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Glossary

List of Terms


Sample Size (n = #)

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Sample Size (n = #)

Sample size, often denoted by (n=sample number) , specifies the number of persons whose information was used to calculate a statistic. A statistic based on more observations (a larger sample of persons, places or things) is better (more accurate) than a statistic based on fewer observations (a smaller sample). For example, when trying to estimate the average household income in the United States, the more households are included in the sample the better the resulting estimate of household income will be.


All Terms & Definitions


Actively Looking for Work (ACS 2008)

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A person is defined as ACTIVELY looking for work if he or she reports looking for work during the last four weeks.


Ambulatory Disability (ACS 2008)

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This disability type is based on the question (asked of persons ages 5 or older): Does this person have serious difficulty walking or climbing stairs?


American Community Survey (ACS 2008)

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The ACS is a continuous data collection effort conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau that is used to produce annual estimates at the national, state and local level on the characteristics of the United States population, replacing the decennial Census long form. The ACS collects information on an annual basis from approximately 3 million addresses in the United States, a 2.5 percent of the population living in group quarters and 36,000 addresses in Puerto Rico.

Click here for more information on the ACS


American Community Survey (ACS)

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ACS is an annually-conducted survey. The objective of ACS is giving communities the current information they need to plan investments and services. Information from the survey generates data that help determine how more than $400 billion in federal and state funds are distributed each year. The survey ask about age, sex, race, family and relationships, income and benefits, health insurance, education, veteran status, disabilities, etc.


American Indian Area, Alaska Native Area, Hawaiian Home Land (Census 2000)

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A Census Bureau term referring to these types of geographic areas: federal and state American Indian reservations, American Indian off-reservation trust land (individual or tribal), Oklahoma Tribal Statistical Area (OTSA) (in 1990 tribal jurisdictional statistical area), Tribal Designated Statistical Area (TDSA), State Designated American Indian Statistical Area (SDAISA), Alaska Native Regional Corporation, Alaska Native Village Statistical Area (ANVSA), and Hawaiian home lands.


Base Population

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The estimated number of individuals upon which the calculation is based. (For percentages, this is the denominator.)


Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS)

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The objective of BRFSS is to collect uniform, state specific data on preventive health practices and risk behaviors that are linked to chronic diseases, injuries, and preventable infectious diseases that affect the adult population.


Census (Census)

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The U.S. Census counts every resident in the United States. It is mandated by Article I, Section 2 of the Constitution and takes place every 10 years. The data collected by the decennial census determine the number of seats each state has in the U.S. House of Representatives and is also used to distribute billions in federal funds to local communities. Census shows the number of resident in the U.S by geographical area, race, age, sex, and disability, etc.


Census (Decennial)

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A census of population and housing, taken by the Census Bureau in years ending in 0 (zero). Article I of the Constitution requires that a census be taken every ten years for the purpose of reapportioning the U.S. House of Representatives. Census 2000, taken on April 1, 2000, counted over 281.4 million people in 115.9 million housing units across the United States. The short form questionnaire included seven questions for each household: name, sex, age, relationship, Hispanic origin, race, and whether the housing unit was owned or rented. About one of every 6 households completed the ?long form? questionnaire that included the first seven questions, plus additional questions about ancestry, income, mortgage, size of the housing unit as well as disability. Census 2000 results are used in a wide variety of ways in addition to the apportionment of representatives. Information on disability is used by a number of federal agencies to distribute funds and develop programs for people with disabilities and the elderly. The 2000 Census long form provides a snapshot of the characteristics of the nation for government officials, educators, business owners, and others.


Cognitive Disability (ACS 2008)

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This disability type is based on the question (asked of persons ages 5 or older): Because of a physical, mental, or emotional condition, does this person have serious difficulty concentrating, remembering, or making decisions?


Confidence Interval

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The confidence interval describes the level of uncertainty of an estimate of a population and specifies the range in which the true value is likely to fall. Because the estimate is based upon a sample rather than observations from the entire population, there is a degree of uncertainty associated with the description of the population.

