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Utilization and Analysis of Census 2000 Data to Inform
Disability Advocacy and Employment Policy

About the Presenter

Andrew J. Houtenville, PhD., has been a Senior Research Associate at Cornell University’s Program on Employment and Disability since March 1999. Prior to that he was a National Institute on Aging Post-doctoral Fellow at Syracuse University’s, Center for Demography and Economics of Aging.

He is currently the Principle Investigator of NIDRR-funded Field Initiated Projects to disseminate and analyze Census2000 data, and Principal Investigator of a Secondary Data Analysis Grant funded by the National Center for Education Statistics to analyze the disability content of the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) data and the selection bias introduced by the exclusion of students with disabilities from national and state assessments.

Dr. Houtenville has close work relationships with a number of nationally recognized econometrians and empirical economists who are faculty members at Cornell University. In addition to his research skills, he has several years of experience disseminating state level estimates of prevalence, employment and income (based on CPS data). Recently he developed the Cornell RRTC website, www.disabilitystatsistics.org to help relate state level statistics to a broader audience.

In recent work, Houtenville and Daly (2003) investigated the influence of demographic shifts on changes in the employment rate of people who report work limitations. Using decomposition analysis, they found that almost none of the 1990s decline in the employment rate of this population was due to shifts toward demographic sub-populations with traditionally low employment rates. Houtenville (2000a, 2000b, 2000c) focuses on patterns in state-level estimates of prevalence, employment and incomes of people with work limitations using CPS data. The prevalence of disability across states followed the “Disability Belt” (Appalachia and the Lower Mississippi Valley) that is also seen in patterns of SSI/SSDI participation. In ongoing research, Houtenville and Dr. Ruiz-Quintanilla are investigating differences in the prevalence of disability within the Hispanic population. This research is driven by early findings that revealed substantially higher prevalence rates among Puerto Ricans in the continental United States.

Using data from three nationally representative surveys, Burkhauser, Houtenville and Wittenburg (2001) provides a user’s guide to disability employment statistics. This guide highlights how and why various definitions of disability and employment/unemployment yield different results and provide an explanation for these differences. Burkhauser, Daly, Houtenville, and Nargis (2001) use repeated cross-sectional data from the CPS and NHIS to track the working-age population (aged 25-61) who report work limitations and their employment status, program participation, and income relative to people who do not report work limitations for every year over the period 1981 through 2000. The most striking finding of this research is that the employment time trends of the work limitations-based population are not statistically different from the employment trends of a broader impairment-based population. This research substantially reduced doubts about the ability of work limitation-based survey questions to address data. In an ongoing study under the Cornell Employment RRTC, Drs. Houtenville and Burkhauser are investigating the robustness of research out the Massachusetts Institute of Technology that suggest the ADA cause the employment rate of people with disabilities to decline in the 1990s.

In a report recently produced for the National Research Council, Commission on Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education, Committee on Disability Determination for Individuals with Visual Impairments, Houtenville (2001) compares the economic outcomes of working-age civilians (aged 25-61) reporting various impairments in the NHIS. Comparisons across impairment categories revealed that the economic experience of those who report being blind in both eyes is similar to the economic experience of those who report paraplegia/hemiplegia/quadriplegia and those who report cerebral palsy.

Dr. Houtenville received his Ph.D. in Economics from the University of New Hampshire in 1997, after which he spent two years as a National Institute on Aging Post-Doctoral Fellow and Adjunct Faculty at Syracuse University.

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