Selected SLC Research


Policy Analysis | February 1, 2009

How large is the disabled student population in the South?

Students with disabilities are served under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). The number of students served under this program has grown faster than total school enrollment, resulting in greater percentages of students eligible to receive special services though schools. In the 1990-1991 school year, 11.6 percent of students in the South were served under IDEA. By the 2005-2006 school year, this figure had grown to 13.4 percent of all students, slightly below the national average. The number of students served through IDEA has grown by 44.6 percent in the South, ahead of the national average (due to greater increases in the general student population.

Number and percentage of children (aged 3-21 years) served under Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, Part B, by age group and state or jurisdiction: Selected years, 1990-91 through 2005-06

State 1990-91 As a percent of public school enrollment,
1990-1991
2005-06 As a percent of public school enrollment,
2005-2006
Percent change in number served,
1990-91 to 2005-06
Alabama 94,601 13.1 92,635 12.5 -2.1
Arkansas 47,187 10.8 67,314 14.2 42.7
Florida 234,509 12.6 398,916 14.9 70.1
Georgia 101,762 8.8 197,596 12.4 94.2
Kentucky 78,853 12.4 108,798 16.0 38.0
Louisiana 72,825 9.3 90,453 13.8 24.2
Maryland 88,017 12.3 110,959 12.9 26.1
Mississippi 60,872 12.1 68,099 13.8 11.9
Missouri 101,166 12.4 143,204 15.6 41.6
North Carolina 122,942 11.3 192,820 13.6 56.8
Oklahoma 65,457 11.3 96,601 15.2 47.6
South Carolina 77,367 12.4 110,219 15.7 42.5
Tennessee 104,853 12.7 120,122 12.6 14.6
Texas 344,529 10.2 507,405 11.2 47.3
Virginia 112,072 11.2 174,640 14.4 55.8
West Virginia 42,428 13.2 49,677 17.7 17.1
SLC 1,749,442 11.6 2,529,465 13.4 44.6
United States 4,710,089 11.4 6,712,605 13.7 42.5

Note: Percentage of students with disabilities is based on the total enrollment in public schools, prekindergarten through 12th grade. Prior to 1994, children and youth with disabilities were served under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), Part B, and Chapter 1 of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. In October 1994, funding for children and youth with disabilities was consolidated under IDEA, Part B. Data reported in this table for years prior to 1994 include children served under Chapter 1. Some data have been revised from previously published figures.

SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services, Annual Report to Congress on the Implementation of The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, selected years, 1992 through 2005, and Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) database, retrieved on September 25, 2006, from http://www.ideadata.org/PartBdata.asp. National Center for Education Statistics, Common Core of Data (CCD), "State Nonfiscal Survey of Public Elementary/Secondary Education," 2003-04 and 2004-05.