The confidence interval calculated on DisabilityStatistics.org is based on a 95% level of significance, which means there is a 95 percent chance that the true value falls within these boundaries. The lower bound is calculated by subtracting the confidence interval from the population estimate and the upper bound is calculated by adding the confidence interval to the estimate.

An example from the 2002 US CPS work limitation prevalence rate:

Year Number Confidence Interval Sample Size
2002 13,474,000 ± 26,000 128,588,000

In the year 2002, an estimated 13,474,000 out of 174,869,000 (or about one in 13) civilian, non-institutionalized men and women aged 18-64 in the United States reported a work limitation. The confidence interval shows that with 95 percent certainty the actual population value falls within the range of 26,000 below and 26,000 above the estimate of 13,474,000.


Congressional district (CD)

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An area established by law for the election of representatives to the United States Congress. Each CD is to be as equal in population to all other CDs in the state as practicable, based on the decennial census counts. The number of CDs in each state may change after each decennial census, and the boundaries may be changed more than once during a decade.

In the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, a single CD is created consisting of the entire area. The representative is termed a delegate or resident commissioner, respectively and does not have voting rights in Congress.

The 106th Congress covers the years 1999-2000
The 109th Congress covers the years 2005-2006


Current Population Survey (CPS)

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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, hours of work). In March of each year, the CPS Basic Monthly Survey is fielded with the Annual Social and Economic Supplement. This supplement focuses on sources of income, government program participation, previous employment, insurance, and a variety of demographic characteristics. The CPS and the Annual Social and Economic Supplement 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 Bureau of the Census conducts the CPS and the Annual Social and Economic Supplement on behalf of the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The CPS surveys the resident population of the United States; citizens living abroad are not surveyed. Those in long-term care facilities are also excluded. The CPS began in the early 1940's, 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 Annual Social and Economic Supplement were less substantial, and mainly reflected the shift to computer-assisted interviews. Currently, approximately 200,000 individuals participate in the surveys annually.

For more information about the CPS, go to http://www.bls.census.gov/cps/cpsmain.htm.


Current Population Survey (CPS)

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CPS is a survey conducted by United States Census Bureau to collect estimates of employment, unemployment, earnings, hours of work, and other indicators. They are available by a variety of demographic characteristics including age, sex, race, marital status, and educational attainment. They are also available by occupation, industry, and class of worker. Supplemental questions to produce estimates on a variety of topics including school enrollment, income, previous work experience, health, employee benefits, and work schedules are also often added to the regular CPS questionnaire.


Disability (Census 2000)

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Disability (overall definition including any of the 6 disability types below) A long-lasting physical, mental, or emotional condition. This condition can make it difficult for a person to do activities such as walking, climbing stairs, dressing, bathing, learning, or remembering (asked of persons ages 5 years old and older). This condition can also impede a person from being able to go outside the home alone or to work at a job or business (asked of persons ages 15 years old and older).

Mental Disability definition based on a two-part question: "Because of a physical, mental,or emotional condition lasting 6 months or more, does this person have any difficulty in doing any of the following activities: (a) learning, remembering, or concentrating ..." (asked of persons ages 5 years old and older)

Physical Disability definition based on a two part question: "Does this person have any of the following long-lasting conditions (b) a condition that substantially limits one or more basic physical activities, such as walking, climbing stairs, reaching, lifting, or carrying". (asked of persons ages 5 years old and older)

Self-Care Disability definition based on a two-part question: "Because of a physical, mental, or emotional condition lasting 6 months or more, does this person have any difficulty in doing any of the following activities: (b) dressing, bathing, or getting around inside the home..." (asked of persons ages 5 years old and older)

Sensory Disability definition based on a two part question: "Does this person have any of the following long-lasting conditions (a) blindness, deafness, or a severe vision or hearing impairment..." (asked of persons ages 5 years old and older)

Go-Outside-the-Home Disability definition based on a two-part question: "Because of a physical, mental, or emotional condition lasting 6 months or more, does this person have any difficulty in doing any of the following activities: (c.) Going outside the home alone to shop or visit a doctor's office? (Note: only asked of persons 15 years old or older)

Employment Disability definition based on a two-part question: "Because of a physical, mental, or emotional condition lasting 6 months or more, does this person have any difficulty in doing any of the following activities: (d.) Working at a job or business? (Note: only asked of persons 15 years old or older)


Disability and Disability Types (ACS 2008)

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The ACS definition of disability is based on six questions. A person is coded as having a disability if he or she or a proxy respondent answers affirmatively for one or more of these six categories.

