Data Dictionary: ACS 2005 -- 2007 (3-Year Estimates)
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Data Source: U.S. Census Bureau
Table: B18024. Self-Care Disability By Sex By Age By Employment Status For The Civilian Noninstitutionalized Population 16 To 64 Years [31]
Universe: Universe: Civilian noninstitutionalized population 16 to 64 years
Table Details
B18024. Self-Care Disability By Sex By Age By Employment Status For The Civilian Noninstitutionalized Population 16 To 64 Years
Universe: Universe: Civilian noninstitutionalized population 16 to 64 years
Variable Label
B18024001
B18024002
B18024003
B18024004
B18024005
B18024006
B18024007
B18024008
B18024009
B18024010
B18024011
B18024012
B18024013
B18024014
B18024015
B18024016
B18024017
B18024018
B18024019
B18024020
B18024021
B18024022
B18024023
B18024024
B18024025
B18024026
B18024027
B18024028
B18024029
B18024030
B18024031
Relevant Documentation:
Excerpt from: Social Explorer; U.S. Census Bureau; 2005-2007 American Community Survey 3-Year Summary File: Technical Documentation.
 
Disability Status
Using models of disability from the Institute of Medicine and the International Classification of Functioning, disability is defined as the restriction in participation that results from a lack of fit between the individual's functional limitations and the characteristics of the physical and social environment. So while the disability is not seen as intrinsic to the individual, the way to capture it in a survey is to measure components that make up the process. The American Community Survey identifies serious difficulty in four basic areas of functioning: vision, hearing, ambulation, and cognition. Described below, the ACS asks respondents about serious difficulty and the resulting data can be used individually or combined. The ACS also includes two questions to identify people with difficulties that might impact their ability to live independently. In the 2007 American Community Survey, there are three disability questions, two with subparts totaling six questions in all, as described below.
Limitation of the Data
Beginning in 2006, the population in group quarters (GQ) is included in the ACS. The universe for most disability data tabulations is the civilian noninstitutionalized population. Some types of GQ populations have disability distributions that are different from the household population. The inclusion of the noninstitutionalized GQ population could therefore have a noticeable impact on the disability distribution. This is particularly true for areas with a substantial noninstitutionalized GQ population. For example, the number of people with a disability may increase in areas having a substantial group home population. In areas having a substantial college dormitory population, the percentage of people with a disability may decrease because the base of the percentage, which now includes the population in college dormitories, is larger.
Sensory and Physical Limitations
The data on sensory and physical limitations were derived from answers to Questions 15a and 15b, which were asked of people 5 years old and over. Questions 15a and 15b asked respondents if they had any of the following two long-lasting conditions: "Blindness, deafness, severe vision or hearing impairment," or "A condition that substantially limits one or more basic physical activities such as walking, climbing stairs, reaching, lifting, or carrying." Respondents were instructed to mark "yes" or "no" for each long-lasting condition. Question 15a is labeled as "Sensory disability" and Question 15b as "Physical disability" for some of the disability data products such as the ACS Detailed Tables.
Question/Concept History
For the 1996-1998 American Community Survey, the question, which was asked of persons 5 years old and over, instructed the respondents to mark each appropriate box if they had difficulty with any of the following three specific functions: "Difficulty seeing (even with glasses)," "Difficulty hearing (even with a hearing aid)," or "Difficulty walking." The respondents could mark as many as three boxes depending on their functional limitation status. If the respondents did not have difficulty with any of the three specific functions, the question instructed them to mark the box labeled "None of the above." The sensory and physical disability data obtained from the 1996-1998 American Community Survey are not comparable to data collected from the 1999-2007 American Community Surveys.
Limitations in Cognitive Functioning ("Mental Disability")
