2010 Progress Report on the Economic Well-Being of Working-Age People with Disabilities

By:

 

Melissa J. Bjelland

Richard V. Burkhauser

Sarah von Schrader

Cornell University

Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on Employment Policy for Persons with Disabilities

 

Andrew J. Houtenville

University of New Hampshire

February, 2011

 

Introduction

This progress report on the prevalence rate, employment, poverty, and household income of working-age people with disabilities (ages 21-64) uses data from the 2010 and earlier Current Population Surveys –  Annual Social and Economic Supplement (CPS-ASEC, a.k.a. Annual Demographic Survey, Income Supplement, and March CPS).  The CPS is the only dataset that provides continuously-defined yearly information on the working-age population with disabilities since 1981.

 

Data Source

The CPS is a monthly survey of the non-institutionalized population of the United States.  Information is collected on labor force characteristics (e.g., employment, earnings, and hours of work).  In March of each year, the CPS basic monthly survey is supplemented with the CPS-ASEC.  This supplement focuses on sources of income, government program participation, previous employment, insurance, and a variety of demographic characteristics.  The CPS and the CPS-ASEC are used extensively by government agencies, researchers, policy makers, journalists, and the general public to evaluate government programs, economic well-being and behavior of individuals, families, and households.

 

The Census Bureau conducts the CPS on behalf of the Bureau of Labor Statistics.  The CPS surveys the resident population of the United States.  Citizens living abroad or people living in long-term care facilities are not surveyed.  The CPS began in the early 1940s, but the work limitation variable was not introduced until 1981.  In 1994, major revisions were made to the employment questions on the Basic Monthly Survey.  Changes made in the CPS-ASEC were less substantial, and mainly reflected the shift to computer-assisted interviews.  Approximately 150,000 individuals participate in the surveys annually, although this number has increased in recent years.  For more information on the CPS-ASEC, see Burkhauser and Houtenville (2006) at http://digitalcommons.ilr.cornell.edu/edicollect/1233/, or the BLS/Census Bureau website http://www.bls.census.gov/cps/cpsmain.htm.

 

Definition of Disability[i]

The CPS-ASEC asks the work limitation question: "[d]oes anyone in this household have a health problem or disability which prevents them from working or which limits the kind or amount of work they can do? [If so,] who is that?  Anyone else?"  Similar work limitation questions appear in the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) and the Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP).  The CPS-ASEC work limitation question has been used extensively in the economics literature to capture the working-age population with disabilities and to compare its employment and economic well-being with the working-age population without disabilities.  Yet its use, especially outside the economics literature, is controversial. Some researchers and policy advocates dismiss results based on the CPS as fundamentally flawed, arguing that the set of individuals with work limitations captured in these data represent neither the actual population with disabilities nor its employment trends. (See especially Hale, 2001.)   Burkhauser, Daly, Houtenville, and Nargis (2002) show that while the levels of employment found in the CPS data are significantly lower than those found in datasets with better measures of the working-age population with disabilities, the employment trends are not significantly different. For a fuller discussion of the relative strengths and weaknesses of CPS data for policy research related to the working-age population with disabilities, see Burkhauser and Houtenville (2006); Houtenville, Stapleton, Weathers and Burkhauser (2009); and Burkhauser, Houtenville, and Tennant (2011).

 

 

Prevalence Rate

 

 

·   In March 2010, the disability prevalence rate for the working-age population was 8.3 percent, similar to the rate in 2009.

 

·   After rising from a low of 7.3 percent in 1989 to a peak of about 8.4 percent in 1994, prevalence rates were relatively stable through 1997 before falling through 2001. Since then, rates have fluctuated between a range of 7.7 and 8.4 percent.

 

Bar Chart

Title: Disability Prevalence Rates for the Working Age Population

 

Bars compare the prevalence rates for 2009 and 2010, showing a slight  decrease, from 8.4 to 8.3 percent

 

The data are available in Table 1 below.

 

End Bar Chart

 

Graph:  Trend in Disability Prevalence for the Working Age Population, 1981-2010

 

The graph represents the trends of disability prevalence from 1981 to 2010, showing it beginning just below 8% in 1981, dipping lower around 1988, rising slightly above 8% from 1994 to 1998, and dipping again slightly before remaining at or above 8% until 2009

The values are presented fully in the Table 1 below.