Hearing Disability (asked of all ages): Is this person deaf or does he/she have serious difficulty hearing?

Visual Disability (asked of all ages): Is this person blind or does he/she have serious difficulty seeing even when wearing glasses?

Cognitive Disability (asked of persons ages 5 or older): Because of a physical, mental, or emotional condition, does this person have serious difficulty concentrating, remembering, or making decisions?

Ambulatory Disability (asked of persons ages 5 or older): Does this person have serious difficulty walking or climbing stairs?

Self-care Disability (asked of persons ages 5 or older): Does this person have difficulty dressing or bathing?

Independent Living Disability (asked of persons ages 15 or older): Because of a physical, mental, or emotional condition, does this person have difficulty doing errands alone such as visiting a doctor’s office or shopping?


Earnings (ACS 2008)

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Earnings are defined as wages, salary, commissions, bonuses, or tips from all jobs including self-employment income (NET income after business expenses) from own nonfarm businesses or farm businesses, including proprietorships and partnerships.


Educational Attainment (ACS 2008)

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Our definition is based on the responses to the question: "What is the highest degree or level of school this person has completed? If currently enrolled, mark the previous grade or highest degree received." Our category "high school diploma/equivalent" includes those marking the ACS option "Regular high school diploma — GED or alternative credential." Our category "Some college/Associate's degree" includes those marking the ACS options: some college credit, but less than 1 year of college credit; one or more years of college credit but no degree, or "Associate's degree (for example: AA, AS)." Our category "a Bachelor's or more" includes those marking the ACS options: "Bachelor's degree (for example: BA, BS)"; "Master's degree (for example: MA, MS, MEng, MEd, MSW, MBA)"; "Professional degree (for example: MD, DDS, DVM, LLB, JD)"; or "Doctorate degree (for example: PhD, EdD)." Note in 2008 changes were made to some of the response categories and the layout of this question.


Employment (ACS 2008)

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A person is considered employed if he or she is either

  1. "at work": those who did any work at all during the reference week as a paid employee (worked in his or her own business or profession, worked on his or her own farm, or worked 15 or more hours as an unpaid worker on a family farm or business) or
  2. were "with a job but not at work," : had a job but temporarily did not work at that job during the reference week due to illness, bad weather, industrial dispute, vacation or other personal reasons. The reference week is defined as the week preceding the date the questionnaire was completed.


Employment (Census 2000)

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According to the Census Bureau, a civilian aged 16 to 64 is employed if he or she is either (1) "at work" (i.e. those who did any work at all during the reference week as paid employees, worked in their own business or profession, worked on their own farm, or worked 15 hours or more as unpaid workers on a family farm or in a family business), or (2) "with a job, but not at work" (i.e. those who did not work during the reference week, but had jobs or businesses from which they were temporarily absent). Excluded from the employed are people whose only activity consisted of work around their own house (painting, repairing, or own home housework) or unpaid volunteer work for religious, charitable, and similar organizations. Also excluded are people on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces. The reference week is the full calendar week preceding the date on which the respondent completed the questionnaire or was interviewed by enumerators. This wording is based on the wording of the Census 2000 long form.

Please go to our Key Issues page for more elaborate discussion on defining employment, labor force participation, and unemployment.


Employment Disability (Census 2000)

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(Census 2000) definition based on a four-part question: "Because of a physical, mental, or emotional condition lasting 6 months or more, does this person have any difficulty in doing any of the following activities: (d) Working at a job or business? (Note: only asked of persons 16 years old or older)

Note: Problems with the administration of Census 2000 mean that answers to this question were unreliable and are therefore not included on DisabilityStatistics.org results. Go to the Key Issues page for more discussion of these problems.