The data on cognitive functioning were derived from answers to Question 16a, which was asked of people 5 years old and over. The question asked respondents if they had a physical, mental, or emotional condition lasting 6 months or more that made it difficult "learning, remembering, or concentrating." Respondents were instructed to mark "yes" or "no." Question 16a is labeled as "Mental Disability" for some disability data products such as the ACS Detailed Tables.
Question/Concept History
No comparable data on cognitive functioning were obtained in the 1996-1998 American Community Survey. This question was introduced in the 1999 American Community Survey.
Self-Care Limitations
The data on self-care limitations were derived from answers to Question 16b, which was asked of people 5 years and over. The question asked respondents if they had a physical, mental, or emotional condition lasting 6 months or more that made it difficult "dressing, bathing, or getting around inside the home." Respondents were instructed to mark "yes" or "no." Question 16b is labeled as "Self-Care Disability" for some disability data products such as the ACS Detailed Tables.
Question/Concept History
No comparable data on self-care limitations were obtained in the 1996-1998 American Community Survey. This question was introduced in the 1999 American Community Survey.
Going-Outside-Home Limitations
The data on mobility limitations were derived from answers to Question 17a. Although Question 17a was asked of people 15 years and over, the data products only report this type of disability for people 16 years and over. The question asked respondents if they had a physical, mental, or emotional condition lasting 6 months or more that made it difficult "going outside the home alone to shop or visit a doctors office." Respondents were instructed to mark "yes" or "no." Question 17a is labeled as "Go-outside-home Disability" for some disability products such as the ACS Detailed Tables.
Limitation of the Data
The Census Bureau does not recommend trend analysis using the 2003-2007 data with years prior to 2003 due to the 2003 questionnaire change. For more information regarding the 2003 questionnaire change, view "Disability Data from the American Community Survey: A Brief Examination of the Effects of a Question Redesign in 2003" (http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/disability/ACS_disability.pdf ).
Question/Concept History
For the 1996-1998 American Community Survey, the data on going-outside-home limitations were derived from answers to Question 16a, which was asked of persons 16 years old and over. The question was slightly different from the 1999-2002 question and asked the respondents if they had a long-lasting physical or mental condition that made it difficult to "go outside the home alone to shop or visit a doctor's office." In the 1999-2002 American Community Survey, the going-outside-home question was part of Question 16. The 2003 questionnaire moved go-outside-home limitations to Question 17a and introduced a new skip instruction between Questions 16 and 17.
Employment Limitations
The data on employment limitations were derived from answers to Question 17b. Although it was asked of people 15 years and over, the data products only report this type of disability for people aged 16 to 64. The question asked the respondents if they had a physical, mental, or emotional condition lasting 6 months or more that made it difficult "working at a job or business." Respondents were instructed to mark "yes" or "no." Question 17b is labeled as "Employment Disability" for some disability data products such as the ACS Detailed Tables.
Question/Concept History
For the 1996-1998 American Community Survey, the data on employment limitations were derived from answers to Question 16b, which was asked of persons 16 years old and over. The question was slightly different from the 1999-2003 question and asked the respondents if they had a long-lasting physical or mental condition that "prevents this person from working at a job or business." In the 1999-2002 American Community Survey, the employment limitations question was part of Question 16. The 2003 questionnaire moved the employment limitations to Question 17b and introduced a new skip instruction between Questions 16 and 17.
Limitation of the Data
The Census Bureau does not recommend trend analysis using the 2003-2007 data with years prior to 2003 due to the 2003 questionnaire change. For more information regarding the 2003 questionnaire change, view "Disability Data from the American Community Survey: A Brief Examination of the Effects of a Question Redesign in 2003" (http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/disability/ACS_disability.pdf ).

