical analyses and compilations for key stakeholders, (h) providing information and referral services, and (i) providing technical consultation on collection methods and data analysis. The Center’s training projects will also narrow the divide by increasing the capacity of end users to effectively utilize disability statistics, primarily through (j) the Annual Report and Compendium Rollout event, (k) the introduction of an online independent study curriculum to improve skills and knowledge of emerging disability researchers, and (l) the Center’s State-of-the-Science conference.


The Center is staffed by an experienced team of collaborators that is well-positioned to successfully carry out all of the Center’s activities. This team represents a variety of disciplines (including economics, VR counseling, special education, survey research, psychology, public policy, sociology, and epidemiology) with years of experience in research, service delivery, and policy advocacy. This team, which has worked together for years on prior StatsRRTCs and other NIDILRR-funded centers, resides in a variety of organizations, including:

The StatsRRTC is funded by a $4.375 million grant from the Department of Health and Human Services, Administration For Community Living, NIDILRR - Rehabilitation Research and Training Centers (RRTCs) Program under grant number 90RTGE0001 from 2018 to 2023.

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