End Graph

 

Table 1:  Prevalence Rate, Standard Error and Sample Size, by Disability Status and Year, 1981-2010

 

Prevalence

Standard

Sample

Year

Rate

Error

Size

1981

7.9

0.11

           98,196

1982

7.9

0.12

           88,593

1983

7.6

0.11

           89,277

1984

7.7

0.11

           89,048

1985

8.1

0.11

           89,656

1986

7.9

0.11

           87,819

1987

7.8

0.11

           86,783

1988

7.4

0.11

           87,005

1989

7.3

0.12

           80,683

1990

7.4

0.11

           88,505

1991

7.5

0.11

           88,658

1992

7.7

0.11

           87,562

1993

7.9

0.11

           86,835

1994

8.4

0.11

           83,984

1995

8.4

0.11

           83,606

1996

8.3

0.12

           72,573

1997

8.4

0.12

           73,606

1998

8.2

0.12

           73,807

1999

7.9

0.12

           74,400

2000

7.9

0.12

           75,515

2001

7.8

0.08

           73,029

2002

8.1

0.09

         119,812

2003

7.7

0.08

         119,994

2004

8.3

0.08

         118,462

2005

8.3

0.12

         116,889

2006

8.4

0.12

         116,219

2007

8.0

0.11

         115,477

2008

7.9

0.11

         115,617

2009

8.4

0.12

         116,497

2010

8.3

0.11

         117,769

Source:  1981-2010 Annual Social and Economic Supplement to the Current Population Survey.

 

Note: The population with disabilities is identified using the work limitation question:  "[d]oes anyone in this household have a health problem or disability which prevents them from working or which limits the kind or amount of work they can do? [If so,] who is that?  Anyone else?"  Sample size reflects those ages 21-64 in the reference (survey) year.       

 

Employment Rate

 

·   In March 2010, the employment rate of working-age people with disabilities was 16.2 percent, down from 16.8 percent in 2009, and well below the peak of 28.8 percent in 1989.

 

·   In March 2010, the employment rate of working- age people without disabilities was 75.5 percent, down from 76.5 percent in 2009 and below its peak of 81.7 percent in 2000.

 

·   In March 2010, working-age people with disabilities were only 21 percent as likely to be employed as a working-age person without disabilities.

 

·   In March 2009 and March 2010, the relative employment rates of working-age people with disabilities were similar (0.22 and 0.21 respectively), with both well below the 1989 peak of 0.37.

 

Bar Chart: Relative Employment Rates of the Working Age population

 

Two bars show the relative employment rates in 2009 and 2010.  It reveals that the relative rates were similar, 0.21 in both 2010 and .22 in 2009.

End bar chart.

 

Bar Chart: Employment Rates of the Working Age population

 

Two bars compare the employment rates of people with disabilities and without disabilities in 2009 and 2010.  They show a large difference in the employment rates  of those with and without disabilities, but only minor changes between the numbers for each year.  Each year the employment rate of people with disabilities was 16-17%, while the rate for people without disabilities was around 75-77%.  Numbers used to generate the chart are in the table that follows.

End Bar Chart

 

Graph: Trends in Employment Rates of the Working Age Population. March 1981-2010

 

Three lines track the employment rates of people with disabilities, people without disabilities, and the ratio between them, from 1980 to 2010. 

 

They show the employment rate of people without disabilities climbing slightly over that time, the employment rate of people without disabilities climbing slightly until 1989, dropping slighting from 1990-1994, and declining more steeply after that, except for a slight bump in 2000.

Numbers used to generate the graph appear in the table which follows.

End Graph.

