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Guidance for Disability Data Users

We have created this page to help you figure out how to use these statistics. The guidance may explain which data sources to use and how to make comparisons. Related sites may offer further information.

Disability data come from the American Community Survey (ACS), the Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP), and the Current Population Survey (CPS).  All three surveys ask about six disability types: hearing difficulty, vision difficulty, cognitive difficulty, ambulatory difficulty, self-care difficulty, and independent living difficulty.   Respondents who report anyone of the six disability types are considered to have a disability. 

Each survey has unique advantages.  The ACS has the ability to estimate disability for smaller subgroups of the population.  The CPS Annual Social and Economic Supplement (CPS ASEC) has additional questions on work disability.  The Social Security Administration Supplement to the SIPP has information on other types of disability.  The following describes how disability is defined and collected in the ACS.

The corresponding pages for each survey will provide you with more information.

If using the microdata or dataferrett for disability data, the survey’s data dictionary can provide variable names and other information to assist in generating disability estimates.

Page Last Revised - November 21, 2021
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