By the Numbers: Paralysis and Spinal Cord Injury Facts

Millions of people in the United States are affected by paralysis or a have suffered a spinal cord injury that has limited their ability to move, according to a study conducted and released by the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation.

According to the study, approximately 1 in 50 people, or about 6 million in total, living in the United States are affected by some form of paralysis.

That’s as much as the populations of Los Angeles, Philadelphia and Washington D.C. combined.

What’s more is that these numbers are significantly higher than what has previously been reported.

Living with paralysis is something that many Americans know all too well. It is a life that requires people to seek out alternatives forms of transportation and everyday living. That means looking for wheelchairs, ramps/lifts and mobility vans for sale.

The study provides an interesting look into the breakdown of gender and age of people with physical disabilities, what caused their condition and the average cost of living with paralysis.

Causes of Paralysis

  • Stroke: 29{4484a610ba12ad46baec767347073917e486819a83b2d744ced0feda89144e79}
  • Spinal Cord Injuries: 17{4484a610ba12ad46baec767347073917e486819a83b2d744ced0feda89144e79}
  • Multiple Sclerosis: 19{4484a610ba12ad46baec767347073917e486819a83b2d744ced0feda89144e79}
  • Post-Polio Syndrome: 5{4484a610ba12ad46baec767347073917e486819a83b2d744ced0feda89144e79}
  • Cerebral Palsy: 7{4484a610ba12ad46baec767347073917e486819a83b2d744ced0feda89144e79}
  • Neurofibromatosis: 4{4484a610ba12ad46baec767347073917e486819a83b2d744ced0feda89144e79}
  • Traumatic Brain Injury: 4{4484a610ba12ad46baec767347073917e486819a83b2d744ced0feda89144e79}
  • Unspecified Birth Defect: 2{4484a610ba12ad46baec767347073917e486819a83b2d744ced0feda89144e79}
  • Other: 9{4484a610ba12ad46baec767347073917e486819a83b2d744ced0feda89144e79}

Causes of Spinal Cord Injuries

  • Accident While Working: 28{4484a610ba12ad46baec767347073917e486819a83b2d744ced0feda89144e79}
  • Motor Vehicle Accident: 24{4484a610ba12ad46baec767347073917e486819a83b2d744ced0feda89144e79}
  • Sporting/Recreation Accident: 16{4484a610ba12ad46baec767347073917e486819a83b2d744ced0feda89144e79}
  • Fall: 9{4484a610ba12ad46baec767347073917e486819a83b2d744ced0feda89144e79}
  • Victim of Violence: 4{4484a610ba12ad46baec767347073917e486819a83b2d744ced0feda89144e79}
  • Birth Defect: 3{4484a610ba12ad46baec767347073917e486819a83b2d744ced0feda89144e79}
  • Natural Disaster: 1{4484a610ba12ad46baec767347073917e486819a83b2d744ced0feda89144e79}
  • Unknown/No Response: 9{4484a610ba12ad46baec767347073917e486819a83b2d744ced0feda89144e79}
  • Other: 6{4484a610ba12ad46baec767347073917e486819a83b2d744ced0feda89144e79}

Costs of Living With Paralysis or a Spinal Cord Injury

Average yearly expenses for people with disabilities can range from $228,566 to $775,567 in the first year alone. Over the course of a person’s entire lifetime, those costs can increase from $681,843 to over $3 million for a 25 year-old person who lost partial or full movement capabilities.

Gender and Age

54{4484a610ba12ad46baec767347073917e486819a83b2d744ced0feda89144e79} of those with paralysis are male, while 46{4484a610ba12ad46baec767347073917e486819a83b2d744ced0feda89144e79} are female. When it comes to spinal cord injuries, 61{4484a610ba12ad46baec767347073917e486819a83b2d744ced0feda89144e79} are male and 39{4484a610ba12ad46baec767347073917e486819a83b2d744ced0feda89144e79} are female.

Males are nearly twice as likely as females to suffer from a spinal cord injury.

The average age of those who suffer from paralysis is 52, while the average age of people with spinal cord injuries is 48. The average length of time since paralysis occurred is 14 years, while the average length of time since a spinal cord injury is 15.6 years.

More Than Just a Number

While these statistics provide a great look into the breakdown of people with disabilities, we recognize that each individual’s life is as unique as the next. You are more than just a number in a survey!

If you have a particular story that you would like to share with the community, let us know in the comments below.

« Back to Blog