 

 

Table 2:  Employment Rate, Standard Error and Sample Size, by Disability Status and Year, March 1981-2010

 

People with Disabilities

People without Disabilities

 

Employment

Standard

Sample

Employment

Standard

Sample

Year

Rate

Error

Size

Rate

Error

Size

1981

24.4

0.62

 7,708

73.9

0.19

 90,488

1982

23.8

0.65

 7,005

72.5

0.20

 81,588

1983

23.5

0.65

 6,835

71.3

0.20

 82,442

1984

24.8

0.66

 6,825

74.0

0.19

 82,223

1985

25.1

0.64

 6,990

75.3

0.19

 82,666

1986

25.3

0.64

 6,680

75.5

0.19

 81,139

1987

26.3

0.65

 6,526

76.5

0.18

 80,257

1988

27.9

0.68

 6,300

77.2

0.18

 80,705

1989

28.8

0.74

 5,858

78.2

0.19

 74,825

1990

28.4

0.70

 6,448

78.4

0.18

 82,057

1991

26.6

0.68

 6,463

77.1

0.18

 82,195

1992

26.5

0.66

 6,577

77.2

0.18

 80,985

1993

27.2

0.65

 6,684

77.4

0.18

 80,151

1994

23.9

0.60

 6,775

78.3

0.18

 77,209

1995

24.6

0.61

 6,755

79.6

0.17

 76,851

1996

24.4

0.67

 5,892

79.7

0.19

 66,681

1997

25.4

0.67

 6,082

80.7

0.18

 67,524

1998

23.3

0.65

 5,929

81.3

0.18

 67,878

1999

22.3

0.65

 5,772

81.4

0.18

 68,628

2000

24.1

0.66

 5,934

81.7

0.17

 69,581

2001

22.1

0.47

 5,691

81.6

0.13

 67,338

2002

20.8

0.44

 9,070

79.9

0.13

 110,742

2003

19.3

0.44

 8,971

79.1

0.13

 111,023

2004

19.2

0.42

 9,334

79.1

0.13

 109,128

2005

18.6

0.57

 9,194

79.5

0.18

 107,695

2006

18.9

0.57

 9,193

80.1

0.18

 107,026

2007

18.7

0.58

 8,649

80.3

0.17

 106,828

2008

17.7

0.57

 8,662

79.7

0.18

 106,955

2009

16.8

0.54

 9,106

76.5

0.18

 107,391

2010

16.2

0.53

 9,235

75.5

0.19

 108,534

Source:  1981-2010 Annual Social and Economic Supplement to the Current Population Survey.

 

Note: The population with disabilities is identified using the work limitation question:  "[d]oes anyone in this household have a health problem or disability which prevents them from working or which limits the kind or amount of work they can do? [If so,] who is that?  Anyone else?"  Sample size reflects those ages 21-64 in the reference (survey) year.      

 

Full-Time/Full-Year Employment

 

 

·   In 2009, the full-time/full-year employment rate of working-age people with disabilities was 7.1 percent, similar to the employment rate of 7.2 in 2008 and well below its peak of 13.3 percent in 1985.

 

·   In 2009, the full-time/full-year employment rate of working-age people without disabilities was 57.6 percent, down from 60.8 percent in 2008 and below its peak of 64.8 percent in 2000.

 

·   In 2009, working-age people with disabilities were 12 percent as likely to be employed full-time/full-year as a working-age person without disabilities.

 

·   The relative full-time/full-year employment rate of working-age people with disabilities was 0.12 in both 2008 and 2009.

 

Bar chart: Relative rate of full-time/full-year employment for the working age population with and without disabilities.

Two bars show the relative rate of employment for 2008 and 2009.  The rate was .12 in both 2008 and 2009.

End Bar chart.

 

Bar Chart: Full-Time/Full-Year Employment Rates of the Working Age Population

Two  bars show the full-time Full-year employment rates of people with and without disabilities in 2008 and 2009.  There is a large difference between the rates for people with and without disabilities.  The rate for people with disabilities changes from 7.2 to 7.1 percent while the rate for people without disabilities drops from 60.8 to 57.6 percent.

Numbers used to generate the charts are available in the table that follows.

End Bar chart

 

Graph: Trend in Full-time/Full-Year rates for the working age population, 1980-2009.

 

This graph shows the full-time/full-year employment rates for people with and without disabilities from 1980 to 2009, as well as the relative ratio of the two numbers.

 

Rates for people without disabilities rose slowly but steadily after 1982, while rates for people with disabilities stayed mostly constant with a very slight downward trend.  The ratio of the two rates trends down from nearly .25 to .13 between 1986 and 2009.

