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Complex Survey Questions and the Impact of Enumeration Procedures: Census/American Community Survey Disability Questions

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  • Andrew Houtenville
  • William Erickson
  • Melissa Bjelland

Abstract

This paper explores challenges relating to the identification of the population with disabilities,focusing on Census Bureau efforts using the 2000 Decennial Census Long-Form (Census 2000) and 2000-2005 American Community Survey (ACS). In particular, the analyses explore the impact of survey methods on responses to the work limitation (i.e., employment disability) question in these two Census products. Building on the research of Stern (2003) and Stern and Brault (2005), we look for further evidence of misreporting of an employment disability by specific sub-populations using the participation in the Supplemental Security Income program as an exogenous employment disability status indicator along with a subset of ACS disability questions. We expand upon these earlier studies by examining both false-positive and falsenegative reports of employment disability by implementing logit estimations to examine the role of respondent/enumerator error on the accuracy of the employment disability response. In this manner, we enhance our understanding of Census 2000 and ACS responses to employment disability questions through an exploration of the role of enumeration procedures in two types of misclassifications, as well as by evaluating existing data and estimates to uncover characteristics that might make an individual more likely to misreport an employment disability.

Suggested Citation

  • Andrew Houtenville & William Erickson & Melissa Bjelland, 2009. "Complex Survey Questions and the Impact of Enumeration Procedures: Census/American Community Survey Disability Questions," Working Papers 09-10, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  • Handle: RePEc:cen:wpaper:09-10
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    File URL: https://www2.census.gov/ces/wp/2009/CES-WP-09-10.pdf
    File Function: First version, 2009
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. James Banks & Arie Kapteyn & James P. Smith & Arthur van Soest, 2009. "Work Disability is a Pain in the ****, Especially in England, the Netherlands, and the United States," NBER Chapters,in: Health at Older Ages: The Causes and Consequences of Declining Disability among the Elderly, pages 251-293 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Burkhauser, Richard V. & Butler, J. S. & Feng, Shuaizhang & Houtenville, Andrew J., 2004. "Long term trends in earnings inequality: what the CPS can tell us," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 82(2), pages 295-299, February.
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