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Census Figures Show Disability Anomaly

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Americans born between 1928 and 1932 seem to be getting less benefit than members of other age groups from the forces that are improving U.S. disability rates.

Researchers at the U.S. Census Bureau have published data pointing to that anomaly in their latest statistical portrait of Americans with disabilities.

The latest report, based on survey data collected in 2002, shows 46.9% of U.S. residents who were in the 70-74 age group that year suffered from some disability, up from 46% in 1992.

The percentage of U.S. residents in the 70-74 age group who said they suffered from severe disabilities soared to 30.1% in 2002, from 25.5% in 1992.

During the same 10-year period, the prevalence of disability dropped for all other adults ages 25 and over, and the prevalence of disability for “Silent Generation” adults born between 1933 and 1947 fell especially rapidly.

For adults in the 55-64 age group, for example, the disability prevalence rate plummeted to 28.1% in 2002, from 36.8% in 1992.

Few U.S. residents born between 1928 and 1932 served in the military during World War II, but they may be showing the lingering effects of factors such as poor nutrition, polio epidemics, AIDS, and early improvements in medical technology that cut death rates for deadly diseases without doing much to improve morbidity rates, experts say.

Links to copies of the 2002 disability prevalence report and earlier reports are on the Web at Document Link


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