Research on Employment Supports for People with Disabilities: Summary of the Focus Group Findings. Participant Characteristics Overall and by Site

09/01/2001

In Exhibit 2, we summarize the characteristics of participants overall, and by site (Los Angeles, Newark, and Seattle/Tacoma). Participants across the three sites were roughly the same age, with mean ages of 40 in Seattle/Tacoma, 37 in Newark, and 36 in Los Angeles. Sex distributions were similar between Los Angeles and Newark participants, (63 percent male in Los Angeles and 62 percent male in Newark), while Seattle/Tacoma participants were much less likely to be male (39 percent male). The distribution of participants by sex is likely an artifact of recruiting methods employed at each site, and does not reflect the distribution of the underlying population. According to 1990 Census data, across all sites, males with disabilities are more likely to be employed than comparable females. For example, in 1990, among males with mobility limitations in Washington State, 26 percent were employed compared to 20 percent of females. The figures for New Jersey were 30 versus 23 percent (respectively), and 28 versus 19 percent (respectively) in California (U.S. Census Bureau, 2000).

Mean age at first work for participants was quite similar across the sites (age 21 for Seattle/Tacoma and Newark, and age 19 for Los Angeles). Average hours worked per week were comparable in both Seattle/Tacoma and Newark (37 and 35 hours, respectively) versus 25 hours per week in Los Angeles.

The distribution of impairments varied across sites. Mental illness predominated among participants in Los Angeles and Newark (39 and 37 percent, respectively), while the largest share of Seattle/Tacoma participants experienced communication impairments (25 percent). About one quarter of participants in both Newark and Seattle/Tacoma had cognitive impairments, while only 10 percent of Los Angeles participants had this impairment. Mobility impairments were roughly equal across sites (17 percent in Los Angeles, 22 percent in Newark and 20 percent in Seattle/Tacoma). About 8 percent of all participants in each site had other chronic illnesses. Just over 50 percent of participants in each group experienced disability onset before age 13. Participants in Newark (65 percent) and Los Angeles (58 percent) were more likely to be single than Seattle/Tacoma participants (44 percent). Newark and Los Angeles participants (29 percent and 20 percent, respectively) were more likely to be black or African American than were Seattle/Tacoma participants (5 percent). Los Angeles participants were more likely to be Hispanic (29 percent) than either Seattle/Tacoma or Newark participants (three and four percent, respectively). Los Angeles participants (29 percent) were less likely to have completed college than either Newark (41 percent) or Seattle/Tacoma participants (47 percent). Newark participants (1.3 average employment interruptions) and Los Angeles participants (1.6 interruptions) also experienced fewer average employment interruptions since first significant employment compared to Seattle/Tacoma participants (1.8 average interruptions).

