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Data Definitions

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The following information provides details on the data available from RTC:Rural’s Disability Counts Data Finder. The data used covers the years indicated and consists of the most recent 5-year estimates for all counties in the US.

American Community Survey Disability Indicator Questions

The American Community Survey (ACS) uses questions related to difficulty and functional impairment to identify individuals who may experience a disability (ACS Table S1810). The data presented from the Disability Counts Data Finder for the different types of disability reflects the following responses:

Disability Rates among Certain Populations

According to the ACS definitions, if a respondent aged 15 years and older answered "yes" to any of the six disability indicator questions listed above, they are classified as having a disability. For children under 5 years old, only hearing and vision difficulty are used to determine disability status. For children between the ages of 5 and 14, disability status is determined from hearing, vision, cognitive, mobility (i.e. ambulatory), and self-care difficulties.

Employment and Poverty Status of People with Disabilities

The following information is from the American Community Survey 5-year data employment estimates (Table C18120) and poverty estimates (Table C18130) by disability type. These indicate employment and poverty status for those people who answered "yes" to one of the six disability indicator questions listed above.

Institutionalized populations

Institutionalized populations Limitations

The US Census bureau does not provide public access to data on disabled residents in group quarters at the county level. It also does not provide public data on detailed types of group quarters (both institutional and non-institutional) at any geography. Therefore, the estimates and population counts of people living in many types of congregate settings are unknown. For example, we do not know how many people are living in group homes for people with intellectual or developmental disabilities, psychiatric facilities, intermediate care centers, border detention facilities and more.

Metropolitan Status

The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) classifies counties as based on residential population and communing patters.

Race and Ethnicity

MOE (Margin of Error)

the MOE (Margin of Error) illustrates the reliability of data by indicating the possible range of values for a particular estimate; the larger the range, the less reliable the estimate.


We are happy to provide technical assistance if you have questions about the data included in the Disability Counts Data Finder, or how to use it. Please feel free to Contact Us!

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