Home Is Where the Access Is

70% of adults with disabilities live in a single-family home while the number of available private homes that are ADA (American with Disabilities Act) accessible is estimated to be less than one percent, according to industry experts

Warren, NJ (July 24, 2015) – As part of an ongoing effort to increase transparency and awareness about individuals with disabilities, the Pathways for Greater Inclusion of People with Disabilities Study (Pathways Study) today released details about residential housing and people with disabilities. According to the data jointly published by Lightspeed All Global and disABILITYincites, 72% percent of people with mobility and dexterity challenges, including those who use a wheelchair or scooter, live in a private home and 1 out of 4 of these residents live in rental-only or condo/co-op buildings.

“Accessible housing is vital for the independence of people with disabilities and aging-in-place seniors,” stated David Shanker, Lightspeed’s Chief Executive Officer, The Americas. “Even on this 25th anniversary of the ADA (#ADA25), there are too many unaddressed livability needs, that if met would turn more houses into more accessible homes for 57 million people (1 out of every 5) with moderate to severe access needs.”

Accessible housing refers to the construction or modification of housing to enable independent living for aging-in-place seniors and persons with disabilities. To date it is achieved mainly through architectural design and integrating accessibility features such as modified furniture, shelves, cupboards, or some electronic devices in the home.

“Single-family homes are not covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Fair Housing Act, or any other federal law with the exception of the small percentage of publicly funded homes impacted by Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act,” says Tonya Deniz, Executive Director of disABILITYincites. “As a result, the great majority of new single-family homes replicate the barriers to access existing already in single-family homes.”

“In the construction of residential housing, access is typically defined within the limits of what a person sitting in a wheelchair is able to reach with arm movement only and with minimal shifting of the legs and torso,” stated Ken Jernberg, Residential Real Estate Developer. “Lighting and thermostat controls should not be above and power outlets should not be below the reach of a person in a wheelchair.”

Other Pathways Study Findings About Single-Family Home Dwellers with Disabilities:

  • 76% are homeowners and 16% are renters
    • 33% have difficulties seeing and 10% are blind
    • 9% have difficulties hearing or are deaf
    • 35% have mobility and dexterity difficulties
    • 13% use a wheelchair or scooter
    • 39% have cognitive disabilities
    • 5% are Little People
    • 12% have language and communication difficulties
  • Average Age = 53 and 57% are ages 35-64
  • 26% are married with adult children living away from home
  • 55% have a HHI between $30K-$100K
  • 10% have a HHI between $100K-$150K
  • 1/3 have earned a college degree (Bachelor, Master, Doctorate)
  • 44% have been the victim of a crime and 57% have been the victim of a burglary
  • 59% believe too often companies create new products and services without considering the needs of people with disabilities
  • 71% believe there is a need for companies to create really useful products and services that improve the overall quality of life for people with disabilities
  • 54% say they are more likely to shop more often and/or spend more money at stores that take into consideration the needs of people with disabilities

The Pathways Study also finds roughly 1 out of 4 (26%) of all people with disabilities live alone and 50% live with a spouse or partner.

“Livability needs can be met through home automation like Smart-Home technology,” says Erik Haroldson, Senior Vice President, TNS Global. “There is a huge opportunity for Smart-Home technology developers to create Smart-home capabilities based not just on the wants of consumers but also on the real and practical needs of consumers, namely the needs of people with disabilities.”

In August 2014, Kantar owned Lightspeed, in partnership with the nonprofit disABILITYincites, used a sample of 5,000 people with disabilities to conduct Pathways for Greater Inclusion of People with Disabilities. This groundbreaking study that represents the largest disability panel ever assembled and the most comprehensive market research study ever conducted about people with disabilities, examines, the segment’s attitudes, opinions, consumption and other behaviors, including residential housing usage. To commemorate the 25th anniversary of the passing of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), results from the Pathways for Greater Inclusion Study will be made available in mid-2015.

Lightspeed All Global provides healthcare professional and patient community solutions, utilizing a powerful healthcare panel. With a long heritage as an innovator in healthcare research, Lightspeed All Global offers high quality healthcare research services for top global research companies and agencies across Europe, North and South America and Asia-Pacific. Employing a combination of research methodologies – qualitative and quantitative, online and traditional, Lightspeed All Global’s reach expands to more than 450,000 general practitioners and specialists worldwide.

Headquartered in New York and London, Lightspeed All Global is a brand of the Lightspeed Group and part of Kantar, the data investment management arm of WPP, the world leader in marketing communication services. For more information, visit

DisABILITYincites is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) that promotes research about consumers with disabilities in an effort to level the playing field for 57 million people with disabilities. The company is the only one of its kind to provide research development, technical services and research advocacy specific to eradicating the exclusion of people with disabilities from the on-going, comprehensive market research investigations that are conducted daily in the US to ascertain the unmet needs of the general population and sub-segments. With viable solutions in the form of new products and services borne out of research that reveals their unique challenges, people with disabilities can live more independently and embrace their aspirations while more fully participating in all areas of life.

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