Exhibit 2. Participant Characteristics, Overall and by Site
Characteristic Los Angeles Newark Seattle/Tacoma All Sites
Sample Size 104 72 108 284
  Frequency Percent Frequency Percent Frequency Percent Frequency Percent
SEX
Female 38 37.3 27 38.0 65 60.7 130 46.4
Male 64 62.7 44 62.0 42 39.3 150 53.6
Missing 2   1   1   4  
MARITAL STATUS
Single, Never Married 59 57.8 44 64.7 47 43.9 150 54.2
Married 29 28.4 13 19.1 40 37.4 82 29.6
Divorced 12 11.8 8 11.8 17 15.9 37 13.4
Separated 2 2.0 2 2.9 3 2.8 7 2.5
Widowed 0 0.0 1 1.5 0 0.0 1 0.4
Missing 2   4   1   7  
RACE
White 43 43.9 38 55.9 91 86.7 172 63.5
African-American 20 20.4 20 29.4 5 4.8 45 16.6
Asian 4 4.1 3 4.4 2 1.9 9 3.3
Other 28 28.6 6 8.8 5 4.8 39 14.4
Refused 3 3.1 1 1.5 2 1.9 6 2.2
Missing 6   4   3   13  
ETHNICITY
Hispanic 30 28.8 3 4.2 3 2.8 36 12.7
Non-Hispanic* 74 71.2 69 95.8 105 97.2 248 87.3
PRIMARY IMPAIRMENT
Cognitive 10 9.6 15 23.1 24 22.2 49 17.7
Communication 26 25.0 7 10.8 27 25.0 60 21.7
Mobility 18 17.3 14 21.5 22 20.4 54 19.5
Mental Illness 41 39.4 24 36.9 26 24.1 91 32.9
Other Chronic Illness 9 8.7 5 7.7 9 8.3 23 8.3
Missing 0   7   0   7  
EDUCATION
Less Than High School 8 7.9 9 12.7 13 12.6 30 10.9
High School Graduate 21 20.8 18 25.4 19 18.4 58 21.1
Some College 43 42.6 15 21.1 23 22.3 81 29.5
Four-Year College or More 29 28.7 29 40.8 48 46.6 106 38.5
Missing 3   1   5   9  
PERSONAL EARNINGS
Less Than $10,000 19 18.3 15 21.4 30 27.8 64 22.7
$10,001-$20,000 35 33.7 23 32.9 28 25.9 86 30.5
$20,001-$35,000 28 26.9 16 22.9 23 21.3 67 23.8
$35,001-$50,000 9 8.7 14 20.0 19 17.6 42 14.9
$50,001-$75,000 10 9.6 2 2.9 5 4.6 17 6.0
More Than $75,000 3 2.9 0 0.0 3 2.8 6 2.1
Missing 0   2   0   2  
HOUSEHOLD INCOME
Less Than $15,000 32 30.8 14 23.0 22 23.7 68 26.4
$15,001-$37,500 39 37.5 25 41.0 38 40.9 102 39.5
$37,501-$52,500 10 9.6 10 16.4 13 14.0 33 12.8
$52,501-$75,000 15 14.4 6 9.8 10 10.8 31 12.0
More Than $75,000 8 7.7 6 9.8 10 10.8 24 9.3
Missing 0   11   15   26  
PARENTS' EDUCATION
Less than High School 21 21.0 11 16.2 15 14.7 47 17.4
High School Graduate 24 24.0 19 27.9 21 20.6 64 23.7
Some College 35 35.0 16 23.5 31 30.4 82 30.4
Four-Year College or More 20 20.0 22 32.4 35 34.3 77 28.5
Missing 4   4   6   14  
CHILDREN IN HOUSEHOLD
0 73 70.2 50 78.1 81 76.4 204 74.5
1 15 14.4 7 10.9 12 11.3 34 12.4
2 10 9.6 5 7.8 11 10.4 26 9.5
3 2 1.9 2 3.1 1 0.9 5 1.8
4 4 3.8 0 0.0 1 0.9 5 1.8
Missing 0   8   2   10  
AGE AT ONSET OF DISABILITY
0-12 55 52.9 37 56.1 62 57.4 154 55.4
13-18 24 23.1 10 15.2 15 13.9 49 17.6
19 and older 25 24.0 19 28.8 31 28.7 75 27.0
Missing 0   6   0   6  
Characteristic Los Angeles Newark Seattle/Tacoma All Sites
Mean Missing Mean Missing Mean Missing Mean Missing
Average Age 35.6 0 37.4 1 39.5 0 37.6 1
EMPLOYMENT
Age at First Work 19.4 2 21.3 6 20.7 4 20.4 12
Hours Worked per Week 35.3 0 34.9 0 37.0 1 35.8 1
Months Worked per Year 11.4 0 9.6 3 11.6 2 11.0 5
Number of Job Interruptions 1.6 0 1.3 0 1.8 0 1.6 0
* Includes both "No" responses and non-responses to "Do you consider yourself to be of Hispanic origin?"