According to the U.S Census, there are 54 million Americans with disabilities - a full 20% of the total population - with approximately half, 27 million, classified as severely disabled. A recent independent poll by the Louis Harris Organization revealed that there is 68% unemployment among people with disabilities compared to 4% for the general workforce. The poll also reveals a 29% poverty rate for the population with disabilities, three times larger than the 10% reported for the population at large. The needs of people with disabilities in the State of Florida deserve special attention. According to a Louis Harris poll, Florida - the fourth most populous state - has the third largest population of people with disabilities in America.
The issue of unemployment becomes even more difficult for those with dual minority status. The U.S. Census reports that 86% of African Americans and 75% of Hispanics with severe disabilities are not working. The U.S. Department of Labor states that the combination of disability and race or different ethnic backgrounds complicates the situation. People with disabilities from culturally diverse backgrounds experience twice the job discrimination experienced by non-disabled people in the minority community and are also disproportionately represented among the unemployed.