Technical Information About Adults with Disabilities and the SPPA

Produced jointly by the U.S. Census Bureau and the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Current Population Survey (CPS) is a nationally representative monthly survey of approximately 60,000 U.S. households. Although labor market information is central to the CPS, the survey provides a wealth of other social and economic data.

In addition to providing measures on a variety of supplementary topics, the CPS has also served as the base survey for the last three waves of the Survey of Public Participation in the Arts, including the most recent 2012 SPPA, which was conducted in May of that year. The 2012 SPPA was the first to include the CPS disability questions added in June 2008 under the aegis of the U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Disability Employment Policy.

CPS questions pertaining to disability were based, in part, on disability-related questions  in the American Community Survey (ACS). However, there are notable differences between the CPS and ACS population bases. Unlike the ACS, the CPS is restricted to the non-institutionalized, working-age (16 and older) civilian population. The SPPA, moreover, is restricted to adults ages 18 and older.

Consequently, the estimates of disability reported in this NEA ADP are not comparable to those obtained from the ACS and other sources.

Type of Disability

The CPS asks respondents about the following disabilities: (1) deaf or has serious difficulty hearing; (2) blind or has serious difficulty seeing (even when wearing glasses); (3) because of a physical, mental, or emotion condition, has serious difficulty concentrating, remembering, or making decisions; (4) has serious difficulty walking or climbing stairs; (5) has difficulty dressing or bathing; (6) because of a physical, mental, or emotional condition, has difficulty doing errands alone such as visiting a doctor's office or shopping.

SPPA sample sizes prevent reliable estimation of arts participation by type of disability. Rather, the estimates in this NEA ADP refer to U.S. adults with one or more of any of the six disabilities identified by the CPS.

Statistical Analysis

As a supplement to the CPS, the 2012 SPPA is a "complex" survey that employs a clustering technique. Statistical significance tests reported in this NEA ADP were based on a balanced repeated replication method with a Fay adjustment of 0.5. Statistical tests were based on 90 percent confidence intervals.

Given the dichotomous nature of SPPA variables (i.e.,., "yes" or "no" responses), the correlation analysis discussed in this NEA ADP are tetrachoric correlations of binary variables. 

In addition to correlation analysis, a logit model was run to test factors predicting arts attendance among disabled adults. As shown in the table below, the analysis suggests that disabled adults who took music or dance lessons in childhood are nearly 4 times more likely to attend a performing arts event than disabled adults who did not attend in childhood. Disabled adults who hold a bachelor's degree or higher level of education are 3 times more likely to attend.  

The model also suggests that disabled adults living in metropolitan areas are 35 percent more likely to attend, while women are about 14 percent more likely. However, the coefficients for both metropolitan status and gender appear statistically insignificant (at the 90 percent level). Insignificance of these two variables likely results from the small sample sizes of disabled adults, which make it difficult to model the effect of metro status and gender on performing arts attendance of disabled adults.

Age is estimated to be unrelated to performing arts attendance.[1]


Odds Ratios of Attending a Performing Arts Event as a Disabled Adult
Logit Regression Model, Balanced Repeated Replication (BRR), Fay (0.5)
Odds ratios: Standard error t P>t
Took music or dance lessons in childhood 3.9 0.977 5.55 0.00
Hold a bachelor's degree or higher level of education 3.3 1.04 3.85 0.00
Female 1.14 0.289 0.53 0.59
Lives in a metropolitan area 1.35 0.462 0.89 0.38
Age 0.98 0.007 -2.04 0.01
Sub-population  2,051
Replications 160
Design df 159
F ( 6, 154) 10.62
Prob > F 0.00
Source: 2012 Survey of Public Participation in the Arts

[1] For more information on the characteristics that predict arts attendance, please see NEA ADP #5, States of Engagement: Arts Participation by U.S. Geography.