We ask questions about a person's difficulty with specific daily tasks to create statistics about disability.
Local, state, tribal, and federal agencies use disability data to plan and fund programs for people with disabilities. Disability data are also used to evaluate other government programs and policies to ensure that they fairly and equitably serve the needs of all groups, as well as enforce laws, regulations, and policies against discrimination.
We use your confidential survey answers to create statistics like those in the results below and in the full tables that contain all the data—no one is able to figure out your survey answers from the statistics we produce. The Census Bureau is legally bound to strict confidentiality requirements. Individual records are not shared with anyone, including federal agencies and law enforcement entities. By law, the Census Bureau cannot share respondents' answers with anyone—not the IRS, not the FBI, not the CIA, and not with any other government agency.
We ask three questions about disability to identify limitations in basic areas of functioning and independent living.
We compile the results from these questions to provide communities with important statistics to help in their disability services planning. You can see some of these published statistics here for the nation, states, and your community.
We ask about disability of household members to understand whether available housing meets the needs of residents in local communities. When housing is not sufficient or not affordable, disability data help communities:
We ask about disability status, income, and health insurance status to help communities enroll eligible families in programs designed to assist them such as:
Community disability data are also used to ensure that these programs are adequately serving eligible families.
We ask about disability status to help governments and communities enforce laws, regulations, and policies against discrimination on the basis of disability status. For example, disability data determine whether there are health care or public health program disparities on the basis of disability status (Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act of 2000).
We ask about disability to help local officials provide programs and services that:
We ask about disability and other topics to inform researchers, advocacy groups, and policymakers on whether people with disabilities have the same opportunities in education, employment, voting, and home ownership. Communities use data on the prevalence of various types of disabilities to ensure that they can meet needs during weather events, disasters, and public health emergencies.
Disability questions originated with the 1830 Census. The current questions were added to the ACS in 2008.