 

Numbers used to generate this graph are available in the table that follows.

End graph.

 

 

Table 3:  Full-Time/Full-Year Employment Rate, Standard Error and Sample Size, by Disability Status and Year, 1980-2009

 

People with Disabilities

People without Disabilities

 

FT/FY

Standard

Sample

FT/FY

Standard

Sample

Year

Rate

Error

Size

Rate

Error

Size

1980

12.0

0.47

 7,951

53.1

0.22

 88,544

1981

12.4

0.49

 7,270

52.8

0.23

 79,760

1982

11.9

0.49

 7,053

50.9

0.22

 80,779

1983

12.6

0.50

 7,079

52.5

0.22

 80,621

1984

12.8

0.49

 7,259

54.8

0.22

 81,224

1985

13.3

0.49

 6,901

55.3

0.22

 79,859

1986

13.0

0.49

 6,780

56.1

0.22

 79,202

1987

11.8

0.48

 6,518

57.2

0.21

 79,731

1988

12.1

0.53

 6,074

58.5

0.23

 74,016

1989

12.5

0.50

 6,673

58.3

0.22

 81,121

1990

12.4

0.50

 6,673

57.7

0.22

 81,172

1991

12.0

0.48

 6,748

57.1

0.22

 79,963

1992

12.1

0.47

 6,873

57.4

0.21

 79,191

1993

10.9

0.43

 6,999

58.1

0.21

 76,328

1994

11.4

0.44

 6,977

59.3

0.21

 76,048

1995

11.7

0.49

 6,049

60.6

0.23

 66,013

1996

11.5

0.48

 6,227

61.3

0.23

 66,731

1997

10.6

0.47

 6,056

62.3

0.22

 67,181

1998

11.0

0.48

 5,891

63.5

0.22

 67,723

1999

11.6

0.49

 6,091

64.0

0.22

 68,763

2000

10.9

0.35

 5,811

64.8

0.16

 66,581

2001

10.3

0.33

 9,281

63.3

0.16

 109,400

2002

9.5

0.32

 9,144

62.2

0.16

 109,676

2003

8.8

0.30

 9,524

61.9

0.16

 107,857

2004

8.9

0.41

 9,400

62.3

0.22

 106,483

2005

9.0

0.41

 9,413

62.9

0.21

 105,780

2006

8.2

0.40

 8,870

63.6

0.21

 105,685

2007

8.0

0.40

 8,866

63.4

0.21

 105,977

2008

7.2

0.37

 9,334

60.8

0.21

 106,443

2009

7.1

0.37

 9,449

57.6

0.22

 107,453

Source:  1981-2010 Annual Social and Economic Supplement to the Current Population Survey.

 

Note: The population with disabilities is identified using the work limitation question:  "[d]oes anyone in this household have a health problem or disability which prevents them from working or which limits the kind or amount of work they can do? [If so,] who is that?  Anyone else?"  Sample size reflects those ages 21-64 in the reference (not survey) year.      

Poverty Rate

 

 

·   In 2009, the poverty rate of working-age people with disabilities increased very slightly to 28.6 percent, well above its low of 24.8 percent in 1980.

 

·   In 2009, the poverty rate of working-age people without disabilities was 10.7 percent, up slightly from 9.4 percent in 2008 and well above its 7.4 percent low in 2000.

 

·   In 2009, working-age people with disabilities were 2.7 times more likely to be in poverty when compared to working-age people without disabilities.

 

·   Between 2008 and 2009, the relative poverty rate of working-age people with disabilities decreased from 3.0 to 2.7.  The relative rate is well below its high of 3.7 in 2000.

 

 

Bar Chart: Poverty Rates of the Working Age Population

Two bars show the poverty rates for people with and without disabilities in 2008 and 2009.  There is little difference between the two years, but a large difference between people with disabilities and people without disabilities - the rate is about 28 percent both years for people with disabiliies, but only about 9.4 percent in 2008 and 10.7 percent in 2009 for those without disabilities. 

 

Data used to generate these charts is available in the table that follows.

End Bar Chart

 

Bar chart: Relative poverty rates for the working age population with and without disabilities.