Disability Status
The Census Bureau uses the six disability questions above to determine an individuals disability status in some of its data products such as in the ACS Detailed Tables and the Disability Profile. People aged 16 to 64 were classified as having a disability if they reported at least one of the above six limitations. People aged 5 to 15 were classified as having a disability if they reported any one of the four limitations: sensory disability, physical disability, mental disability, or self-care disability. People 65 and over were classified as having a disability if they reported any one of the five limitations: sensory disability, physical disability, mental disability, self-care disability, or going-outside-home disability.
Limitation of the Data
Since two of the six questions used to determine disability status are no longer comparable with those of the prior years, the Census Bureau does not recommend trend analysis using the 2003-2007 data with years prior to 2003. For more information regarding the 2003 questionnaire change, view "Disability Data from the American Community Survey: A Brief Examination of the Effects of a Question Redesign in 2003" (http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/disability/ACS_disability.pdf).
Excerpt from: Social Explorer; U.S. Census Bureau; 2005-2007 American Community Survey 3-Year Summary File: Technical Documentation.
 
Sex
The data on sex were derived from answers to Question 1. Individuals were asked to mark either "male" or "female" to indicate their sex. For most cases in which sex was not reported, the appropriate entry was determined from the person's given (i.e., first) name and household relationship. Otherwise, sex was imputed according to the relationship to the householder and the age of the person.
Sex Ratio
The sex ratio represents the balance between the male and female populations. Ratios above 100 indicate a larger male population, and ratios below 100 indicate a larger female population. This measure is derived by dividing the total number of males by the total number of females and then multiplying by 100. It is rounded to the nearest tenth.
Limitation of the data
Beginning in 2006, the population in group quarters (GQ) is included in the ACS. Some types of GQ populations have sex distributions that are very different from the household population. The inclusion of the GQ population could therefore have a noticeable impact on the sex distribution. This is particularly true for areas with a substantial GQ population.
The Census Bureau tested the changes introduced to the 2007 version of the sex question in the 2007 ACS Grid-Sequential Test (http://www.census.gov/acs/www/Downloads/ACS-MP-09_Grid-Sequential_Test_Final_Report.pdf). The results of this testing show that the changes may introduce an inconsistency in the data produced for this question as observed from the years 2006 to 2007
Question/Concept History
The sex question has remained the same.
Excerpt from: Social Explorer; U.S. Census Bureau; 2005-2007 American Community Survey 3-Year Summary File: Technical Documentation.
 
Age
The data on age were derived from answers to Question 2. The age classification is based on the age of the person in complete years at the time of interview. Both age and date of birth are used in combination to calculate the most accurate age at the time of the interview. Inconsistently reported and missing values are assigned or imputed based on the values of other variables for that person, from other people in the household, or from people in other households ("hot deck" imputation). Data on age are used to determine the applicability of other questions for a particular individual and to classify other characteristics in tabulations. Age data are needed to interpret most social and economic characteristics used to plan and analyze programs and policies. Therefore, age data are tabulated by many different age groupings, such as 5-year age groups.
Median Age
The median age is the age that divides the population into two equal-size groups. Half of the population is older than the median age and half is younger. Median age is based on a standard distribution of the population by single years of age and is shown to the nearest tenth of a year. (See the sections on "Standard Distributions" and "Medians" under "Derived Measures.")
Age Dependency Ratio
The age dependency ratio is derived by dividing the combined under-18 and 65-and-over populations by the 18-to-64 population and multiplying by 100.
Old-Age Dependency Ratio
The old-age dependency ratio is derived by dividing the population 65 years and over by the 18-to-64 population and multiplying by 100.
Child Dependency Ratio
The child dependency ratio is derived by dividing the population under 18 years by the 18-to-64 population, and multiplying by 100.
Limitation of the Data
Caution should be taken when comparing population in age groups across time. The entire population continually ages into older age groups over time and babies fill in the youngest age group. Therefore, the population of a certain age is made up of a completely different group of people in 2000 and 2007. Since populations occasionally experience booms/increases and busts/decreases in births, deaths, or migration (for example, the postwar Baby Boom from 1946-1964), one should not necessarily expect that the population in an age group in Census 2000 should be similar in size or proportion to the population in the same age group in the 2007 ACS. For example, Baby Boomers were age 36 to 54 in Census 2000 while they were age 44 to 62 in the 2007 ACS. Therefore, the age group 55 to 59 would show a considerable increase in population when comparing Census 2000 data with the 2007 ACS data.
Beginning in 2006, the population in group quarters (GQ) is included in the ACS. Some types of GQ populations have age distributions that are very different from the household population. The inclusion of the GQ population could therefore have a noticeable impact on the age distribution. This is particularly true for areas with a substantial GQ population.
Question/Concept History
The 1996-2002 American Community Survey question asked for month, day, and year of birth before age. Since 2003, the American Community Survey question asked for age, followed by month, day, and year of birth. In 2007, an additional instruction was provided with the age and date of birth question on the American Community Survey questionnaire to report babies as age 0 when the child was less than 1 year old. The addition of this instruction occurred after 2005 National Census Test results indicated increased accuracy of age reporting for babies less than one year old.
Excerpt from: Social Explorer; U.S. Census Bureau; 2005-2007 American Community Survey 3-Year Summary File: Technical Documentation.
 
