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Other Sources for Data on Disability Status

Since 1981, the March Supplement to the Current Population Survey (CPS) has contained a question that identifies persons with a health problem or disability that prevents work or limits the kind or amount of work that can be done. Based on this question and certain other data items found in the March CPS questionnaire, the Bureau of the Census has periodically published CPS data on the characteristics of persons with a work disability. The first report presented data from the March 1982 survey [McNeil, 1983]. Since then, an updated report has been issued [Bennefield and McNeil, 1989] and data on persons with a work disability have been incorporated into the annual report on persons in poverty.

Questions about work disability, mobility limitations, and self-care limitations were asked in the 1990 census long form and data are published in various U.S. and state volumes. A recent paper presents a discussion of some of the issues concerning the quality of these data [McNeil, 1993].

The National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) collects data on activity limitations and the prevalence of certain impairments. The most extensive report on disability data from the NHIS was prepared by Mitch LaPlante. His report was published in 1988 and is based on a combination of the NHIS samples for 1983, 1984, and 1985.

In addition to core questions about activity limitations and impairments, the NHIS contains supplements designed to provide detailed information concerning special topics. Two recent reports contained data on serious mental illness [Barker, et al] and assistive devices and home accessibility features [LaPlante, Hendershot, and Moss].

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