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Persistent, Consistent, and Widespread?: Another Look at Recent Trends in Old-Age Disability


  • Schoeni, R.F.
  • Freedman, V.A.
  • Wallace, R.B.


This study provides new evidence on trends in disability among the elderly from 1982 to 1996. Logistics analysis is used to estimate the trend in disability prevalence after controlling for age, sex, and proxy reporting. The sample includes 124,949 people ages 70 and older in the 1982-1996 National Interview Surveys. The authors find that i) disability has improved, but the gains did not persist throughout the entire period or accelerate over time; ii) only routine care disability has declined, whereas more severe personal care disability shows no improvements; iii) estimates are robust to the exclusion of the nursing home population but may be sensitive to growth in the assisted living population; iv) estimates of decline in disability prevalence are fairly consistent across five national surveys, v) gains have been concentrated among the most educated elderly, and vi) gains in the educational composition can explain 65 percent of the improvements.

Suggested Citation

  • Schoeni, R.F. & Freedman, V.A. & Wallace, R.B., 2000. "Persistent, Consistent, and Widespread?: Another Look at Recent Trends in Old-Age Disability," Papers 00-13, RAND - Labor and Population Program.
  • Handle: RePEc:fth:randlp:00-13

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    Cited by:

    1. Julie Zissimopoulos, 2001. "Resource Transfers to the Elderly: Do Adult Children Substitute Financial Transfers for Time Transfers?," Working Papers 01-05, RAND Corporation.

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    JEL classification:

    • J14 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of the Elderly; Economics of the Handicapped; Non-Labor Market Discrimination
    • I3 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty


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