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Discussion and Presentation of the Disability Test Results from the Current Population Survey

Terence M. McMenamin, Stephen M. Miller, and Anne E. Polivka


In accordance with Executive Order 13078, the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in cooperation with the Employment Rate Measurement Methodology interagency workgroup, identified the goal of placing a small set of questions within the Current Population Survey (CPS) to measure disability. A set of potential questions was drawn from existing surveys, cognitively tested, and placed in the National Comorbidity Survey (NCS) for testing. Based on an analysis of the NCS data, a set of seven questions was identified. These seven questions were then cognitively tested to ensure that they would work within the CPS context. This question set was placed in the February 2006 CPS for field testing. The two primary goals of the test were to compare the CPS disability rate to that obtained from the NCS, and to evaluate the effect on CPS response rates in the following month. Analysis of the test data revealed a lower overall disability rate as measured in the CPS than in the NCS, with lower positive response rates for each question. The data did not indicate that there was an adverse effect on the response rates for households that had received the disability questions.