Employment Rate (CPS)

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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 can respond that they are employed are those 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 denominator 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. For more information and a broader discussion of the employment rate, go to the Key Issues section of this web site.


Ethnicity (ACS)

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(Hispanic or Latino origin) People who identify with the terms "Hispanic" or "Latino" are those who classify themselves in one of the specific Hispanic or Latino categories listed on the Census 2000 or ACS questionnaire - "Mexican," "Puerto Rican," or "Cuban" - as well as those who indicate that they are "other Spanish, Hispanic, or Latino." Origin can be viewed as the heritage, nationality group, lineage, or country of birth of the person or the person's parents or ancestors before their arrival in the United States. People who identify their origin as Spanish, Hispanic, or Latino may be of any race.


Full-Time/Full-Year Employment (ACS 2008)

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A person is considered employed full-time/full-year if he or she worked 35 hours or more per week (full-time) and 50 or more weeks per year (full-year). The reference period is defined as the 12 months preceding the date the questionnaire was completed. Note: this does not signify whether a person is eligible for fringe benefits. The question and response categories regarding weeks worked per year was changed in 2008.


Full-Time/Full-Year Employment Rate (CPS)

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A person is considered employed full-time/full-year if he or she reported to have worked 50 weeks or more and an average of 35 hours or more per week in the calendar year. This is the Census Bureau's definition of full-time/full-year work experience in the CPS. This definition does not indicate whether the person is eligible health insurance benefits.


Gender

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Based on the question: “What is this person’s sex?" Responses include male and female.


Go-Outside Home Disability (Census 2000)

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Go-Outside-the-Home Disability (Census 2000) definition based on a four-part question: "Because of a physical, mental, or emotional condition lasting 6 months or more, does this person have any difficulty in doing any of the following activities: (c) Going outside the home alone to shop or visit a doctor's office? (Note: only asked of persons 16 years old or older)

Note: Problems with the administration of Census 2000 mean that answers to this question were unreliable and are therefore not included on DisabilityStatistics.org results. Go to the Key Issues page for more discussion of these problems.


Group Quarters (GQ) (ACS)

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A GQ is a place where people live or stay that is normally owned or managed by an entity or organization providing housing and/or services for the residents. These services may include custodial or medical care as well as other types of assistance, and residency is commonly restricted to those receiving these services. People living in group quarters are usually not related to each other. Group quarters include such places as college residence halls, residential treatment centers, skilled nursing facilities, group homes, military barracks, correctional facilities, and workers’ dormitories. See the definitions of institutional GQs and non-institutional GQ's for more information. In addition, a description of the types of group quarters included in the 2007 ACS is located on the U.S. Census Bureau's web site at http://www.census.gov/acs/www/Downloads/2007_ACS_GQ_Definitions.pdf.


Group Quarters Population (Census 2000)

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Those people residing in group quarters as of the date on which a particular survey was conducted make up the "group quarters population." The Census Bureau recognizes two general categories of people in group quarters: (1) institutionalized population and (2) non-institutionalized population. The institutionalized population includes people under formally authorized supervised care or custody in institutions at the time of enumeration. Such people are classified as "patients or inmates" of an institution regardless of the availability of nursing or medical care, the length of stay, or the number of people in the institution. Generally, the institutionalized population is restricted to the institutional buildings and grounds (or must have passes or escorts to leave) and thus have limited interaction with the surrounding community. Also, they are generally under the care of trained staff who have responsibility for their safekeeping and supervision. The noninstitutionalized population includes all people who live in group quarters other than institutions, such as dormitories, halfway houses, and communes.


Health Insurance Coverage (ACS 2008)

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Is based on the following question: Is this person CURRENTLY covered by any of the following types of health insurance or health coverage plans? Mark "Yes" or "No" for EACH type of coverage in items a – h.

