Up to a quarter of Utahns struggle with disabilities, report says

May 20, 2024, 10:34 AM | Updated: 10:35 am

Jared Dangerfield, Wasatch Adaptive Sports program manager, skis with retired United States Marine ...

Right to left, Jared Dangerfield, Wasatch Adaptive Sports program manager, skis with retired United States Marine Corps Sergeant Chris Francis at Solitude Mountain Resort in Solitude on Wednesday, April 17, 2024. A Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute report found that between 12 and 25% of Utahns struggle with some form of disability. (Megan Nielsen/Deseret News)

(Megan Nielsen/Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY – The Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute is working on a new report looking at Utahns struggling with disabilities.

The institute’s findings paint an eye-opening picture, and it’s one director of industry research Laura Summers wants to spread.

“Overall, national surveys… estimate between 12% and 25% of adults in Utah do have a disability. That is a significant portion of our adult population,” said Summers. 

The Institute discovered that among Utah adults, 12.9% have a cognitive disability. 9.2% have a mobility disability.

Examining disability rates in relation to ethnicity showed that Native Americans and Alaskans made up the majority of people experiencing disability. African Americans and Pacific Islanders follow closely behind. 

Regardless of their ethnicity, disabled adults in Utah face unique challenges. They can include educational hurdles, housing costs, and health issues. 

33% of disabled Utahns reported experiencing poor-to-fair health. As of 2021, 13.5% of them said they do not have insurance. 

Nearly the same amount reported spending more than 30% of their income on housing.

Also, they are less likely to earn a bachelor’s degree compared to Utahns who do not experience disabilities. 

Summers said the challenging details weren’t included in previous reports. She’s hoping the final report will find its way to policymakers.

“This is part of a larger report where we provide more in-depth information,” she said, adding the Institute hopes to “provide that information so that people can see… what policies need to be implemented to address these issues.”

The institute continues to work on the larger report.

Related: Wasatch Adaptive Sports hosts disability-inclusive Subaru Athlete Challenge

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.


Box Elder rollover...

Emma Keddington

Police confirm fatal rollover in Box Elder, car was reportedly stolen

The car was found in a ditch off of I-84 in Box Elder County. The victim was ejected from the car in the rollover.

1 hour ago

Smoke is visible on UDOT traffic cameras at the Waste Transfer Station, at 2000 West 200 South, in ...

Simone Seikaly

Large fire at Lindon landfill, cause unknown

Multiple Orem fire agencies responded to a landfill fire in Lindon, Utah on Tuesday afternoon.

2 hours ago

The front of the Holladay Lions salt lake county recreation center...

Allessandra Harris Gurr

The hidden cost of recreation centers

A new report shows that several recreation centers in Utah operate at a deficit in the millions. Part of covering that gap comes via taxes.

2 hours ago

A group of dogs in Roy were intercepted by police after attacking multiple people on Monday....

Curt Gresseth

Three dogs bite two people, close in for attack on horse and cop in Roy

Three dogs that escaped their yard in Roy bit two pedestrians, surrounded to attack both a horse in a pasture and a police officer. The animals were all captured. The victims received medical care.

4 hours ago

2024 wildfire season...

Adam Small

Utah sees busy start to 2024 wildfire season, draws comparison to record-breaking year

The 2024 fire season is underway with 261 wildfires reported so far which is similar to the record breaking 2020 season.

5 hours ago

The Utah Women & Leadership Project, based out of Utah State University in Logan, Utah, reports tha...

Simone Seikaly

Report finds fewer Utah workers experiencing sexual harassment

For the first time in years, the number of sexual harassment reports filed with the EEOC places Utah in line with the national average.

5 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Underwater shot of the fisherman holding the fish...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Your Bear Lake fishing guide

Bear Lake offers year-round fishing opportunities. By preparing ahead of time, you might go home with a big catch!

A group of people cut a purple ribbon...


Comcast announces major fiber network expansion in Utah

Comcast's commitment to delivering extensive coverage signifies a monumental leap toward a digitally empowered future for Utahns.

a doctor putting her hand on the chest of her patient...

Intermountain Health

Intermountain nurse-midwives launch new gynecology access clinic

An access clinic launched by Intermountain nurse-midwives provides women with comprehensive gynecology care.

Young couple hugging while a realtor in a suit hands them keys in a new home...

Utah Association of Realtors

Buying a home this spring? Avoid these 5 costly pitfalls

By avoiding these pitfalls when buying a home this spring, you can ensure your investment will be long-lasting and secure.

a person dressed up as a nordic viking in a dragon boat resembling the bear lake monster...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

The Legend of the Bear Lake Monster

The Bear Lake monster has captivated people in the region for centuries, with tales that range from the believable to the bizarre.


Live Nation Concerts

All the artists coming to Utah First Credit Union Amphitheatre (formerly USANA Amp) this summer

Summer concerts are more than just entertainment; they’re a celebration of life, love, and connection.

Up to a quarter of Utahns struggle with disabilities, report says