'If you’re an underdog, mentally disabled, physically disabled, if you don’t fit in, if you're not as pretty as the others, you can still be a hero.'
- Steve Guttenberg
49.7 million - Number of people age 5 and over with a disability, according to Census 2000; this is a ratio of nearly 1-in-5 U.S. residents, or 19 percent.
Among these —
• 5.2 million were between the ages of 5 and 20. This was 8 percent of people in this age group.
• 30.6 million were between the ages of 21 and 64. Fifty-seven percent of them were employed.
• 14.0 million were 65 and over. Those with disabilities comprised 42 percent of people in this age group.
According to the World Health Organization, 600 million people worldwide are affected by disabilities, 49 million in the United States, of whom only 5% attend church. This is one of the largest groups of people not effectively reached with the Gospel. Further disability-related statistics are staggering:
•2.3 million disabled people are institutionalized
•The poverty rate among families whose children have developmental disabilities is nearly twice the national average (Wall Street Journal Sept. 20, 2005; Needing Assistance, Parents of Disabled Resort to Extremes)
•80% of families with the birth of a disabled family member experience divorce
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