Do Neighborhood Characteristics Help Explain Variation in Individual Well-Being for People with Disabilities?

Julia A. Rivera Drew, Brown University

An estimated 50 million Americans have disabilities, 30 million between the ages of 18 and 64.The adoption of the International Classification of Function, Disability and Health in 2001 by the WHO symbolized a broad consensus that disability is the result of the interaction between individual health conditions and contextual factors. This study asks whether economic and social wellbeing among those who have already developed disabling conditions differs across space. To answer this question, this study uses regression modeling and exploratory spatial data analysis to explore the effects of neighborhoods on the employment, earned and unearned income, and psychosocial wellbeing of working-aged people with disabilities. Contrary to expectations, this study finds that traditionally important neighborhood characteristics are not good predictors of wellbeing in this population. Findings suggest that future work should address whether results are replicable with nationally representative data, consider alternative geographical scales of analysis, and consider other neighborhood characteristics.

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Presented in Poster Session 3