The first comprehensive national census of persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) living in state and nonstate residential institutions and community settings was conducted in 1977. More recently, state and nonstate residential services statistics have been gathered and supplied by state developmental disabilities service agencies. The 2002 census of persons with I/DD receiving residential services marks the 25th anniversary of the first census. Major changes in residential services occurred during that quarter century. As shown in Figure 1, the number of residents with I/DD in state institutions decreased from 154,638 to 43,249 (−72%). The number of residents of institutions operated by nonstate entities decreased from 52,718 to 30,945 (−41%). The number of persons living in nonstate group housing for 7 to 15 residents increased from 19,074 to 47,052 (147%), although the number remained relatively unchanged after 1987. Residents of state-operated community settings of 15 or fewer grew at a rapid rate between 1977 and 2002 (977%), but remained in 2002 a small proportion (3%) of all residential service recipients. By far, the most dramatic change over the 25-year period was the increase in people living in nonstate settings of 6 or fewer residents. They increased 12-fold from 20,184 to 263,415 (1205%). Between 1977 and 2002, the total number of people receiving residential services (excluding services received in homes shared with family members) increased from 247,780 to 397,134 (60%) (see Table 1).
During the same period, the population of the United States increased by 33%. Table 2 provides summary statistics for each state on selected change during this period. It shows that between 1977 and 2002, every state reduced the number of people with I/DD living in state and nonstate institutions of 16 or more residents—some entirely, some barely at all. All states increased the number of persons receiving community residential services by 150%. Forty-one states increased their total number of residential services recipients by at least one third. Nationally, and in 29 states, more than two thirds of all residential service recipients lived in settings of 6 or fewer residents as compared with a national average of 8% in 1977.
(Source: Prouty, R.W., Lakin, K.C., & Smith, G. (Eds.). (2003). Residential services for persons with developmental disabilities: Status and trends through 2002. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota, Research and Training Center on Community Living/Institute on Community Integration.)