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Taking Stock: Disability, Cumulative Disadvantage, and Wealth Disparities in Canada

Sun, August 12, 2:30 to 4:10pm, Philadelphia Marriott Downtown, Floor: Level 4, 404

Abstract

Although ample research shows that people with disabilities face large barriers in the labor market, have limited access to education, and are far more likely to live in poverty than the rest of the population, fewer studies have examined the relationship between disability and wealth. However, the significant disadvantages experienced by people with disabilities in these other areas likely spill over into areas of wealth. We use 1999-2012 Survey of Financial Security data to address disparities in homeownership and net worth across households with and without disabilities. We find that households where the respondent or their spouse reported a disability were less likely to own their homes by 9 percentage points and held 24 percent less in net worth. These results held even after accounting for key employment, education, and demographic factors. Our research demonstrates how disability, as a stock measure, constrains the ability of households to build assets over time, which in turn depresses total wealth, contributing to the accumulation of disadvantage.

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