Two bars show the relative rate of employment for 2008 and 2009.  The rate decrease from 3.0 in 2008 to 2.7 in 2009.

End Bar chart.\

 

Graph: Poverty Rates of the Working Age Population, 1980-2009

 

This graph shows the poverty rates for those with and without disabilitis as well as the ratio of the two rates, between 1980 and 2009.

 

The poverty rate of people without disabilities was relatively constant from 1980-1990, trended upwards in 1991-1993, decreased again from 1998-2000, and rose slightly from 2002-2010.

 

The poverty rate of people with disabilites was farily constant, hovering around 10 percent, dipping to a low of 7.5 percent in 2000 before rising back to around 11 percent by 2009.

 

The relative rate jumped around a lot, but the general trend was upwardthrough 2000, with a peak at 2000 then decreasing generally through 2010.

 

Data used to generate this graph are available in the table that follows.

End graph.

 

 

Table 4:  Poverty Rate, Standard Error and Sample Size, by Disability Status and Year, 1980-2009

 

People with Disabilities

People without Disabilities

 

Poverty

Standard

Sample

Poverty

Standard

Sample

Year

Rate

Error

Size

Rate

Error

Size

1980

24.8

0.62

 7,951

8.6

0.12

 88,544

1981

26.3

0.66

 7,270

9.5

0.13

 79,760

1982

27.0

0.67

 7,053

10.6

0.14

 80,779

1983

26.8

0.66

 7,079

10.9

0.14

 80,621

1984

26.8

0.64

 7,259

10.1

0.13

 81,224

1985

26.8

0.64

 6,901

9.7

0.13

 79,859

1986

25.8

0.64

 6,780

9.3

0.13

 79,202

1987

26.2

0.65

 6,518

8.7

0.12

 79,731

1988

25.9

0.71

 6,074

8.6

0.13

 74,016

1989

26.2

0.67

 6,673

8.3

0.12

 81,121

1990

27.5

0.67

 6,673

8.8

0.12

 81,172

1991

27.0

0.66

 6,748

9.3

0.13

 79,963

1992

28.1

0.65

 6,873

9.6

0.13

 79,191

1993

30.1

0.64

 6,999

10.0

0.13

 76,328

1994

29.4

0.63

 6,977

9.5

0.13

 76,048

1995

27.3

0.68

 6,049

9.1

0.13

 66,013

1996

28.3

0.68

 6,227

9.0

0.13

 66,731

1997

27.9

0.69

 6,056

8.6

0.13

 67,181

1998

28.5

0.70

 5,891

8.3

0.13

 67,723

1999

26.4

0.67

 6,091

7.8

0.12

 68,763

2000

27.2

0.50

 5,811

7.4

0.09

 66,581

2001

26.8

0.48

 9,281

7.9

0.09

 109,400

2002

28.3

0.50

 9,144

8.4

0.09

 109,676

2003

28.0

0.47

 9,524

8.7

0.09

 107,857

2004

27.7

0.65

 9,400

9.0

0.13

 106,483

2005

28.0

0.65

 9,413

8.8

0.13

 105,780

2006

28.0

0.66

 8,870

8.5

0.12

 105,685

2007

28.6

0.67

 8,866

8.6

0.12

 105,977

2008

28.2

0.64

 9,334

9.4

0.13

 106,443

2009

28.6

0.64

 9,449

10.7

0.13

 107,453

Source:  1981-2010 Annual Social and Economic Supplement to the Current Population Survey.

 

Note: The population with disabilities is identified using the work limitation question:  "[d]oes anyone in this household have a health problem or disability which prevents them from working or which limits the kind or amount of work they can do? [If so,] who is that?  Anyone else?"  Sample size reflects those ages 21-64 in the reference (not survey) year.      

 


Median Household Income (Constant 2009 Dollars)

 

·   In 2009, the median household income of households that include any working-age people disabilities was $30,757, a decrease from $32,049 in 2008 and below its peak of $34,335 in 1999.

 

·   In 2009, the median household income of households without any working-age people with disabilities was $60,000, down slightly from $60,734 in 2008 and below its peak of $64,145 in 1999.

 

·   In 2009, the median household income of households with any working-age people with disabilities was 51 percent of the median household income of households with no working age people with disabilities.

