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Why Public Health Researchers Should Consider Using Disability Data from the American Community Survey

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The United States (US) federal government allocates hundreds of billions of dollars to provide resources to Americans with disabilities, older adults, and the poor. The American Community Survey (ACS) influences the distribution of those resources. The specific aim of the project is to introduce health researchers to Public Use Microdata Sample file from 2009 to 2011. The overall goal of our paper is to promote the use of ACS data relevant to disability status. This study provides prevalence estimates of three disability related items for the population at or over the age of 15 years who reside in one of the continental states. When population weights are applied to the 7,198,221 individuals in the sample under analysis, they are said to represent 239,641,088 of their counterparts in the US population. Detailed tabulations by state (provided as Microsoft Excel® spreadsheets in ACS output) clearly show disability prevalence varies from state-to-state. Because analyses of the ACS data have the ability to influence resources aiding individuals with physical mobility challenges, its use should be promoted. Particular attention should be given to monetary allocations which will improve accessibility of the existing built environment for the individuals with mobility impairment.

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Correspondence to Lori A. Hoepner.

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Siordia, C., Hoepner, L.A. & Lewis, A.N. Why Public Health Researchers Should Consider Using Disability Data from the American Community Survey. J Community Health 43, 738–745 (2018).

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