Arts organizations looking for new audiences may be missing out. If they’re not providing access (and marketing that access) to people with disabilities, they could be overlooking the largest minority population in the world.
- Around 54 million American adults identify themselves as disabled.
- Another 23 million are parents who have at least one child with a disability.
- In the 2000 U.S. Census, 593,301 Oregon residents identified themselves (or their child) as having a disability.
Experts agree that there are even more people with impairments or disability-related issues, who do not identify themselves as such – e.g. people who may have acquired a hearing loss, but don’t consider themselves hard-of-hearing. People with age-related impairments seldom identify themselves as having a disability. Add companions, family members, and friends of people with disabilities to the above numbers, and you can see the power of this substantial market.
This market is not only large, it’s growing. It’s common knowledge that the population is aging, and with that often comes disability. According to an Association of American Retired Persons (AARP) study, nearly 70% of people over age fifty will be dealing with some sort of disability in their lifetime. In addition, better medical technology saves lives that just a few years ago, might have been lost to accidents or acts of war. An estimated one in four soldiers returns home from Iraq and Afghanistan with a service-related injury.
The Market Power of People with Disabilties
The U.S. Census reports that people with disabilities and their network (family and friends) represent one trillion dollars in discretionary spending.
By themselves, adults with disabilities spend 200 billion dollars, twice that of the teen market, and 17 times that of the “tweens”.
Parents of children with special needs have the same income, assets and homeownership as the general population.
The “fifty-plus” market is the most affluent age segment. They spend more than one trillion dollars on goods and services.