  1. Insurance through a current or former employer or union (of this person or another family member)
  2. Insurance purchased directly from an insurance company (by this person or another family member)
  3. Medicare, for people 65 and older, or people with certain disabilities
  4. Medicaid, Medical Assistance, or any kind of government-assistance plan for those with low incomes or a disability
  5. VA (including those who have ever used or enrolled for VA health care)
  6. TRICARE or other military health care
  7. Indian Health Service
  8. Any other type of health insurance or health coverage plan – Specify (Note: “Other type” were recoded into one of the categories a-g by the Census Bureau)


Hearing Disability (ACS 2008)

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This disability type is based on the question (asked of all ages): Is this person deaf or does he/she have serious difficulty hearing?


Hispanic or Latino Origin (ACS)

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People of Hispanic or Latino origin are those who classify themselves in a specific Hispanic or Latino category in response to the question, “Is this person Spanish/Hispanic/Latino?” Specifically, those of Hispanic or Latino origin are those who are Cuban; Mexican, Mexican American, Chicano; Puerto Rican; or other Spanish/Hispanic/Latino. Origin may be the heritage, nationality group, lineage, or country of birth of the person or the person’s parents or ancestors before their arrival in the United States. People who identify their origin as Spanish, Hispanic, or Latino may be of any race.


Household Income (ACS)

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Household Income is defined as the total income of a household including: wages, salary, commissions, bonuses, or tips from all jobs; self-employment income (NET income after business expenses) from own non-farm or farm businesses, including proprietorships and partnerships; interest, dividends, net rental income, royalty income, or income from real estates and trusts; Social Security or Railroad Retirement; Supplemental Security Income; any public assistance or welfare payments from the state or local welfare office; retirement, survivor or disability pensions; and any other regularly received income (e.g., Veterans’ payments, unemployment compensation, child support or alimony). Median household income is calculated with the household as the unit of analysis, using household weights without adjusting for household size.


Household Income (ACS 2008)

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Household Income is defined as the total income of a household including: wages, salary, commissions, bonuses, or tips from all jobs; self-employment income (NET income after business expenses) from own non-farm or farm businesses, including proprietorships and partnerships; interest, dividends, net rental income, royalty income, or income from real estates and trusts; Social Security or Railroad Retirement; Supplemental Security Income; any public assistance or welfare payments from the state or local welfare office; retirement, survivor or disability pensions; and any other regularly received income (e.g., Veterans' payments, unemployment compensation, child support or alimony). Median household income is calculated with the household as the unit of analysis, using household weights without adjusting for household size.


Household Income (CPS)

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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 2007 have been adjusted upwards to their 2007 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 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 2007.


Independent Living Disability (ACS 2008)

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This disability type is based on the question (asked of persons ages 15 or older): Because of a physical, mental, or emotional condition, does this person have difficulty doing errands alone such as visiting a doctor's office or shopping?


Insitutionalized Population

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The "institutionalized population" consists of people under formally authorized, supervised care or custody in institutions at the time of enumeration. Generally, restricted to the institution, under the care or supervision of trained staff, and classified as "patients" or "inmates."


Institutional Group Quarters (GQs) (ACS)

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Includes facilities for people under formally authorized, supervised care or custody at the time of enumeration. Generally, restricted to the institution, under the care or supervision of trained staff, and classified as “patients” or “inmates.” Includes: correctional, nursing, and in-patient hospice facilities, psychiatric hospitals, juvenile group homes and residential treatment centers.


Labor Market Activity Rate (CPS)

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The labor market activity rate (not to be confused with the labor force participation rate) is the percentage of the population that reports they are employed for at least 52 hours in the previous calendar year. The labor force activity rate is a measure of minimum activity in the work force.

Note: This measure might overstate the labor market activity of persons with a disability. It is possible that some people experienced the onset of a disability in the middle of the year and did not work after that time.


Long Form (Census 2000)

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This Decennial Census questionnaire, contains all of the questions from the short form, and adds more detailed questions about the social, economic, and housing characteristics of each individual and household. The Long Form was sent to approximately one in six households for the 1980, 1990, and 2000 censuses. Information derived from the long form is referred to as sample data, and is tabulated for geographic entities as small as the block group level in 1980, 1990, and 2000 census data products.


