R-3: Relation of Sociodemographics and Local Characteristics to Community Participation and Community Living

This project was completed in September 2016 and these resources are no longer updated.

Project Information

This secondary analysis of American Community Survey (ACS) data investigates the association of community living and participation with sociodemographic factors, features of the built housing environment, local public policies, and the nature of an individual’s disability.


Individual, household and local environmental characteristics are likely to influence community participation and community living for people with disabilities. The complex interactions of individual (disability, age, race, gender, and education), residential (housing structure, composition) and local environmental factors (location of residence, available services) influence the level to which people with disabilities are able to participate in their communities. Although the literature has documented the existence of these barriers, the studies have typically included only small samples and people in non-institutional settings, or focused on a small subset of the disability population. In addition, they have typically only examined a minimal number of the factors without assessing the complex interactions between sociodemographic, residential and local environmental levels. The project will add to the existing literature by 1) pioneering the use of the American Community Survey (ACS) as a tool for understanding people with disabilities, and 2) using a nationally representative database to examine and document the complex interaction between personal, sociodemographic, and local characteristics on community participation and community living. The ACS is an ongoing statistical survey conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau that samples a small percentage of the population every year.

This project was funded under the RRTC on Community Living under a grant from the Department of Education, National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR) grant number H133B110006.

Project Staff

Andrew Houtenville
Center Director, CMDR
Research Director