participation rates were increasing 10.8 percent among women without disabilities between 1983 and 1994, women with disabilities experienced an increase of almost twice that magnitude during this time (20.0 percent). Concurrently, men with disabilities experienced a larger decline in labor force participation rates than men without (2.0 and 0.1 percent, respectively).
Recall from Tables 2 and 3, that the decline in labor force participation rates among men was concentrated among those age 55 to 64, particularly nonwhite men in this age range, and that the increase in labor force participation rates among women was concentrated among women age 25 to 34, especially white women in this age range. Persons with disabilities experienced each of these trends in a heightened form (Yelin and Katz, 1994). Thus, labor force participation rates among men age 55 to 64 with disabilities declined to a greater degree than those among such men without disabilities, and nonwhite men of this age with disabilities experienced the largest relative decline in labor force participation of any single group defined by gender, age, race, and disability status. In contrast, young women with disabilities, particularly young white women, experienced the largest increase of any single group defined by these four characteristics.
Persons with disabilities are overrepresented among persons with a high school education or less and underrepresented among those with some college or more (data from authors’ analysis of 2000 CPS).5 However, at every level of education, they have lower labor force participation rates than persons without disabilities, even after statistical adjustment for differences in demographic characteristics (Table 11). The difference in labor force participation rates is greater at lower levels of education. For example, the labor force participation rate among persons with disabilities with less than a high school education is about one-fifth as great as that among such persons without disabilities (14.5 and 73.6 percent, respectively), but persons with disabilities who have some graduate school or more have a labor force participation rate more than half that of persons without disabilities (48.9 and 89.8 percent, respectively). Attaining higher levels of education improves the employment prospects of persons with disabilities to a greater degree than persons without dis-