Margin of Error (MOE)

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Survey data, such as data from the ACS or CPS, is based on a sample, and therefore statistics derived from this data are subject to sampling variability. The margin of error (MOE) is a measure of the degree of sampling variability. In a random sample, the degree of sampling variation is determined by the underlying variability of the phenomena being estimated (e.g., income) and the size of the sample (i.e., the number of survey participants used to calculate the statistic). The smaller the margin of error, the lower the sampling variability and the more "precise" the estimate. A margin of error is the difference between an estimate and its upper or lower confidence bounds. Confidence bounds are calculated by adding the (MOE) to the estimate (upper bound) and subtracting the (MOE) from the estimate (lower bound). When confidence bounds are calculated using a 90% MOE, there is a 90% certainty that the actual value lies somewhere between the upper and lower confidence bounds.


Median

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A median is often used instead of an average to characterize the incomes of people in the population. Median income is the amount which divides the income distribution into two equal groups, half having incomes above the median, half having incomes below the median. We use median income instead of average income because average income can be influence by extreme income amounts of a few people in the population.


Medical Expenditure (MEPS)

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MEPS is a set of large-scale surveys of families and individuals, their medical providers (doctors, hospitals, pharmacies, etc.), and employers across the United States. MEPS collects data on the specific health services that Americans use, how frequently they use them, the cost of these services, and how they are paid for, as well as data on the cost, scope, and breadth of health insurance held by and available to U.S. workers. MEPS is conducted by Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.


Mental Disability (Census 2000)

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Mental Disability (Census 2000) definition based on a four-part question: "Because of a physical, mental,or emotional condition lasting 6 months or more, does this person have any difficulty in doing any of the following activities: (a) learning, remembering, or concentrating ..." (asked of persons ages 5 years old and older)


Metropolitan Statistical Area: MSA (Census 2000)

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The federal Office of Management and Budget defines these geographic entities for use by federal statistical agencies. The MSA is based on the concept of a core area with a large population nucleus, plus adjacent communities having a high degree of economic and social integration with that core. Qualification as an MSA requires the presence of a city with 50,000 or more inhabitants, or the presence of an Urbanized Area (UA) and a total population of at least 100,000 (75,000 in New England). The county or counties containing the largest city and surrounding densely settled territory are central counties of the MSA . Additional outlying counties qualify to be included in the MSA by meeting certain other criteria of metropolitan character, such as a specified minimum population density or percentage of the population that is urban. MSAs in New England are defined in terms of minor civil divisions, following rules concerning commuting and population density.


National Health (NHIS)

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The objective of NHIS to monitor the health of the United States population through the collection and analysis of data on a broad range of health topics. A major strength of this survey lies in the ability to display these health characteristics by many demographic and socioeconomic characteristics.


National Longitudinal (NLTS)

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NLTS-2 was funded by the U.S. Department of Education and documents the experiences of a national sample of students who were 13 to 16 years of age in 2000 as they moved from secondary school into adult roles. The study was focused on a wide range of important topics, such as high school coursework, extracurricular activities, academic performance, postsecondary education and training, employment, independent living, and community participation.


Non-Institutional Group Quarters (GQs) (ACS)

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Includes facilities that are not classified as institutional group quarters; such as college/university housing, group homes intended for adults, residential treatment facilities for adults, workers’ group living quarters and Job Corps centers and religious group quarters.


Non-Institutionalized Population

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Includes all people who live in group quarters other than institutions. Examples: college dormitories, rooming houses, religious group homes, communes, and halfway houses.


Not Working but Actively Looking for Work (ACS)

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A person is defined as not working but actively looking for work if he or she reports not being employed but has been ACTIVELY looking for work during the last four weeks.


Old Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance (OASDI) Receipt (ACS)

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Based on the response to the multi-part income question: INCOME IN THE PAST 12 MONTHS. . . d. Social Security or Railroad Retirement.

