King County (2011-2015)

People with disabilities may have their social participation be marginalized, experience difficulties in mobility, and face barriers in access to care — all of which contribute to poor health and lower quality of life. For this indicator, disability is defined as having activity limitations that require the use of adaptive equipment such as a cane, a wheelchair, a special bed or special telephone.

From 2011 to 2015, an average of 23% of King County adults were living with a disability.

  • Age:  Living with a disability was most common among older adults, with 40% of those age 65 and over and 29% of those age 45-64 having a disability. Disability was much less common in younger adults age 18-24 (13%) and 25-44 (15%).  

  • Sexual orientation: At 30%,King County residents identifying as lesbian, gay or bisexual were more likely to be living with a disability than the county overall.

  • Race and ethnicity: Hispanic/Latino (17%) and Asian (10%) adults were less likely to be living with a disability than the King County average. White adults (26%) were more likely to have a disability than the county average. Age differences between these communities were a cause of some of these differences. When rates were calculated with age taken into account, the risks of disability in Hispanic/Latinos and Whites were consistent with the county average.

  • Income: A steep income gradient showed that more than 4 in 10 people (43%) living in households making less than $15,000 per year and over 3 in 10 people (32%) living in households making between $15,000 and less than $25,000 lived with a disability. Fewer than 2 in 10 (16%) of those in the highest household income group, $75,000 or more, were living with a disability.

  • Region and city/neighborhood: Rates varied little across region, with South Region adults (26%) more likely to have a disability than those in East Region (21%). Redmond and its next-door neighbor, Sammamish, had lower-than-average rates of disability (both at 16%), while Vashon Island (35%), Burien (34%), and Federal Way – Central/Military Rd (32%) showed rates about twice as high.



Notes and Sources

Source: Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) (2011-2015)

Numerator: Those that answered “Yes” to the following questions: “Are you limited in any way in any activities because of physical, mental, or emotional problems?” and “Do you now have any health problem that requires you to use special equipment, such as a cane, a wheelchair, a special bed, or a special telephone?”

Denominator: All respondents who answered the questions.

The Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System collects information on the health and safety of Washington residents aged 18 and older. Every year, the Washington State Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention conduct the survey primarily through telephone interviews, including landline and cellphone numbers. To learn more about the survey, please go to: https://www.doh.wa.gov/DataandStatisticalReports/DataSystems/BehavioralRiskFactorSurveillanceSystemBRFSS.


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