216213 Disability and U.S. Families: NHIS 1999-2008

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Barbara M. Altman, PhD , Disability Statistics Consultant, Rockville, MD
Debra L. Blackwell, PhD , National Center for Health Statistics, Hyattsville, MD
Most previous disability research has focused on individual-level rather than family-level data. Our paper builds on two government reports about disability within U.S. families. A 1996 report based on the 1990 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS), which was based on the civilian noninstitutionalized population, found that 20.3 million U.S. families (29% of all families) had at least one member with a disability (i.e., an activity limitation). A 2005 report based on data from the 2000 U.S. Census on family households found that 20.9 million U.S. families (28.9%) had at least one disabled member.

While the two reports yield comparable counts and percentages, they define “family” differently. The 1996 report used a broader definition of family that included persons living alone. The 2005 report used a definition of family that excluded persons living alone or with unrelated persons (e.g., a housemate or unmarried partner).

We use the 1999-2008 NHIS to build on previous findings and examine the numbers and percentages of U.S. families containing one or more noninstitutionalized disabled persons. The NHIS definition of family allows for individuals living alone or with unrelated persons. Using a complex activity-based measure of disability, we focus on family structure, living arrangements, living quarters and other family characteristics to determine family situations of disabled people of all ages. Using 10 years of data, we also examine whether percentages of families with disabled persons increased over time. Preliminary analysis reveals an average of 24.7% of families had at least one disabled member between 1999 and 2008.

Learning Areas:
Other professions or practice related to public health
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
This presentation will describe and discuss the characteristics and living arrangements of families with one or more disabled members. It will compare the stability of prevalence rates of families with disabled members from 1999 to 2008 and will identify the prevalence of family structure or characteristics, such as poverty, that can impact care of a disabled member.

Keywords: Disability, Family Involvement

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have worked in disability research for my entire career and recently retired from the National Center for Health Statistics
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.