(NOTE: The "past 12 months" is the period 12 months prior to the survey date.)

Old age, survivors, and disability insurance (OASDI)- the official name for Social Security - a comprehensive federal program of benefits providing workers and their dependents with retirement income, disability income, and other payments. Financed with Social Security taxes paid by workers, employers, and self-employed persons. To be eligible for a Social Security benefit, the worker must earn sufficient credits based on taxable work to be "insured" for Social Security purposes. Disability benefits are payable to blind or disabled workers, widow(er)s, or adults disabled since childhood, who are otherwise eligible. The amount of the monthly disability benefit is based on the Social Security earnings record of the insured worker.


Panel Study of (PSID)

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The PSID is the longitudinal household survey that collects data covering employment, income, wealth, expenditures, health, marriage, childbearing, child development, philanthropy, education, and numerous other topics. The PSID consists of two separate samples: the University of Michigan Survey Research Center (SRC) and Survey of Economic Opportunities (SEO) samples.


Past Work Experience (ACS)

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Based on the response to the question:

When did this person last work, even for a few days? (asked only of those who did NOT work in the last week)

  • Within the past 12 months
  • 1 to 5 years ago
  • Over 5 years ago or never worked


Physical Disability (Census 2000)

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Physical Disability (Census 2000, ACS) definition based on a two part question: "Does this person have any of the following long-lasting conditions (b) a condition that substantially limits one or more basic physical activities, such as walking, climbing stairs, reaching, lifting, or carrying". (asked of persons ages 5 years old and older)


Poverty (ACS 2008)

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The poverty measure is computed based upon the standards defined in Directive 14 from the Office of Management and Budget. These standards use poverty thresholds created in 1982 and index these thresholds to 2008 dollars using poverty factors based upon the Consumer Price Index. They use the family as the income sharing unit and family income is the sum of total income from each family member living in the household. The poverty threshold depends upon the size of the family; the age of the householder; and the number of related children under the age of 18.


Poverty Rate (CPS)

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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 2007 was $10,590 for a one-person family and $21,027 for a four-person family with two children (under age 18), and $21,100 for a four-person family with three children. The thresholds for 2007 may be found at www.census.gov/hhes/www/poverty/threshld/thresh07.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.


Prevalence

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The percentage or number of persons reporting disabilities. The percentage (prevalence rate) is calculated by dividing the number of people reporting a disability by the total number of people in the population.


Race (ACS)

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Our race categories are based on the question, "[w]hat is this person’s race? Mark (X) one or more races to indicate what this person considers himself/herself to be." Responses include the following: White; Black or African-American; American Indian or Alaska Native (print name of enrolled or principal tribe); Asian Indian; Chinese; Filipino; Japanese; Korean; Vietnamese; Other Asian (Print Race); Native Hawaiian; Guamanian or Chamarro; Samoan; Other Pacific Islander (Print Race Below); Some other race (print race below). Other race also contains people who report more than one race.


Rehabilitation Services (RSA)

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RSA-911 is intended to provide a description of accomplishments and progress made under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. RSA-911 aggregates many variables of outcomes related information, including demographics, disability, interventions, and reason for closure, employment status, sources of financial support, and more. The values of certain fields (e.g. income, hours worked per week, etc.) are reported both status at application and status at closure.


Sample Data

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Population and housing collected from the census long form for a one in six sample of households in the U.S. and Puerto Rico, and on a continuous basis for selected areas in the American Community Survey.


Sample Size (n = #)

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Sample size, often denoted by (n=sample number) , specifies the number of persons whose information was used to calculate a statistic. A statistic based on more observations (a larger sample of persons, places or things) is better (more accurate) than a statistic based on fewer observations (a smaller sample). For example, when trying to estimate the average household income in the United States, the more households are included in the sample the better the resulting estimate of household income will be.


