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AFBAmerican Foundation®
for the Blind

Expanding possibilities for people with vision loss

Adults with Vision Loss

Updated January 2013

Estimates of the number of people experiencing vision loss differ based on the definitions of vision loss used, as well as on the dates the data were collected, populations surveyed, and other features of data sources. Investigators are urged to pay attention to information provided about the data source and information included in the endnotes. The background information is necessary for the accurate interpretation and use of the frequencies.

Data Source

The data source is the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) 1 2 3 4 5 6. This survey included self-reported data by a sample of people from the civilian noninstitutionalized population who were 18 years of age and over. The individuals included in these frequencies responded that they have trouble seeing, even when wearing glasses or contact lenses. Respondents were also included in these frequencies who responded that they are blind or unable to see at all. Thus, the following frequencies of U.S. adults with vision loss pertain to individuals who reported that they have trouble seeing as well as to individuals who reported that they are blind or unable to see at all.

Note: AFB uses the term "vision loss", which is the equivalent of the term "vision trouble" on the 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, and 2010 NHIS.

Frequencies of Vision Loss Among Americans 18 Years of Age and Over Listed by Selected Characteristics

2006
2007
2008
2009
2010
2011


2006

Total 7 21.2 million
Gender
   Male 8.8 million
   Female 12.4 million
Age
   18-44 6.0 million
   45-64 9.0 million
   65-74 *2.6 million
   75 and older 3.6 million
Race
1 race8 20.9 million
   White 17.5 million
   Black or African American 2.5 million
   American Indian or Alaska Native *274,000
   Asian 580,000
   Hispanic or Latino 2.3 million
     Mexican or Mexican American      1.4 million
2 or more races9 319,000
   Black or African American, White *15,000
   American Indian or Alaska Native, White 192,000
Education10
   Less than a high school diploma 4.5 million
   High school diploma or GED 6.0 million
   Some college 5.4 million
   Bachelor's degree or higher 3.6 million
Family income
Less than $20,000 5.7 million
$20,000 or more 14.6 million
   $20,000-$34,999 3.6 million
   $35,000-$54,999 3.6 million
   $55,000-$74,999 1.9 million
   $75,000 or more 3.3 million
Poverty status11
   Poor 2.9 million
   Near poor 4.2 million
   Not poor 9.9 million
Health insurance coverage
Under 65 years
   Private 8.6 million
   Medicaid 2.0 million
   Other 965,000
   Uninsured 3.4 million
Over 65 years
   Private 3.5 million
   Medicaid and Medicare 604,000
   Medicare only 1.6 million
   Other 416,000
   Uninsured *31,000
Marital status
   Married 11.3 million
   Widowed 2.3 million
   Divorced or separated 3.4 million
   Never married 3.1 million
   Living with a partner 1.1 million
Place of residence12
   Large metropolitan statistical area (MSA) 9.2 million
   Small MSA 7.5 million
   Not in a MSA 4.5 million
Region
   Northeast 2.9 million
   Midwest 5.5 million
   South 8.5 million
   West 4.3 million
Gender and ethnicity
   Hispanic or Latino, male 1.0 million
   Hispanic or Latino, female 1.3 million
   White, single race, male 6.5 million
   White, single race, female 8.9 million
   Black or African American, single race, male 834,000
   Black or African American, single race, female 1.6 million

* Estimates preceded by an asterisk have a relative standard error of greater than 30% and less than or equal to 50% and should be used with caution as they do not meet the standards of reliability or precision.


