Data Dictionary: ACS 2008 (1-Year Estimates)
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Data Source: U.S. Census Bureau
Table: B22010. Receipt Of Food Stamps In The Past 12 Months By Disability Status For Households [7]
Universe: Households
Table Details
Relevant Documentation:
Excerpt from: Social Explorer; U.S. Census Bureau; American Community Survey 2008 Summary File: Technical Documentation.
 
Food Stamp Benefits
The data on Food Stamp benefits were obtained from Housing Question 12 in the 2008 American Community Survey. The Food Stamp Act of 1977 defines this federally-funded program as one intended to "permit low-income households to obtain a more nutritious diet" (from Title XIII of Public Law 95-113, The Food Stamp Act of 1977, declaration of policy). Food purchasing power is increased by providing eligible households with coupons or cards that can be used to purchase food. The Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) administers the Food Stamp Program through state and local welfare offices. The Food Stamp Program is the major national income support program to which all low-income and low-resource households, regardless of household characteristics, are eligible. The questions on participation in the Food Stamp Program were designed to identify households in which one or more of the current members received food stamps during the past 12 months.
Limitation of the Data
Beginning in 2006, the population in group quarters (GQ) is included in the ACS. Many types of GQ populations have food stamp distributions that are very different from the household population. The inclusion of the GQ population could therefore have a noticeable impact on the food stamp distribution. This is particularly true for areas with a substantial GQ population.

The Census Bureau tested the changes introduced to the 2008 version of the Food Stamp benefits question in the 2006 ACS Content Test. 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 2007 to 2008, see "2006 ACS Content Test Evaluation Report Covering Food Stamps" (http://www.census.gov/acs/www/AdvMeth/content_test/H6_Food_Stamps.pdf).
Question/Concept History
The 1996-1998 American Community Survey asked for a 12-month amount for the value of the food stamps following the Yes response category. For the 1999-2002 ACS, the words "Food Stamps" were capitalized in the question following the Yes response category, and the instruction "Past 12 months' value - Dollars" was added. Since 2003, the words "received during the past 12 months" were added to the question following the Yes response category. Beginning in 2008, the value of food stamps received was no longer collected; the wording of the question was changed from "At anytime during the past 12 months" to "In the past 12 months," and the term "food stamp benefit card" was added.
Excerpt from: Social Explorer; U.S. Census Bureau; American Community Survey 2008 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 2008 American Community Survey, there are three disability questions, two with subparts totaling six questions in all, as described below.
Limitation of the Data
The 2008 American Community Survey questions on disability represent a conceptual and empirical break from earlier years of the ACS. Hence, the Census Bureau does not recommend any comparisons to disability data from the 2007 ACS and earlier. For additional information on the differences between the 2008 ACS disability questions and prior ACS disability questions, see "2006 ACS Content Test Evaluation Report Covering Disability" (http://www.census.gov/acs/www/AdvMeth/content_test/P4_Disability.pdf).