Employment Status
The data on employment status were derived from Questions 23 and 29 to 31 in the 2007 American Community Survey. (In the 1999-2002 American Community Survey, data were derived from Questions 22 and 28 to 30; in the 1996-1998 American Community Survey, data were derived from Questions 21 and 28 to 30.) The questions were asked of all people 15 years old and over. The series of questions on employment status was designed to identify, in this sequence: (1) people who worked at any time during the reference week; (2) people on temporary layoff who were available for work; (3) people who did not work during the reference week but who had jobs or businesses from which they were temporarily absent (excluding layoff); (4) people who did not work during the reference week, but who were looking for work during the last four weeks and were available for work during the reference week; and (5) people not in the labor force. (For more information, see the discussion under "Reference Week.")
The employment status data shown in American Community Survey tabulations relate to people 16 years old and over.
Employed
This category includes all civilians 16 years old and over who either (1) were "at work," that is, those who did any work at all during the reference week as paid employees, worked in their own business or profession, worked on their own farm, or worked 15 hours or more as unpaid workers on a family farm or in a family business; or (2) were "with a job but not at work," that is, those who did not work during the reference week but had jobs or businesses from which they were temporarily absent due to illness, bad weather, industrial dispute, vacation, or other personal reasons. Excluded from the employed are people whose only activity consisted of work around the house or unpaid volunteer work for religious, charitable, and similar organizations; also excluded are all institutionalized people and people on active duty in the United States Armed Forces.
Civilian Employed
This term is defined exactly the same as the term "employed" above.
Unemployed
All civilians 16 years old and over are classified as unemployed if they (1) were neither "at work" nor "with a job but not at work" during the reference week, and (2) were looking for work during the last 4 weeks, and (3) were available to start a job. Also included as unemployed are civilians who did not work at all during the reference week, were waiting to be called back to a job from which they had been laid off, and were available for work except for temporary illness. Examples of job seeking activities are:
  • Registering at a public or private employment office

  • Meeting with prospective employers

  • Investigating possibilities for starting a professional practice or opening a business

