Analysis of Disability for Non-institutionalized Older Adults by Age and Race

Creation Year: 
2016

Author(s)

Andy Sharma
Northwestern University

In this applied demography and policy lab, students examine how disability varies by age and race for older adults from the 2008 and 2012 American Community Surveys. Students obtain a better understanding of population health by learning about different types of disabilities. Students also write a full policy report with the goal of informing health policy-makers about recent trends and areas of concern. Students with advanced training in statistics and social sciences should utilize library sources to access peer-reviewed articles which examine disability among older adults.

Learning Goals

After completing this module, students will be able to:

  • Access data from the American Community Survey.
  • Examine health attributes based on demographic characteristics (i.e., disability by age and race).
  • Use this information to understand older adult population health trends.
  • Apply quantitative data analysis to write a short policy report with recommendations.

Context for Use

This assignment is suitable for courses in demography, health economics, and public health. The class size is approximately 20 students. Students work individually on all portions of the assignment. Students must integrate descriptive results from the module into a short policy report which addresses (1) why disability is important from a population health perspective, (2) how disability rates vary by age, (3) how disability rates differ across race, and (4) how this information is useful for policy. For (4), students will need to utilize library sources to obtain peer-reviewed articles which expand upon disability, population health, and policy. 

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