Let’s Take a Peek at NIDILRR’s Outcome Domains and Support Areas: Disability Demographics

Welcome back to our series that highlights NIDILRR’s Outcome Domains and Support Areas. This month, we will be looking at NIDILRR’s Disability Demographics Support Area. Through this research program, NIDILRR seeks to emphasize knowledge areas that are cross-cutting and essential to the support and refinement of disability research generally. The common theme that links disability statistics, outcome measures, disability studies, rehabilitation science, and international activities is that they all provide essential frameworks and building blocks that enable disability research to thrive and to address important issues in meaningful ways.


For Fiscal Year 2019, 1 active project looked at the demographics of disabilities.

  • The Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on Disability Statistics and Demographics (StatsRRTC) narrows and bridges the divide between those that produce disability statistics and end users. This project supports better data collection and more relevant statistics that positively inform programs that serve people with disabilities and improve conditions of people with disabilities and their families. The research activities under the StatsRRTC narrow the divide by generating new survey items and recommendations for improving the collection, relevance, and interpretation of disability data and statistics; developing techniques to improve the estimation of state/local statistics; and conducting deeper analyses of key demographics, outcomes, and programs. The StatsRRTC also improves the timely access to disability statistics by expanding the Annual Disability Statistics Compendium, refocusing the Annual Report to gauge progress towards national goals, develops new infographics on the intersection of disability and other demographics, and creates a new Compendium of Survey Methods to address the needs of producers. Finally, the Center uses technical assistance methods to bridge the divide by increasing the capacity of end users to access and effectively use disability statistics by providing information and referral, follow up to answer questions about the Center’s activities, and customized statistical analyses for key stakeholders.

The projects within the Disability Demographics Support Area produce peer-reviewed articles, monthly reports on disability employment statistics, webinars and presentations, blogs, and other publications. These documents include:

  • The article, Estimates of prevalence, demographic characteristics and social factors among people with disabilities in the USA: A cross-survey-comparison (J81043), discusses a study that assessed the prevalence, demographics, and social factors among people with disabilities based on the sequence of six dichotomous questions (6QS) used in national surveys used in the United States (US) to identify people with disabilities. The 6QS asks about difficulties related to hearing, vision, cognition, ambulation, self-care, and independent living. The study found that people with disabilities were less likely to have a college education, employment, families with three or more people, excellent or very good self-reported health, and a spouse. The study also found that people with disabilities were also more likely to have having health insurance and live below the poverty line.
  • The article, Linking public housing, employment, and disability benefits for working-age people with disabilities (J73956), discusses the policy dilemma of the estimated 41 percent of working-age public housing tenants having a disability, and many participating in multiple benefit programs. The article asks if the levels of employment vary between people with disabilities who are and who are not residing in public housing and if the types of disabilities vary by those who are and who are not residing in public housing. The article finds that there were no differences in employment levels noted between Social Security disability program participants who do and do not live in public housing; yet, there were significant differences in types of disabilities noted among disability program participants who do and do not live in public housing. The authors also discuss policy implications and suggestions for further research.

If you would like to learn more about NIDILRR’s Outcome Domains and Support Areas, other projects or products within the Disability Demographics Support Area, or would like more information about disability demographics, please contact NARIC’s information specialists.

About mpgarcia

I'm the Bilingual Information/Media Specialist at NARIC.
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