 

·   The relative median household income of households with any working-age people with disabilities decreased to 0.51 in 2009, from its value of 0.53 in 2008, but still well below its peak of 0.62 in 1982.

 

 

Bar Chart: Relative Rate of Median Household Income, 2009 and 2008, in constant 2009 dollars.

Two bars show the median household income of people with disabilities relative to that of people without disabilities for 2008 and 2009.  The rates were similar - 0.53 in 2008 and 0.51 in 2009

End bar chart.

 

Bar Chart: Median Household Income of the Working Age Population

This chart shows the median household income for households with and without people with disabilities in 2008 and 2009, in constant 2009 dollars.  The numbers change very little between years - income for people without disabilities decreased from 60,734 to 60,000, while income for people with disabilities decreased from 32,049 to 30,757.

Data used to generate this chart are available  in the table that follows.

End Bar chart.

 

Graph: Median Household income , 1980-2009.

 

This graph shows the trends in household income for people with and without disabilities between 1980 and 2009, in constant 2009 dollars. 

 

The median income for households of people without disabilities trends gently upwards, generally, with a flattening and slight decrease between 1988 and 1993.  It has also declined slightly from its high in 2000, and decreasing in the most recent years.

 

The median income for people with disabilities has stayed nearly level since 1980, dropping in the most recent years.

 

The relative rate has trended general downwards, except for 1988-1991

 

data used to generate this graph are available in the table that follows.

End graph.

 

 

Table 5:  Median Household Income, Standard Error and Sample Size, by Disability Status and Year, 1980-2009 (Constant 2009 Dollars)

 

Households with People with Disabilities

Households without People with Disabilities

 

Median

 

 

Median

 

 

 

Household

Standard

Sample

Household

Standard

Sample

Year

Income

Error

Size

Income

Error

Size

1980

 31,800

 318

 7,354

 52,099

 137

 47,707

1981

 31,496

 318

 6,645

 51,292

 147

 42,973

1982

 31,382

 321

 6,515

 50,721

 146

 43,046

1983

 30,812

 319

 6,507

 50,643

 148

 43,095

1984

 31,425

 318

 6,655

 52,163

 152

 43,444

1985

 31,985

 334

 6,337

 53,272

 154

 42,854

1986

 31,656

 335

 6,222

 55,769

 158

 42,456

1987

 32,551

 347

 6,016

 56,192

 160

 43,041

1988

 31,371

 366

 5,615

 56,753

 174

 40,187

1989

 32,913

 369

 6,146

 57,784

 167

 43,682

1990

 32,306

 348

 6,171

 56,018

 163

 43,712

1991

 32,309

 333

 6,213

 55,626

 163

 42,943

1992

 30,569

 332

 6,358

 55,810

 165

 42,455

1993

 30,706

 299

 6,429

 55,613

 169

 40,799

1994

 31,267

 326

 6,431

 56,656

 170

 40,776

1995

 32,076

 357

 5,554

 57,603

 185

 35,645

1996

 31,319

 353

 5,697

 59,030

 188

 36,031

1997

 31,990

 373

 5,589

 59,981

 193

 36,462

1998

 32,372

 383

 5,422

 62,074

 198

 36,886

1999

 34,335

 390

 5,607

 64,145

 204

 37,010

2000

 32,950

 277

 5,327

 63,812

 146

 36,177

2001

 32,979

 269

 8,480

 63,038

 146

 59,182

2002

 31,692

 264

 8,372

 62,108

 142

 59,371

2003

 32,250

 263

 8,636

 61,925

 147

 58,095

2004

 31,450

 353

 8,564

 61,793

 201

 57,361

2005

 31,860

 344

 8,588

 61,586

 201

 56,983

2006

 31,950

 366

 8,158

 62,326

 204

 56,939

2007

 31,672

 368

 8,114

 62,098

 204

 57,360

2008

 32,049

 337

 8,517

 60,734

 198

 57,125

2009

 30,757

 336

 8,582

 60,000

 202

 57,098

Source:  1981-2010 Annual Social and Economic Supplement to the Current Population Survey.

