State and Local Determinants of Employment Outcomes Among Individuals With Disabilities

Publisher: Journal of Disability Policy Studies, vol. 29, issue 2
Sep 01, 2018
Authors
Purvi Sevak, John O'Neill, Andrew Houtenville, and Debra Brucker
In the United States, employment rates among individuals with disabilities are persistently low but vary substantially. In this study, we examined the relationship between employment outcomes and features of the state and county physical, economic, and policy environment among a national sample of individuals with disabilities. To do so, we merged a set of state- and county-level environmental variables with data from the 2009–2011 American Community Survey accessed in a U.S. Census Research Data Center. We estimated regression models of employment, work hours, and earnings as a function of disability, personal characteristics, and these environmental features. We found that economic conditions and physical environmental variables had stronger associations than policy variables with employment outcomes. Although the estimated importance of environmental variables was small relative to individual disability and personal characteristics, our results suggest that these variables may present barriers or facilitators to employment that can explain some geographic variation in employment outcomes across the United States.