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Small Area Estimation of Dependency: Final Report

Publication Date

Health planning efforts for the elderly have been hampered by the lack of reliable estimates of the non-institutionalized long-term care population. Until recently national estimates were virtually non-existent, and reliable local estimates remain unavailable. With the recent publication of several national surveys, however, synthetic estimates can be made for states and counties by using multivariate methods to model functional dependency at the national level, and then applying the predicted probability to corresponding state and county demographic and contextual data. Using the 1984 National Health Interview Survey's Supplement on Aging and the 1986 Area Health Resources File System, the authors produced log-linear regressions models that included demographic and contextual variables as predictors of functional dependency among the non-institutionalized elderly. The authors found race, sex, age, and the percent of the elderly population in the community who reside in poverty to be significant predictors of functional dependency. Applying these models to 1986 Medicare Enrollment Statistics, the authors produced estimates of two levels of functional dependency for all states and a sample of counties. [48 PDF pages]