Quick Facts

Learning Disabilities

  • The Foundation for Children with Learning Disabilities estimates that there are 6 million adults with learning disabilities.
  • As many as 1 out of every 5 people in the U.S. has a learning disability. Almost 3 million children (ages 6 through 21) have some form of a learning disability and receive special education in school. (23rd Annual Report to Congress, U.S. Dep. of Education, 2001; National Information Center for Children and Youth with Disabilities – www.nichcy.org/pubs/factshe/fs7txt.htm)
  • Specific learning disabilities have increased 22% over the past 25 years. In the past decade, the number of students ages six to 21 years identified with specific learning disabilities has increased by 38%. (Source: National Institutes of Health, 2003- http://grants2.nih.gov/grants/guide/rfa-files/RFA-HD-02-031.html)
  • 35% of children with learning disabilities drop out of high school. This is twice the rate of students without LD. Of those who do graduate, less than 2% attend a four-year college, despite the fact that many are above average in intelligence. (National Longitudinal Transition Study)
  • 48% of those with learning disabilities are out of the workforce or unemployed. (Bridges to Practice)


  • The 2003 National Assessment of Adult Literacy (NAAL) estimates that 30 million adults in the U.S. –14% of the country’s adult population – have only the most minimal ability to read and write in English.
  • One in five adults – over 40 million Americans – has pressing literacy needs (NALS).
  • 43% of people with the lowest literacy skills live in poverty, 17% receive food stamps, and 70% have no job or a part-time job (National Institute for Literacy).
  • 20% of preschool aged children live in poverty and are likely to be part of families where the parent with the highest education has less than a high school education (National Institute of Family Literacy).