  • Placing or answering advertisements

  • Writing letters of application

  • Being on a union or professional register


Civilian Labor Force
Consists of people classified as employed or unemployed in accordance with the criteria described above.
Unemployment Rate
The unemployment rate represents the number of unemployed people as a percentage of the civilian labor force. For example, if the civilian labor force equals 100 people and 7 people are unemployed, then the unemployment rate would be 7 percent.
Labor Force
All people classified in the civilian labor force plus members of the U.S. Armed Forces (people on active duty with the United States Army, Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps, or Coast Guard).
Labor Force Participation Rate
The labor force participation rate represents the proportion of the population that is in the labor force. For example, if there are 100 people in the population 16 years and over, and 64 of them are in the labor force, then the labor force participation rate for the population 16 years and over would be 64 percent.
Not in Labor Force
All people 16 years old and over who are not classified as members of the labor force. This category consists mainly of students, homemakers, retired workers, seasonal workers interviewed in an off season who were not looking for work, institutionalized people, and people doing only incidental unpaid family work (less than 15 hours during the reference week).
Worker
This term appears in connection with several subjects: employment status, journey-to-work questions, class of worker, weeks worked in the past 12 months, and number of workers in family in the past 12 months. Its meaning varies and, therefore, should be determined in each case by referring to the definition of the subject in which it appears. When used in the concepts "workers in family" and "full-time, year-round workers," the term "worker" relates to the meaning of work defined for the "work experience" subject.
Limitation of the Data
The data may understate the number of employed people because people who have irregular, casual, or unstructured jobs sometimes report themselves as not working. The number of employed people "at work" is probably overstated in the data (and conversely, the number of employed "with a job, but not at work" is understated) since some people on vacation or sick leave erroneously reported themselves as working. This problem has no effect on the total number of employed people. The reference week for the employment data is not the same for all people. Since people can change their employment status from one week to another, the lack of a uniform reference week may mean that the employment data do not reflect the reality of the employment situation of any given week. (For more information, see the discussion under " Reference Week" .)
Beginning in 2006, the population in group quarters (GQ) is included in the ACS. Some types of GQ populations have employment status distributions that are different from the household population. All institutionalized people are placed in the "not in labor force category." The inclusion of the GQ population could therefore have a noticeable impact on the employment status distribution. This is particularly true for areas with a substantial GQ population. For example, in areas having a large state prison population, the employment rate would be expected to decrease because the base of the percentage, which now includes the population in correctional institutions, is larger.
Comparability
Since employment data from the American Community Survey are obtained from respondents in households, they differ from statistics based on reports from individual business establishments, farm enterprises, and certain government programs. People employed at more than one job are counted only once in the American Community Survey and are classified according to the job at which they worked the greatest number of hours during the reference week. In statistics based on reports from business and farm establishments, people who work for more than one establishment may be counted more than once. Moreover, some tabulations may exclude private household workers, unpaid family workers, and self-employed people, but may include workers less than 16 years of age.
An additional difference in the data arises from the fact that people who had a job but were not at work are included with the employed in the American Community Survey statistics, whereas many of these people are likely to be excluded from employment figures based on establishment payroll reports. Furthermore, the employment status data in tabulations include people on the basis of place of residence regardless of where they work, whereas establishment data report people at their place of work regardless of where they live. This latter consideration is particularly significant when comparing data for workers who commute between areas.
For several reasons, the unemployment figures of the Census Bureau are not comparable with published figures on unemployment compensation claims. For example, figures on unemployment compensation claims exclude people who have exhausted their benefit rights, new workers who have not earned rights to unemployment insurance, and people losing jobs not covered by unemployment insurance systems (including some workers in agriculture, domestic services, and religious organizations, and self-employed and unpaid family workers). In addition, the qualifications for drawing unemployment compensation differ from the definition of unemployment used by the Census Bureau. People working only a few hours during the week and people with a job but not at work are sometimes eligible for unemployment compensation but are classified as "Employed" in the American Community Survey. Differences in the geographical distribution of unemployment data arise because the place where claims are filed may not necessarily be the same as the place of residence of the unemployed worker.
For guidance on differences in employment and unemployment estimates from different sources, go to http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/laborfor/laborguidance082504.html

- Question/Concept History -
Worked Last Week (Question 23):
Starting in 1999, an italicized instruction was added to the question to help respondents determine what to count as work.
On Layoff (Question 29a):
Starting in 1999, the "Yes, on temporary layoff from most recent job" and "Yes, permanently laid off from most recent job" response categories were condensed into a single "Yes" category. An additional question (Q29c) was added to determine the temporary/permanent layoff distinction.
Recalled to Work (Question 29c):
This question was added in the 1999 American Community Survey to determine if a respondent who reported being on layoff from a job had been informed that he or she would be recalled to work within 6 months or been given a date to return to work.
Available to Work (Question 31):
Starting in 1999, the "Yes, if a job had been offered" and "Yes, if recalled from layoff" response categories were condensed into one category, "Yes, could have gone to work."