Document Type

Research Progress Report


University of Montana Rural Institute

Publication Date



Economics | Labor Economics | Social and Behavioral Sciences


In the last twelve years, interest has steadily grown in self-employment for people with disabilities. In part, this is due to research showing that people with disabilities report self-employment at a higher rate than the general population, and that 20-25 percent of participants in special “Choices” demonstration projects funded by the Rehabilitation Services Administration were interested in starting businesses. In light of persistently high unemployment rates among people with disabilities, it appears that many have chosen to pursue self-employment. RTC: Rural researchers exploring self-employment as a rural employment option frequently field questions about business owners with disabilities: How many people with disabilities are self-employed? Is it risky? What kinds of work do they do? How much money do they make? How did they get started and what was the initial investment? Are they satisfied with self-employment? Do they get benefits? How long have they had these businesses? How many hours do they typically work each week? To answer these and other questions, we conducted a national survey of business owners with disabilities.


employment and vocational rehabilitation, self-employment, rural, disability


© 2002 RTC:Rural.

Granting Agency

National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research


This research is supported by grant #H133B70017-01 from the National Institute on Disability & Rehabilitation Research, U.S. Department of Education.

Project Number