Economic equity and people with disabilities: Development and characterization of a novel index

Bhavneet Walia, Katherine McDonald, Joy Hammel, Lex Frieden, Michael Morris, Barry Whaley, Vinh Nguyen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Here, we develop two new social indices: the ADA PARC Absolute Economic Opportunity Index and the ADA PARC Relative Economic Opportunity Index. These indices allow us novel examinations of economic equity between people with and without disabilities within a U.S. state and between people with disabilities in different states using aggregations of multiple component economic indicators. These represent the first efforts to offer U.S. indices of this focus, an important development given the distinct economic needs of people with disabilities and the value in accounting for distinct national policies. The indices rely on U.S. Census and other data on economic opportunity by population. These indices provide comprehensive insight into economic disparities between people with and without disabilities and among people with disabilities in the United States. We find that state/territory values for the two indices are moderately positively correlated, suggesting that relative and absolute economic opportunity for people with disabilities arise from both common and distinct processes. Policy implications for low economic opportunity states are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)445-461
Number of pages17
JournalAmerican Journal of Economics and Sociology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2024

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Economics and Econometrics


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