In 2005 there were almost 40 million black/African-American residents of the United States (13.4 percent of the total U.S. population, ranging from 0.4 percent of the population of Idaho, to 36 percent of the population of Mississippi, and 57 percent of the population of the District of Columbia), with more than one million black residents in 18 states. (All information in this report are for individuals who identify themselves as members of a single race.)
The 2000 Census reported that more than 7 million black residents five years and older (almost 24 percent of black persons, compared to 19 percent of the total population) had one or more disabilities. Black and Native American residents share the highest overall estimated disability rate. Almost 3 million black families (36 percent of black families, compared to 29 percent of all U.S. families) have a member with a disability. These numbers include 1.1 million black children less than 15 years of age with one or more disabilities (400,000 with a severe disability). Based upon data from the 2000 Census, among black children between 5 and 17 years, more than:
* 90,000 had severe hearing or vision impairment.
* 117,000 had conditions that limited their basic activities.
* 405,000 had difficulty learning, remembering or concentrating.
* 97,000 had difficulty dressing, bathing or getting around inside the house.
"In most states, African American children are identified at one and a half to four times the rate of white children in the disability categories of mental retardation and emotional disturbance."
--from The Civil Rights Project. Racial inequity in special education.
But what of the conditions in which these black youngsters with disabilities are being raised, and what is the impact as they reach adulthood?
The family: As with …