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Rehabilitation Dataset Directory: Dataset Profile

Dataset: Current Population Survey (CPS)

Basic Information
Dataset full name: Current Population Survey
Dataset acronym CPS
Summary The Current Population Survey (CPS) is a survey conducted by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) survey, conducted by United States Census Bureau to provide workforce measurements including employment, unemployment, earnings, hours of work, and other indicators. It collects a variety of demographic characteristics including age, sex, race, marital status, and educational attainment as well as occupation and industry employed in. Supplemental questionnaires are occasionally fielded to produce estimates on various topics including school enrollment, income, previous work experience, health, employee benefits, and work schedules. The "work limitation" disability screener question was first included in 1981 in the March Supplement. A variation on the ACS disability six-question sequence was added in June 2008.
Key Terms Nationally Representative, Household Population, Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS, Survey, Employment
Study Design Cross Sectional
Data Type(s) Survey
Sponsoring Agency/Entity Department of Labor (DOL)
Health conditions/Disability measures
Health condition(s) NA
Disability Measures Visual disability, Hearing disability, Ambulatory disability, Cognitive disability, Self-care disability, Independent living disability, Work limitation
Measures/outcomes of interest
Topics Employment, Labor force activity, Earnings
Sample Population Household population (Civilians 15 years of age and older)
Sample Size/Notes 60,000 households (monthly)
Unit of Observation Individual
Geographic Coverage United States
Geographic specificity State and 12 of the largest metropolitan statistical areas
Data Collection
Data Collection Mode Survey
Years Collected 1940-current
Data Collection Frequency Annual
Strengths and limitations
Strengths Current data (collected & released on a monthly basis). Detailed employment questions. March supplement includes detailed income data and work limitation question -the longest running disability related question available in US data. Relatively large survey sample. Various topical supplemental surveys are fielded including a disability supplement in 2012.
Limitations No health measures. Use of the work limitation"screener"question as a disability identifier is questioned by some. Six disability item sequence, similar to ACS sequence, only asked from June 2008 onwards.
Data details
Primary Website,
Data Access
Data Access Requirements Public Use Dataset
Summary Tables/reports Disability employment data tables:
Dataset components (where applicable) Basic Monthly CPS.
March Supplement.
Supplemental Surveys
Selected papers
Other Papers 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).
[work limitation disability only]:

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The Rehabilitation Research Cross-dataset Variable Catalog has been developed through the Center for Large Data Research & Data Sharing in Rehabilitation (CLDR). The Center for Large Data Research and Data Sharing in Rehabilitation involves a consortium of investigators from the University of Texas Medical Branch, Cornell University's Yang Tan Institute (YTI), and the University of Michigan. The CLDR is funded by NIH - National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, through the National Center for Medical Rehabilitation Research, the National Institute for Neurological Disorders and Stroke, and the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering. (P2CHD065702).

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