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U.S. Current Population Survey - People with Disabilities

Published : 2009-10-04 - Updated : 2010-08-29
Author : Disabled World

Synopsis: Information and statistics collected from the Current Population Survey regarding people with disabilities.

Main Digest

Information and statistics collected from the Current Population Survey regarding people with disabilities.

In June 2008, questions were added to the Current Population Survey (CPS) to identify persons with a disability in the civilian non-institutional population age 16 and older. The addition of these questions allowed BLS to begin releasing monthly labor force data from the CPS for persons with a disability.

What is the Current Population Survey

The Current Population Survey is a statistical survey conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau for the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) of about 60,000 households and provides a comprehensive body of information on the employment and unemployment experience of the Nation's population, classified by age, sex, race, and a variety of other characteristics. The BLS uses the data to provide a monthly report on the Employment Situation.

How are people with disabilities identified in the CPS

The disability questions used in the CPS were originally developed by the U.S. Census Bureau for use in the American Community Survey (ACS). The ACS questions were modified slightly so that they could be incorporated into the CPS questionnaire.

The CPS uses a set of six questions to identify persons with disabilities. A response of "yes" to any one of the questions indicates that the person in question has a disability. The disability questions appear in the CPS in the following format:


This month we want to learn about people who have physical, mental, or emotional conditions that cause serious difficulty with their daily activities. Please answer for household members who are 16 years old or over.

1. Because of a physical, mental, or emotional condition, does anyone have difficulty doing errands alone such as visiting a doctor's office or shopping

2. Because of a physical, mental, or emotional condition, does anyone have serious difficulty concentrating, remembering, or making decisions

3. Does anyone have difficulty dressing or bathing

4. Does anyone have serious difficulty walking or climbing stairs

5. Is anyone blind or does anyone have serious difficulty seeing even when wearing glasses

6. Is anyone deaf or does anyone have serious difficulty hearing

The set of six questions was added to the CPS to measure the employment status of persons with disabilities in aggregate on a timely basis and does not require the identification or measurement of specific disabilities. Research has shown it would be difficult to accurately identify persons with a specific type of disability using only one question. For example, questions tested during the research process that were designed to elicit positive responses from persons with one type of disability were equally likely to identify persons with other disabilities as well.

Social Security disability status is unrelated to the CPS measure of disability. Also, the CPS disability measure has no bearing on the determination of Social Security disability status. CPS data are confidential and are collected for statistical purposes only.

Sample households are selected by a multistage stratified statistical sampling scheme. A household is interviewed for 4 successive months, then not interviewed for 8 months, then returned to the sample for 4 months after that. An adult member of each household provides information for all members of the household.

Current Population Survey Data Available:

Discouraged workers and other persons not in the labor force.

Employed multiple jobholders by occupation, industry, numbers of jobs held, and full- or part-time status of multiple jobs.

Employed persons by occupation, industry, class of worker, hours of work, full- or part-time status, and reasons for working part time.

Employment status of the civilian non-institutional population 16 years and over by age, sex, race, Hispanic origin, marital status, family relationship, and Vietnam-era veteran status.

Information on weekly and hourly earnings by detailed demographic group, occupation, education, union affiliation, and full- and part-time employment status.

Special topics such as the labor force status of particular subgroups of the population (e g., women maintaining families, working women with children, displaced workers, and disabled veterans). Data is also available on work experience, occupational mobility, job tenure, educational attainment, and school enrollment of workers.

Unemployed persons by occupation, industry, class of worker of last job, duration of unemployment, reason for unemployment, and methods used to find employment.

September 2009 - Employment status of the civilian non-institutional population by sex, age, and disability status, not seasonally adjusted (Numbers in thousands)

Employment status, sex, and agePersons with a disabilityPersons with no disability
TOTAL, 16 years and over
Civilian non-institutional population26,99326,970209,094209,353
Civilian labor force5,9895,923148,907147,694
Percent of population in labor force22.

Employment-population ratio

Unemployment rate16.916.29.39.2
Not in labor force21,00321,04660,18661,659
Men, 16 to 64 years
Civilian labor force2,7312,65876,34675,443
Percent of population in labor force38.036.884.283.2
Employment-population ratio30.629.775.974.8
Unemployment rate19.519.29.910.1
Not in labor force4,4594,57014,30415,246
Women, 16 to 64 years
Civilian labor force2,4082,41066,84466,443
Percent of population in labor force32.
Employment-population ratio26.926.865.865.6
Unemployment rate16.416.28.88.4
Not in labor force5,0765,12925,86026,280
Both sexes, 65 years and over
Civilian labor force8508555,7185,808
Percent of population in labor force6.
Employment-population ratio6.26.520.820.9
Unemployment rate9.
Not in labor force11,46911,34720,02320,134

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Cite Page: Journal: Disabled World. Language: English (U.S.). Author: Disabled World. Electronic Publication Date: 2009-10-04 - Revised: 2010-08-29. Title: U.S. Current Population Survey - People with Disabilities, Source: <a href=>U.S. Current Population Survey - People with Disabilities</a>. Retrieved 2021-06-20, from - Reference: DW#42-2468.