2007

Total 7 22.4 million
Gender
   Male 9.1 million
   Female 13.3 million
Age
   18-44 7.6 million
   45-64 9.3 million
   65-74 2.5 million
   75 and older 3.0 million
Race
1 race8 21.9 million
   White 18.4 million
   Black or African American 2.6 million
   American Indian or Alaska Native 356,000
   Asian 569,000
   Hispanic or Latino 2.5 million
     Mexican or Mexican American      1.5 million
2 or more races9 481,000
   Black or African American, White **
   American Indian or Alaska Native, White 312,000
Education10
   Less than a high school diploma 4.4 million
   High school diploma or GED 6.3 million
   Some college 5.6 million
   Bachelor's degree or higher 4.0 million
Family income
Less than $35,000 10.3 million
$35,000 or more 10.5 million
   $35,000-$49,999 2.7 million
   $50,000-$74,999 3.1 million
   $75,000-$99,999 1.8million
   $100,000 or more 2.9 million
Poverty status11
   Poor 3.3 million
   Near poor 4.2 million
   Not poor 12.2 million
Health insurance coverage
Under 65 years
   Private 9.6 million
   Medicaid 2.2 million
   Other 1.1 million
   Uninsured 3.8 million
Over 65 years
   Private 3.0 million
   Medicaid and Medicare 559,000
   Medicare only 1.5 million
   Other 422,000
   Uninsured *36,000
Marital status
   Married 11.5 million
   Widowed 2.6 million
   Divorced or separated 3.3 million
   Never married 3.2 million
   Living with a partner 1.8 million
Place of residence12
   Large metropolitan statistical area (MSA) 9.8 million
   Small MSA 8.0 million
   Not in a MSA 4.7 million
Region
   Northeast 3.2 million
   Midwest 5.6 million
   South 8.3 million
   West 5.2 million
Gender and ethnicity
   Hispanic or Latino, male 1.1 million
   Hispanic or Latino, female 1.4 million
   White, single race, male 6.5 million
   White, single race, female 9.6 million
   Black or African American, single race, male 904,000
   Black or African American, single race, female 1.6 million

* Estimates preceded by an asterisk have a relative standard error of greater than 30% and less than or equal to 50% and should be used with caution as they do not meet the standards of reliability or precision.

* Estimates with a relative standard error of greater than 50% are replaced with a double asterisk and are not shown.


2008

Total 7 25.2 million
Gender
   Male 10.1 million
   Female 15.1 million
Age
   18-44 8.0 million
   45-64 10.7 million
   65-74 2.8 million
   75 and older 3.7 million
Race
1 race8 24.7 million
   White 20.5 million
   Black or African American 3.0 million
   American Indian or Alaska Native 265,000
   Asian 886,000
   Hispanic or Latino 2.8 million
     Mexican or Mexican American      1.6 million
2 or more races9 419,000
   Black or African American, White **
   American Indian or Alaska Native, White 297,000
Education10
   Less than a high school diploma 5.0 million
   High school diploma or GED 6.3 million
   Some college 6.5 million
   Bachelor's degree or higher 4.8 million
Family income
Less than $35,000 10.4 million
$35,000 or more 13.1 million
   $35,000-$49,999 4.2 million
   $50,000-$74,999 3.6 million
   $75,000-$99,999 2.1 million
   $100,000 or more 3.2 million
Poverty status11
   Poor 3.8 million
   Near poor 4.7 million
   Not poor 13.9 million
Health insurance coverage
Under 65 years
   Private 10.8 million
   Medicaid 2.7 million
   Other 1.3 million
   Uninsured 3.7 million
Over 65 years
   Private 3.5 million
   Medicaid and Medicare 806,000
   Medicare only 1.7 million
   Other 464,000
   Uninsured **
Marital status
   Married 12.6 million
   Widowed 2.7 million
   Divorced or separated 4.2 million
   Never married 4.0 million
   Living with a partner 1.6 million
Place of residence12
   Large metropolitan statistical area (MSA) 11.2 million
   Small MSA 8.8 million
   Not in a MSA 5.2 million
Region
   Northeast 3.8 million
   Midwest 5.9 million
   South 10.2 million
   West 5.2 million
Gender and ethnicity
   Hispanic or Latino, male 1.2 million
   Hispanic or Latino, female 1.6 million
   White, single race, male 7.4 million
   White, single race, female 10.7 million
   Black or African American, single race, male 1.1 million
   Black or African American, single race, female 1.8 million

* Estimates preceded by an asterisk have a relative standard error of greater than 30% and less than or equal to 50% and should be used with caution as they do not meet the standards of reliability or precision.

* Estimates with a relative standard error of greater than 50% are replaced with a double asterisk and are not shown.