Note: The population with disabilities is identified using the work limitation question:  "[d]oes anyone in this household have a health problem or disability which prevents them from working or which limits the kind or amount of work they can do? [If so,] who is that?  Anyone else?"  Sample size reflects the number of households with members ages 21-64 in the reference (not survey) year.       

 

References

 

Burkhauser, R.V., Daly, M.C., Houtenville, A.J. & Nargis, N. 2002. Self-Reported Work Limitation Data: What They Can and Cannot Tell Us. Demography, 39 (3):  541-55.

Burkhauser, R.V. & Houtenville, A. J. 2006, September. A Guide to Disability Statistics from the Current Population Survey - Annual Social and Economic Supplement (March CPS). Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on Disability Demographics and Statistics, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY. http://digitalcommons.ilr.cornell.edu/edicollect/1233/

Burkhauser, R.V., Houtenville, A. J. & Tennant, J.R. 2011. Capturing the Elusive Working-Age Population with Disabilities: Who the Six-Question Sequence in CPS-BMS and ACS Captures and Who It Misses. Working Paper, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY.

 

Hale, T. 2001. The Lack of a Disability Measure in Today’s Current Population Survey. Monthly Labor Review, June:  38–40.

Houtenville, A. J., Stapleton, D.C., Weathers II, R.R.,  & Burkhauser, R.V. (Eds.) 2009.  Counting Working-Age People with Disabilities: What Current Data Tell Us and Options for Improvement. Kalamazoo, MI:  W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research.

 

Glossary of Terms

 

Disability.1  A work limitation is determined in the March CPS by the following question: "[d]oes anyone in this household have a health problem or disability which prevents them from working or which limits the kind or amount of work they can do? [If so,] who is that? Anyone else?"

 

Employment Rate.  The employment rate is estimated in the month of March, which is when the CPS Annual Social and Economic Supplement and its work limitation question are asked. Also known as the employment-to-population ratio, the employment rate is the percentage of the population that is employed. Persons who are employed are persons 16 years and over in the civilian non-institutional population who, during the full week prior to their survey, (a) did any work at all (at least 1 hour) as paid employees, worked in their own business, profession, or on their own farm, or worked 15 hours or more as unpaid workers in an enterprise operated by a member of the family, and (b) all those who were not working but who had jobs or businesses from which they were temporarily absent because of vacation, illness, bad weather, childcare problems, maternity or paternity leave, labor-management dispute, job training, or other family or personal reasons, whether or not they were paid for the time off or were seeking other jobs. Each employed person is counted only once, even if he or she holds more than one job. Excluded are persons whose only activity consisted of work around their own house (painting, repairing, or own home housework) or volunteer work for religious, charitable, and other organizations. The total population (the numerator of the employment rate) consists of persons who are employed, persons who are unemployed, and persons not in the labor force. Note: the employment rate is not 100 minus the unemployment rate.

 

Full-Time/Full-Year Employment.  At least 50 weeks during the previous calendar year and at least 35 hours per week. Determined by condition that weeks worked is greater than or equal to 50 and usual hours per week is greater than or equal to 35 hours.

 

Household Income.  Household income is the sum of personal incomes of all household members. Income values are based on a large set of questions. The CPS Annual Social and Economic Supplement in March asks questions on the amount of income received in the preceding calendar year from each of the following sources:  earnings (from the labor market, farming and self-employment), unemployment compensation, workers' compensation, Social Security, Supplemental Security Income, public assistance, veterans' payments, survivor benefits, disability benefits, pension or retirement income, interest, dividends, rents, royalties, estates and trusts, educational assistance, alimony, child support, financial assistance from outside of the household, and other income. Personal income is the sum of income from these components.  No corrections were made to account for topcoding of household income, as topcoding has slight effect on median calculations.  However, income is adjusted for inflation. The dollar values in years prior to 2009 have been adjusted upwards to their 2009 equivalent. To do so, we use the Consumer Price Index Research Series (CPI-U-RS) from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (for more information, see http://www.bls.gov/cpi/cpirsdc.htm). A dollar value in a given year is divided by the CPI-U-RS of that year and then multiplied by the CPI-U-RS of 2009.  Median household income is calculated with the household as the unit of analysis, using household weights without adjusting for household size.  Adjusting household income by dividing by size presents an alternative measure of economic well-being by accounting for the fact that some households have more members than others.

