CODI: Cornucopia of Disability Information

Appendix A - Definitions and Explanations

[Index] [Back] [Next]

Appendix A - Definitions and Explanations

Population coverage

The estimates in this report are restricted to the civilian noninstitutional resident population of the United States and members of the Armed Forces living off post or with their families on post.

Race and Hispanic origin

Data are shown for four race groups: White; Black; American Indian, Eskimo, or Aleut; and Asian or Pacific Islander. Persons were asked to identify their "ethnicity" from a "flashcard" listing ethnic origins. Those who indicated that their origin was Mexican, Puerto Rican, Cuban, Central or South American, or some other Hispanic origin are considered to be of Hispanic origin. It should be noted that persons of Hispanic origin may be of any race.


The instructions call for listing first the person (or one of the persons) in whose name the home is owned or rented. If the house is owned jointly by a married couple, either the husband or the wife may be listed first, thereby becoming the reference person, or householder, to whom the relationship of the other household members is recorded. One person in each household is designated as the "householder." The number of householders, therefore, is equal to the number of households.


The term "family" refers to a group of two or more persons related by birth, marriage, or adoption who reside together; all such persons are considered as members of one family. For example, if the son of the person who maintains the household and the son's wife are members of the household, they are treated as members of the parent's family. Every family must include a householder; two or more people living in the same household who are related to one another, but are not related to the householder, form a "secondary family" and are not included in the count of families. Persons who are not householders and who are not related to any other person in the household are identified as "secondary individuals."

Years of school completed

Data on years of school completed were derived from the combination of answers to questions concerning the highest grade of school attended by the person and whether or not that grade was finished. The questions of educational attainment apply only to progress in "regular" schools. Such schools included public, private, and parochial elementary and high schools (both junior and senior), colleges, universities, and professional schools (whether day schools or night schools). Thus, regular schooling is that which may advance a person toward an elementary school certificate, a high school diploma, or a college, university, or professional school degree.

Ratio of income to low-income threshold

The ratio is calculated by comparing a person's family income (the income of the person is used if the person is not a family member) in the month preceding the interview to a poverty threshold that is equal to one-twelfth of the appropriate official annual poverty threshold.

Health Insurance coverage status

Coverage status was measured as of the month preceding the interview. Means-tested asslstance. Recipiency status was measured as of the month preceding the interview. Cash assistance programs include AFDC, SSI, General Assistance, and other cash assistance programs. Persons were considered to have received housing assistance if they lived in public or subsidized housing.

Disabillty status

A person 15 years old and over was considered to have a disability if the person met any of the following criteria: (a) used a wheelchair; (b) had used a cane or similar aid for 6 months or longer; (c) had difficulty with a functional activity; (d) had difficulty with an ADL; (e) had difficulty with an IADL; or (f) was identified as having a developmental disability or a mental or emotional disability. In addition, a person 16 years old and over was considered to have a disability if the person had a condition that made it difficult to do housework, and a person 16 to 67 years old was considered to have a disability if the person had a condition that limited the kind or amount of work the person could do at a job. Persons 0 to 21 years old could be classified as having a disability based on the responses of parents or guardians to questions about limitations in usual activities, the receipt of developmental services, the ability to do regular schoolwork, and the ability to walk, run or use stairs. Persons were classified as having a severe disability if they: (a) used a wheelchair or had used another special aid for 6 months or longer; (b) were unable to perform one or more functional activities or needed assistance with an ADL or IADL; (c) were prevented from working at a job or doing housework; or (d) had a selected condition including autism, cerebral palsy, Alzheimer's disease, senility or dementia, or mental retardation. Finally, persons who were under 65 years of age and who were covered by Medicare or who received SSI were considered to have a disability (and a severe disability).

Functional activities

The functional activities covered in the survey included seeing, hearing, having one's speech understood, lifting and carrying, walking up a flight of stairs, and walking.

Activities of daily living (ADL's)

The ADL's covered in the survey included getting around inside the home, getting in or out of bed or a chair, bathing, dressing, eating, and toileting.

Instrumental activities of daily living (IADL's)

The IADL's covered in the survey included going outside the home, keeping track of money or bills, preparing meals, doing light housework, and using the telephone.

[Index] [Back] [Next]