A new study published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that 53 million people, or one out of every five adults, has a disability with Southern states reporting the highest percentages.
According to the study, the most common functional disability type was mobility limitation, which was reported by one in eight adults, followed by disability in thinking and/or memory, independent living, vision, and self-care.
The study is the first time that functional disability type was included in the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, an annual, state-based telephone survey that gathers information on demographics, health status, health behaviors and disabilities.
While Southern states had the highest percentages of people with disabilities, the report didn't determine why the differences occur. Researchers predict that the higher rates of chronic disease -- heart disease and diabetes – already prevalent in the South may also be associated with disability.
The report found that non-Hispanic black and Hispanic adults were more likely to have a disability than their white non-Hispanic counterparts. Those with lower education levels, lower incomes, and those who are unemployed were also more likely to report a disability.
More information about the report and an infographic highlighting the results can be found on the CDC website.