 

Poverty Rate.  The poverty rate is the percentage of persons living in families in which the family (pre-tax) income is below the poverty line. The poverty line is determined by the federal government as specified in OMB Statistical Policy Directive 14. It approximates the dollar value necessary to purchase essential goods and services for people or families. It is important to note that the poverty line does not provide a complete description of what people and families need to live, rather it is an estimate based upon a set of assumptions. For example, the poverty measure assumes that the needs of the population with disabilities are the same as those without disabilities.  The poverty line depends on the size and composition of the family with regard to the number of children, adults and persons age 65 or over. For example, the poverty line (or threshold) in 2009 was $11,161 for a one-person family and $21,834 for a four-person family with two children (under age 18), and $21,832 for a four-person family with three children. The thresholds for 2009 may be found at http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/poverty/data/threshld/thresh09.html.  More detail about the calculation of the poverty line may be found at www.census.gov/population/www/cps/cpsdef.html, or www.aspe.hhs.gov/poverty/poverty.shtml.  

 

 



[i] In this report, we focus on the CPS-ASEC work limitation question in order to monitor changes over time. However, beginning in June 2008, the Basic Monthly CPS includes a new set of six questions to identify persons with various types of disabilities. The disability questions appear in the Basic Monthly CPS in the following format:

This month we want to learn about people who have physical, mental, or emotional conditions that cause serious difficulty with their daily activities. Please answer for household members who are 16 years old or over.

·         Is anyone deaf or does anyone have serious difficulty hearing?

·         Is anyone blind or does anyone have serious difficulty seeing even when wearing glasses?

·         Because of a physical, mental, or emotional condition, does anyone have serious difficulty concentrating, remembering, or making decisions?

·         Does anyone have serious difficulty walking or climbing stairs?

·         Does anyone have difficulty dressing or bathing?

·         Because of a physical, mental, or emotional condition, does anyone have difficulty doing errands alone such as visiting a doctor’s office or shopping?

These questions were originally developed by the U.S. Census Bureau and are also used on the American Community Survey.  They can be used in conjuction with the CPS-ASEC economic indicators for the first time in March 2009, when the CPS-ASEC and Basic Monthly surveys are jointly fielded. The new disability questions are asked during the incoming rotations of the CPS, and responses that are collected earlier are retained to establish disability status in later rotations (Burkhauser and Houtenville (2006) describes the CPS rotation scheme).  Burkhauser, Houtenville, and Tennant (2011) demonstrate that using the six question sequence yields different results for the socio-economic measures presented in this report.  The employment rate, the full-time/full-year employment rate, and median household income are higher for the disability population when identified using the six questions as compared to the population identified by the CPS-ASEC work limitation question alone. Likewise, the poverty rate for the population identified by the six item measure is lower than for the CPS-ASEC worked-limited population. For more information about the new CPS disability questions please visit http://www.bls.gov/cps/cpsdisability_faq.htm.

 

This report is being distributed by the Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on Employment Policy for Persons with Disabilities at Cornell University.

 

This center is funded to Cornell University by the U.S. Department of Education, National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (Grant No. H133B040013). The contents of this paper do not necessarily represent the policy of the Department of Education or any other federal agency, and you should not assume endorsement by the Federal Government (Edgar, 75.620 (b)). The views in this policy brief are not necessarily endorsed by Cornell University or the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR).

 

The Co-Principal Investigators are:

Susanne M. Bruyère— Director, Employment and Disability Institute, ILR School, Cornell University

Richard V. Burkhauser— Sarah Gibson Blanding Professor, Department of Policy Analysis and Management, College of Human Ecology, Cornell University

David C. Stapleton— Director, Center for Studying Disability Policy, Mathematica Policy Research

For more information about the Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on Employment Policy for Persons with Disabilities:

 

Susanne M. Bruyère

Employment and Disability Institute

Cornell University

201K Dolgen Hall

Ithaca, New York 14853-3901

 

Tel                   607.255.7727

Fax                  607.255.2763

TTY                  607.255.2891

Email               smb23@cornell.edu

Web                www.edi.cornell.edu