Self-Care Disability (Census 2000)

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Self-Care Disability (Census 2000) definition based on a four-part question: "Because of a physical, mental, or emotional condition lasting 6 months or more, does this person have any difficulty in doing any of the following activities: (b) dressing, bathing, or getting around inside the home..." (asked of persons ages 5 years old and older)


Self-Care Disability (ACS)

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This disability type is based on the question (asked of persons ages 5 or older): 17c. Does this person have difficulty dressing or bathing?


Sensory Disability (ACS)

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This disability type is based on the question: Does this person have any of the following long-lasting conditions: (a) blindness, deafness, or a severe vision or hearing impairment?


Sensory Disability (Census 2000)

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Sensory Disability (Census 2000, ACS) definition based on a two part question: "Does this person have any of the following long-lasting conditions (a) blindness, deafness, or a severe vision or hearing impairment..." (asked of persons ages 5 years old and older)


Sensory, Physical, Mental, and/or Self-Care Disability (Census 2000)

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People 5 years old and over are considered to have a sensory, physical, mental, or self-care disability if they have one or more of the following: (a) blindness, deafness, or a severe vision or hearing impairment; (b) a substantial limitation in the ability to perform basic physical activities, such as walking, climbing stairs, reaching, lifting, or carrying; (c) difficulty learning, remembering, or concentrating; or (d) difficulty dressing, bathing, or getting around inside the home.


Sensory, Physical, Mental, and/or Self-Care Disability (ACS)

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People 5 years old and over are considered to have a sensory, physical, mental, or self-care disability if they have one or more of the following: (a) blindness, deafness, or a severe vision or hearing impairment; (b) a substantial limitation in the ability to perform basic physical activities, such as walking, climbing stairs, reaching, lifting, or carrying; (c) difficulty learning, remembering, or concentrating; or (d) difficulty dressing, bathing, or getting around inside the home.


Short Form (Census 2000)

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The decennial census questionnaire, sent to approximately five of six households for the 1980, 1990, and 2000 censuses. For Census 2000, the questionnaire asked population questions related to household relationship, sex, race, age and Hispanic or Latino origin and housing questions related to tenure, occupancy, and vacancy status. The 1990 short form contained a question on marital status. The questions contained on the short form also are asked on the long form, along with additional questions.


Supplemental Security Income (SSI) (ACS)

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A person is defined as receiving SSI payments if he or she reports receiving (SSI) income in the 12 months prior to the survey.


Supplemental Security Income (SSI) (ACS 2008)

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A person is defined as receiving SSI payments if he or she reports receiving SSI income in the 12 months prior to the survey.


Survey of Income and (SIPP)

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SIPP is a survey conducted by United States Census Bureau to collect source and amount of income, labor force information, program participation and eligibility data, and general demographic characteristics to measure the effectiveness of existing federal, state, and local programs; to estimate future costs and coverage for government programs, such as food stamps; and to provide improved statistics on the distribution of income and measures of economic well-being in the U.S.


University of Michigan (HRS)

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HRS is a large-scale longitudinal project that studies the labor force participation and health transitions that individuals undergo toward the end of their work lives and in the years that follow.


Veteran Service-Connected Disability (ACS 2008)

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A disease or injury determined to have occurred in or to have been aggravated by military service. A disability is evaluated according to the VA Schedule for Rating Disabilities in Title 38, CFR, and Part 4. Extent of disability is expressed as a percentage from 0% (for conditions that exist but are not disabling to a compensable degree) to 100%, in increments of 10%. This information was determined by the following two part question:

  1. Does this person have a VA service-connected disability rating?
    Yes (such as 0%, 10%, 20%, ... , 100%)
    No SKIP to question 28a
  2. What is this person’s service-connected disability rating?
    Responses included: 0 percent; 10 or 20 percent; 30 or 40 percent; 50 or 60 percent; 70 percent or higher


Visual Disability (ACS 2008)

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This disability type is based on the question (asked of all ages): Is this person blind or does he/she have serious difficulty seeing even when wearing glasses?


Work Limitation Disability (CPS)

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A work limitation is determined in the Current Population Survey Annual Demographic Supplement (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?)." For more discussion of defining disability, please go to our Key Issues page.


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