2009

Total 7 19.4 million
Gender
   Male 8.0 million
   Female 11.4 million
Age
   18-44 5.9 million
   45-64 8.6 million
   65-74 2.1 million
   75 and older 2.8 million
Race
1 race8 19.0 million
   White 15.4 million
   Black or African American 2.8 million
   American Indian or Alaska Native 221,000
   Asian 552,000
   Hispanic or Latino 2.4 million
     Mexican or Mexican American      1.4 million
2 or more races9 437,000
   Black or African American, White **
   American Indian or Alaska Native, White 242,000
Education10
   Less than a high school diploma 4.0 million
   High school diploma or GED 5.3 million
   Some college 5.4 million
   Bachelor's degree or higher 3.2 million
Family income
Less than $35,000 8.5 million
$35,000 or more 9.9 million
   $35,000-$49,999 3.1 million
   $50,000-$74,999 2.9 million
   $75,000-$99,999 1.7 million
   $100,000 or more 2.2 million
Poverty status11
   Poor 3.5 million
   Near poor 4.0 million
   Not poor 10.1 million
Health insurance coverage
Under 65 years
   Private 7.1 million
   Medicaid 2.5 million
   Other 1.3 million
   Uninsured 3.5 million
Over 65 years
   Private 2.6 million
   Medicaid and Medicare 530,000
   Medicare only 1.4 million
   Other 396,000
   Uninsured **
Marital status
   Married 9.4 million
   Widowed 2.4 million
   Divorced or separated 2.9 million
   Never married 3.1 million
   Living with a partner 1.6 million
Place of residence12
   Large metropolitan statistical area (MSA) 9.0 million
   Small MSA 6.8 million
   Not in a MSA 3.7 million
Region
   Northeast 3.1 million
   Midwest 4.7 million
   South 7.3 million
   West 4.5 million
Gender and ethnicity
   Hispanic or Latino, male 1.1 million
   Hispanic or Latino, female 1.2 million
   White, single race, male 5.5 million
   White, single race, female 7.8 million
   Black or African American, single race, male 847,000
   Black or African American, single race, female 1.9 million

* Estimates preceded by an asterisk have a relative standard error of greater than 30% and less than or equal to 50% and should be used with caution as they do not meet the standards of reliability or precision.

* Estimates with a relative standard error of greater than 50% are replaced with a double asterisk and are not shown.


2010

Total 7 21.5 million
Gender
   Male 8.8 million
   Female 12.7 million
Age
   18-44 6.8 million
   45-64 9.3 million
   65-74 2.6 million
   75 and older 2.8 million
Race
1 race8 21.2 million
   White 17.1 million
   Black or African American 3.3 million
   American Indian or Alaska Native 242,000
   Asian 552,000
   Hispanic or Latino 2.6 million
     Mexican or Mexican American      1.5 million
2 or more races9 348,000
   Black or African American, White **
   American Indian or Alaska Native, White 183,000
Education10
   Less than a high school diploma 4.3 million
   High school diploma or GED 5.9 million
   Some college 5.8 million
   Bachelor's degree or higher 3.7 million
Family income
Less than $35,000 10.0 million
$35,000 or more 10.6 million
   $35,000-$49,999 3.5 million
   $50,000-$74,999 3.1 million
   $75,000-$99,999 1.5 million
   $100,000 or more 2.4 million
Poverty status11
   Poor 4.0 million
   Near poor 4.5 million
   Not poor 11.2 million
Health insurance coverage
Under 65 years
   Private 8.3 million
   Medicaid 2.6 million
   Other 1.2 million
   Uninsured 4.0 million
Over 65 years
   Private 2.7 million
   Medicaid and Medicare 703,000
   Medicare only 1.6 million
   Other 357,000
   Uninsured **
Marital status
   Married 10.3 million
   Widowed 2.4 million
   Divorced or separated 3.6 million
   Never married 3.7 million
   Living with a partner 1.5 million
Place of residence12
   Large metropolitan statistical area (MSA) 9.7 million
   Small MSA 7.3 million
   Not in a MSA 4.5 million
Region
   Northeast 3.3 million
   Midwest 5.0 million
   South 8.9 million
   West 4.3 million
Gender and ethnicity
   Hispanic or Latino, male 1.1 million
   Hispanic or Latino, female 1.4 million
   White, single race, male 6.0 million
   White, single race, female 8.8 million
   Black or African American, single race, male 1.3 million
   Black or African American, single race, female 1.9 million

* Estimates preceded by an asterisk have a relative standard error of greater than 30% and less than or equal to 50% and should be used with caution as they do not meet the standards of reliability or precision.

* Estimates with a relative standard error of greater than 50% are replaced with a double asterisk and are not shown.


