Race, Ethnicity and Disability
National Disability Institute envisions a society where all people with disabilities have the same opportunities to achieve employment, financial stability and independence as people without disabilities.
National Disability Institute (NDI) envisions a society where all people with disabilities have the same opportunities to achieve employment, financial stability and independence as people without disabilities. We acknowledge the disability community is diverse and the intentional inclusion of underrepresented groups is required, with Black, Indigenous and Latinx individuals in particular.
The disability community is diverse. NDI has been a leader in the intentional inclusion of underrepresented groups, with a particular focus on Black, Indigenous and Latinx individuals with disabilities.
NDI has been committed and will continue to be intentionally inclusive of race, ethnicity and disability in our research, programs, leadership, partnerships and policy development.
NDI’s proprietary research on race, ethnicity and disability, which began in 2016, has consistently demonstrated that Black, Indigenous and Latinx communities experience the greatest disparities for people with disabilities.
Persons with disabilities who are Black, Indigenous or Latinx have higher poverty rates (36%, 34%, and 28% respectively) than persons with disabilities who are White (23%).
Across all racial/ethnic groups, households with a disabled working-age householder have lower net worth, compared to households without disability ($14,180 versus $83,985). Households with householders who are Black and disabled have the lowest net worth ($1,282).
Lower percentages of persons with disabilities who are also Black (29%) and Latinx (30%) were able to save for unexpected expenses, compared to those who have disabilities and are White (44%).
Current employment projects supported by NDI, with an emphasis on racial and ethnic inclusion, include:
Registered apprenticeship as a key workforce development program, including efforts to create pipelines (such as pre-apprenticeship and other career pathways) that can increase the diversity and inclusion of apprentices.
The development and support of a self-employment community of practice for vocational rehabilitation counselors that includes expanding service options to their consumers to include racial diversity.
A unique partnership between state vocational rehabilitation (VR) agencies and federally-regulated banks through a Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) pilot to meet the employment service needs of youth and adults with disabilities in BIPOC communities.
A CRA pilot that will leverage efforts through bank investment in disability employment by developing ways for banks to work with selected communities, including their local workforce systems, to provide employment-related services to individuals with disabilities who reside in LMI communities primarily comprised of BIPOC individuals.
Current financial inclusion projects supported by NDI include:
Regional convenings that bring together key disability and other minority community partners to design and implement an inclusive community development project that is responsive to the economic challenges of BIPOC Americans with disabilities with a concentration in financial education/counseling, entrepreneurship and small business development and/or workforce development.
The implementation of three regional roundtables focused on racial and economic equity. Each roundtable brings together disability partners, social justice organizations, and financial institutions to identify concrete steps each community can take to strengthen the financial stability and financial resilience of individuals at the intersection of race or ethnicity, poverty and disability.
National Disability Institute celebrated more than five years of leadership on financial inclusion for people who live at the intersection of race/ethnicity and disability through a National Convening that took place on December 7, 2021. The event featured funders and partners that work on economic and racial equity. NDI staff shared our latest research, findings from our work and concrete steps that organizations can jointly take to address the barriers to financial stability and financial resilience that contribute to the wealth gap.
Visit the National Convening webpage for an archived recording of the event, including a transcript and PPT presentation.
The Financial Resilience Center provides go-to resources and tools to help those with disabilities and chronic health conditions navigate financially through the COVID-19 pandemic and other crisises. Now in its second year, the Financial Resilience Center will continue to expand outreach to vulnerable groups within the disability community, with an emphasis on engaging people with disabilities in the Black and Latinx communities.
A working group of ABLE NRC Ambassadors and ABLE account holders who live at the intersection of race/ethnicity and disability and who have joined NDI to inform and provide outreach strategies to increase awareness and buy-in of ABLE accounts within BIPOC communities.