IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

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


  • Andrew Houtenville
  • William Erickson
  • Melissa Bjelland


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

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    File Function: First version, 2009
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    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.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:cen:wpaper:09-10. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Erica Coates). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.