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One Degree of Separation:
Paralysis and Spinal Cord Injury in the United States

Prevalence

  • Approximately 1.9% of the U.S. population, or some 5,596,000 people, reported some form of paralysis based on the functional definition used in the survey
  • Approximately 0.4% of the U.S. population or some 1,275,000 people reported being paralyzed due to a spinal cord injury.

Causes of Paralysis and Spinal Cord Injury

  • The leading cause of paralysis was stroke (29%), followed by spinal cord injury (23%) and multiple sclerosis (17%).
  • Various types of accidents accounted for the great majority of spinal cord injuries.

Causes of Paralysis


Causes of Spinal Cord Injuries

Degree of Difficulty in Moving

  • 36% of those who reported being paralyzed said they had "a lot of difficulty" in moving; 29% said "some difficulty"; 17% said "a little difficulty"; and 16% said they were "completely unable to move."
  • 35% of those who reported being paralyzed due to a spinal cord injury said they had "a lot of difficulty" in moving; 29% percent said they had "some difficulty"; 20% said they had "a little difficulty"; and 13% were "completely unable" to move.

Next: Average age / Average length of time since paralysis and SCI

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Continue Christopher Reeve's LegacyPhoto by Timothy Greenfield-Sanders