Measuring the Likelihood of Developing a Work Disability across the Life Course
Mark Rank, Washington University in St. Louis
Thomas Hirschl, Cornell University
BACKGROUND. To estimate the lifetime risk that a head of household in America will develop a work disability between the ages of 25 and 60. METHODS. Forty years of longitudinal data from the nationally representative Panel Study of Income Dynamics survey data set are analyzed. Approximately 67,000 person years of information are pooled together in order to create a series of life tables estimating the likelihood and amount of time heads of households will experience a work disability. RESULTS. Between the ages of 25 and 60, over half (54.6%) of all American heads of household will, at some point, report a work disability, and approximately one quarter (24.1%) will develop a severe work disability. Residing in poverty or near poverty, as well as little education, are highly associated with an increased probability of developing a work disability.