2011

Total 7 21.2 million
Gender
   Male 8.7 million
   Female 12.5 million
Age
   18-44 6.1 million
   45-64 9.7 million
   65-74 2.7 million
   75 and older 2.7 million
Race
1 race8 20.8 million
   White 16.9 million
   Black or African American 3.0 million
   American Indian or Alaska Native 297,000
   Asian 695,000
   Hispanic or Latino 2.7 million
     Mexican or Mexican American      1.7 million
2 or more races9 394,000
   Black or African American, White *55,000
   American Indian or Alaska Native, White 215,000
Education10
   Less than a high school diploma 4.3 million
   High school diploma or GED 5.8 million
   Some college 5.6 million
   Bachelor's degree or higher 3.8 million
Family income
Less than $35,000 9.6 million
$35,000 or more 10.6 million
   $35,000-$49,999 3.1 million
   $50,000-$74,999 3.0 million
   $75,000-$99,999 1.5 million
   $100,000 or more 2.9 million
Poverty status11
   Poor 3.9 million
   Near poor 4.4 million
   Not poor 11.0 million
Health insurance coverage
Under 65 years
   Private 7.7 million
   Medicaid 2.8 million
   Other 1.3 million
   Uninsured 3.9 million
Over 65 years
   Private 2.4 million
   Medicaid and Medicare 624,000
   Medicare only 1.9 million
   Other 403,000
   Uninsured *44
Marital status
   Married 10.0 million
   Widowed 2.4 million
   Divorced or separated 3.6 million
   Never married 3.4 million
   Living with a partner 1.9 million
Place of residence12
   Large metropolitan statistical area (MSA) 10.3 million
   Small MSA 6.8 million
   Not in a MSA 4.2 million
Region
   Northeast 3.4 million
   Midwest 4.8 million
   South 8.1 million
   West 5.0 million
Gender and ethnicity
   Hispanic or Latino, male 1.0 million
   Hispanic or Latino, female 1.6 million
   White, single race, male 6.0 million
   White, single race, female 8.6 million
   Black or African American, single race, male 1.2 million
   Black or African American, single race, female 1.7 million

* Estimates preceded by an asterisk have a relative standard error of greater than 30% and less than or equal to 50% and should be used with caution as they do not meet the standards of reliability or precision.

* Estimates with a relative standard error of greater than 50% are replaced with a double asterisk and are not shown.



1 Data Source: Pleis J.R., & Lethbridge-Cejku M. (2007). Summary health statistics for U.S. adults: National Health Interview Survey, 2006. National Center for Health Statistics. Vital Health Stat 10(235).
2 Data Source: Pleis J.R., & Lucas JW. (2009). Summary health statistics for U.S. adults: National Health Interview Survey, 2007. National Center for Health Statistics. Vital Health Stat 10(240).
3 Data Source: Pleis J.R., & Lucas, J.W. (2009). Provisional Report: Summary health statistics for U.S. adults: National Health Interview Survey, 2008. National Center for Health Statistics. Vital Health Stat 10(242).
4 Data Source: Pleis, J.R., Ward, B.W., & Lucas, J.W. (2010). Summary health statistics for U.S. adults: National Health Interview Survey, 2009. National Center for Health Statistics. Vital Health Stat 10(249).
5 Data Source: Schiller, J.S., Lucas J.W., Ward, B.W. & Peregoy, J.A. (2012). Provisional Report: Summary health statistics for U.S. adults: National Health Interview Survey, 2010. National Center for Health Statistics. Vital Health Stat 10(252).
6 Data source: Schiller, J.S., & Peregoy, J.A. (2012). Provisional Report: Summary health statistics for U.S. adults: National Health Interview Survey, 2011. National Center for Health Statistics. Vital Health Stat 10(256).
7 Total includes other races not shown separately and persons with unknown education, family income, poverty status, health insurance, and marital status characteristics. Therefore, the frequency for the category "Total" will be greater than the sum of the frequencies for these selected characteristics shown separately.
8 The category "1 race" refers to person who indicated only a single race group. Persons who indicated a single race other than the groups shown were included in the total for "1 race," but not shown separately because of small sample sizes. Therefore, the frequencies for the category "1 race" will be greater than the sum of the frequencies for the specific groups shown separately.
9 The category "2 or more races" refers to all persons who indicated more than one race group. Only two combinations of multiple race groups are shown because of small sample sizes for other combinations. Therefore, the frequencies for the category "2 or more races" will be greater than the sum of the frequencies for the specific combinations shown separately.
10 Education is shown only for persons aged 25 years and over.
11 Poverty status is based on family income and family size using the U.S. Census Bureau's poverty threshold for the previous calendar year. "Poor" persons are defined as below the poverty threshold. "Near poor" persons have incomes of 100% to less than 200% of the poverty threshold. "Not poor" persons have incomes that are 200% of the poverty threshold or greater.
12 Large MSAs have a population size of 1 million or more; small MSAs have a population size of less than 1 million. "Not in MSA" consists of persons not living in a metropolitan statistical area.

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