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 a discussion of the effect of group quarters data has on estimates of disability status, see "Disability Status and the Characteristics of People in Group Quarters: A Brief Analysis of Disability Prevalence among the Civilian Noninstitutionalized and Total Populations in the American Community Survey" (http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/disability/GQdisability.pdf).
Hearing and Vision Limitations
The data on hearing and vision limitations were derived from answers to Questions 16a and 16b. Question 16a asked respondents if they were "deaf or ... [had] serious difficulty hearing." Question 16b asked if respondents were "blind or ... [had] serious difficulty seeing even when wearing glasses." Respondents were instructed to mark "yes" or "no" for each question. Question 16a is labeled as "Hearing difficulty" and Question 16b as "Vision difficulty" for some of the disability data products such as the ACS Detailed Tables.
Limitation of the Data
The Census Bureau does not recommend trend analysis using the 2008 data with years prior to 2008 due to the questionnaire change.
Question/Concept History
The 2008 American Community Survey marks a break in the series of disability data. In the 1999 - 2007 American Community Surveys, hearing and vision limitations were captured with one question, referred in data products as "Sensory disability." As such, parsing out which limitation respondents identified with was impossible. In addition, research has showed that combining the two new measures to replicate a similar measure as the old one proved not comparable. For additional information on the differences between the 2008 ACS disability questions and prior ACS disability questions, see "2006 ACS Content Test Evaluation Report Covering Disability" (http://www.census.gov/acs/www/AdvMeth/content_test/P4_Disability.pdf).
Limitations in Cognitive Functioning
The data on cognitive functioning were derived from answers to Question 17a, which was asked of people 5 years old and over. The question asked respondents if due to physical, mental, or emotional condition, they had "serious difficulty concentrating, remembering, or making decisions." Respondents were instructed to mark "yes" or "no." Question 17a is labeled as "Cognitive difficulty" for some disability data products such as the ACS Detailed Tables.
Limitation of the Data
The Census Bureau does not recommend trend analysis using the 2008 data with years prior to 2008 due to the questionnaire change.
Question/Concept History
The 2008 American Community Survey marks a break in the series of disability data. In prior American Community Surveys, a similar question about difficulty "learning, remembering, and concentrating" was asked. However, the change in activities on which cognitive limitations are based suggest that the 2008 measure is not comparable with the "Mental disability" estimates from prior years. For additional information on the differences between the 2008 ACS disability questions and prior ACS disability questions, see "2006 ACS Content Test Evaluation Report Covering Disability" (http://www.census.gov/acs/www/AdvMeth/content_test/P4_Disability.pdf).
Ambulatory Limitations
The data on ambulatory functioning were derived from answers to Question 17b, which was asked of people 5 years old and over. The question asked respondents if they had "serious difficulty walking or climbing stairs." Respondents were instructed to mark "yes" or "no." Question 17b is labeled as "Ambulatory difficulty" for some disability data products such as the ACS Detailed Tables.
Limitation of the Data
The Census Bureau does not recommend trend analysis using the 2008 data with years prior to 2008 due to the questionnaire change.
Question/Concept History
The 2008 American Community Survey marks a break in the series of disability data. In prior American Community Surveys, a similar question about "conditions that limit one or more basic physical activities such as walking, climbing stairs, reaching, lifting, or carrying" was asked However, the changes to the wording and tailoring of the list of activities on which the limitation is based suggest that the 2008 measure is not comparable with the "Physical disability" estimates from prior years. For additional information on the differences between the 2008 ACS disability questions and prior ACS disability questions, see "2006 ACS Content Test Evaluation Report Covering Disability" (http://www.census.gov/acs/www/AdvMeth/content_test/P4_Disability.pdf).
Self-Care Limitations
The data on self-care limitations were derived from answers to Question 17c, which was asked of people 5 years and over. The question asked respondents if they had "difficulty dressing or bathing." Respondents were instructed to mark yes or no. Question 17c is labeled as "Self-care difficulty" for some disability data products such as the ACS Detailed Tables.
Limitation of the Data
The Census Bureau does not recommend trend analysis using the 2008 data with years prior to 2008 due to the questionnaire change.
Question/Concept History
The 2008 American Community Survey marks a break in the series of disability data. In prior American Community Surveys, a similar question about difficulty "dressing, bathing, or getting around inside the home" was asked. However, the changes to the wording and tailoring of the list of activities on which the limitation is based suggest that the 2008 measure is not comparable with the "Self-care disability" estimates from prior years. For additional information on the differences between the 2008 ACS disability questions and prior ACS disability questions, see "2006 ACS Content Test Evaluation Report Covering Disability" (http://www.census.gov/acs/www/AdvMeth/content_test/P4_Disability.pdf).
Independent Living Limitations
The data on independent living limitations were derived from answers to Question 18, asked of people 15 years and over. The question asked respondents if due to a physical, mental, or emotional condition, they had difficulty "doing errands alone such as visiting a doctors office or shopping." Respondents were instructed to mark "yes" or "no." Question 18 is labeled as "Independent living difficulty" for some disability products such as the ACS Detailed Tables.
Limitation of the Data
The Census Bureau does not recommend trend analysis using the 2008 data with years prior to 2008 due to the questionnaire change.
Question/Concept History
The 2008 American Community Survey marks a break in the series of disability data. In prior American Community Surveys, a similar question about difficulty "going outside the home alone to shop or visit a doctor's office" was asked. However, the changes to the wording of the question suggest that the 2008 measure is not comparable with the "Going-outside-home disability" estimates from prior years. For additional information on the differences between the 2008 ACS disability questions and prior ACS disability questions, see "2006 ACS Content Test Evaluation Report Covering Disability" (http://www.census.gov/acs/www/AdvMeth/content_test/P4_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 under 5 years were classified as having a disability if they were reported to have either a hearing or vision difficulty. People aged 5 to 14 were classified as having a disability if they were reported to have any one of the five limitations: hearing difficulty, vision difficulty, cognitive difficulty, ambulatory difficulty, or self-care difficulty. People aged15 and over were classified as having a disability if they reported any one of the six limitations described above.
Limitation of the Data
The Census Bureau does not recommend trend analysis using the 2008 data with years prior to 2008 due to the 2008 questionnaire change. For information on the differences between the 2008 ACS disability questions and prior ACS disability questions, see "2006 ACS Content Test Evaluation Report Covering Disability" (http://www.census.gov/acs/www/AdvMeth/content_test/P4_Disability.pdf).
Excerpt from: Social Explorer; U.S. Census Bureau; American Community Survey 2008 Summary File: Technical Documentation.
 
Household
A household includes all the people who occupy a housing unit. (People not living in households are classified as living in group quarters.) A housing unit is a house, an apartment, a mobile home, a group of rooms, or a single room that is occupied (or if vacant, is intended for occupancy) as separate living quarters. Separate living quarters are those in which the occupants live separately from any other people in the building and which have direct access from the outside of the building or through a common hall. The occupants may be a single family, one person living alone, two or more families living together, or any other group of related or unrelated people who share living arrangements.