The demographics of disability in the south

Charles E. Holzer, Hoang Thanh Nguyen, Harold F. Goldsmith, William W. Thompson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


A major issue for health reform is the equitable distribution of health services. Equity in the use of services depends in large part on the distribution of need for services, in addition to availability, accessibility, affordability, and acceptability of the services. The present paper focuses on one set of indicators of need, the disability data reported in the 1990 U.S. Census of Population and Housing for 14 southern states. The Census data on work limitation, inability to work, physical mobility, and ability to perform routine personal care show differentials for subpopulations defined by rural versus urban areas within levels of poverty, age, sex, education, and ethnic group. Highest rates of work disability are found for rural, female, elderly, less educated, African-American, and below poverty level populations. The implications of such findings for health care reform suggest that there should be greater access to services by populations of greater identified need. Historically, the opposite has been true, perhaps exacerbating the observed differentials in need.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)431-443
Number of pages13
JournalCommunity Mental Health Journal
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 1996

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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