People with disabilities control $8 trillion in spending

That figure is enormous and is hard to understand until it is explained in different monetary units.

Sheri Byrne-Haber, CPACC


Photo by Alexander Schimmeck on Unsplash

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I use the figure “$8 trillion” in many of my accessibility training sessions as the value of the global disability purchasing market. Typically, I get one of two responses to this statement:

  1. You made that up, or;
  2. I can’t even fathom how much $8 trillion is.

No, I didn’t make that $8 trillion figure up.

The value of the global disability purchasing market came from a 2016 report called The Global Economics of Disability from a group called Return On Disability. This incredibly detailed 61-page report performed a statistical analysis based on publicly available data to determine market sizes. People with disabilities (by themselves) in the US alone control approximately $645 billion in disposable income. This amount is almost triple that controlled by the US Hispanic community. Add in non-disposable income, funds belonging to friends and family that people with disabilities can influence and globalize that, and you get $8 trillion total global purchasing power.

How much is $8 Trillion?

Eight trillion dollars is two trillion Happy Meals. Two trillion Happy Meals is 250 happy meals per person on this planet.

Eight trillion dollars is 1.6 trillion “Fancy Coffees.” That works out to approximately 200 venti caramel macchiatos per person on this planet.

Eight trillion dollars is more than 6.5 billion $1200 economic stimulus checks (slightly under 1 per person for every individual on the planet).

Eight trillion dollars is 145 million kilos of gold.



Sheri Byrne-Haber, CPACC

LinkedIn Top Voice for Social Impact 2022. UX Collective Author of the Year 2020. Disability Inclusion SME. Sr Staff Accessibility Architect @ VMware.