Publication Date

April 2001


Using data from the March Current Population Survey (CPS), Burkhauser, Daly and Houtenville (2001) show that the employment rates of working-age people with disabilities declined over the 1990s business cycle and that this population did not proportionally share in gains of 1990s economic growth. In this report we use the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) to test the robustness of these controversial findings. We first compare the concepts of disability, employment, and household income in the CPS and NHIS. We then develop hypotheses regarding the differences we find when using these concepts to estimate disability prevalence rates, employment rates, and mean household size-adjusted income with the CPS and NHIS. Finally, we carry out these estimates for working-age men and women with disabilities over the year 1983 through 1996 using these two data sets.


Burkhauser, R.V., Houtenville, A.J., & Nargis, N., (April 2001), Economics of Disability Research Report #6: Comparing the Robustness of Economic Outcomes Measured in the CPS and NHIS Data, Rehabilitation Research and Training Center for Economic Research on Employment Policy for Persons with Disabilities, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY.

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