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Psychological disability

Codes and Frequencies

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Explore how IPUMS created this variable


      class Dispsyc:public Editor {

    Dispsyc(VarPointer varInfo) : Editor(varInfo) {}
    void edit() {

        long a = getRecoded();
        switch (dataSet) {
        case dataset_id::ug2002a:
            if (UG2002A_0416() == 23)
                a = 1;
        case dataset_id::jm1991a:
            if (JM1991A_0414() == 99 && JM1991A_0412() == 9)
                a = 0;
        case dataset_id::uy2006a:
            if (UY2006A_0816() == 2 && (UY2006A_0818() == 1 || UY2006A_0819() == 1))
                a = 1;
        case dataset_id::zm2010a:
            if (ZM2010A_0473() == 99 && ZM2010A_0417() == 9)
                a = 0;
        case dataset_id::mu1990a:
			if (MU1990A_0412() < 98 && MU1990A_0413() < 98 && MU1990A_0414() < 98)
				a = 2;
            if (MU1990A_0412() == 7 || MU1990A_0413() == 7 || MU1990A_0414() == 7)
                a = 1;
			if (MU1990A_0412() == 98 || MU1990A_0413() == 98 || MU1990A_0414() == 98)
                a = 9;		
        case dataset_id::mu2000a:
			if (MU2000A_0416() < 98 && MU2000A_0417() < 98 && MU2000A_0419() < 98)
				a = 2;
            if (MU2000A_0416() == 7 || MU2000A_0417() == 7 || MU2000A_0419() == 7)
                a = 1;
			if (MU2000A_0416() == 98 || MU2000A_0417() == 98 || MU2000A_0419() == 98)
                a = 9;		




DISPSYC indicates whether the person was disabled due to mental illness.

Comparability — Index

Burkina Faso
Costa Rica
Dominican Republic
Sierra Leone
South Africa
Trinidad and Tobago

Comparability — General

The variable is largely comparable across countries, aiming to identify persons whose mental health prevented them from carrying out normal activities.

Several samples have variables that explicitly encompass both diminished mental capacity and psychological disability. They are not included in this variable but can be found among the unharmonized source variables.

Persons with multiple (non-specified) impairments are coded "Unknown" in all samples in which they are identified.

Comparability — Benin [top]

The 2013 census question identifies persons with a mental illness.

Comparability — Botswana [top]

The 2001 and 2011 census questions identify persons with a mental illness or intellectual impairment; both samples indicate that it should be distinguished from mental retardation.

The definition in 2001 refers to persons who have abnormal perceptions associated with delusional misinterpretation of events, while in 2011 it intends to identify persons showing strange behavior who are acting in a different way than other people.

Comparability — Burkina Faso [top]

In 1996, the question identifies persons suffering from "insanity". The samples do not distinguish between temporary and permanent disabilities.

Comparability — Cambodia [top]

The 2013 instructions define mental illness to include exhibiting various behaviors as well as loss of memory or depression associated with old age.

Comparability — Cameroon [top]

In the 2005 sample, a person is classified as mentally disabled if he/she does not have complete mental autonomy due to a mental illness.

Comparability — Colombia [top]

The question asked about mental or emotional problems that created problems for relationships with others.

Comparability — Costa Rica [top]

Both samples identify "mental illness".

Comparability — Dominican Republic [top]

In 2010, the variable identifies persons with permanent mental problems. There is a separate unharmonized source variable for permanent difficulties remembering or concentrating.

Comparability — Ecuador [top]

In the 2010 sample, a person is classified as psychologically disabled if he/she has a mental illness, more specifically, a psychiatric illness.

Comparability — Ethiopia [top]

In 2007 sample the "yes" response refers to "mental disturbance" as distinct from difficulty learning. The 1984 and 1994 censuses explicitly combined psychological and intellectual disabilities and they are therefore not included in this variable.

Comparability — Haiti [top]

In the 2003 sample, a person is classified as psychologically disabled if he/she has a mental illness or problem.

Comparability — Iraq [top]

The questionnaire response was "insane" as opposed to a variety of physical disabilities enumerated on the form. There was no separate response for mental deficiency.

Comparability — Ireland [top]

The variable indicates whether a person has a long-lasting psychological or emotional condition. The question is only asked of persons present at the time of the census.

Comparability — Jamaica [top]

In both samples, the variable indicates mental illness (could range from depression to insanity). It is defined as a condition that restricts the ability to perform activities in the "manner considered normal for a human being".

Those with multiple disabilities, due to the inability to determine the type of disability, are grouped in the unknown category. See DISABLED to identify these cases.

There are slight variations on the question universes but the samples are otherwise comparable.

Comparability — Lesotho [top]

The 2006 question identifies persons with a mental illness.

Comparability — Mali [top]

In both samples the variable identifies "mental disorders" that limit health or productivity. There is no language for the inclusion or exclusion of mental retardation.

Comparability — Mauritius [top]

The 1990 and 2000 harmonized variables are constructed from the first, second, and third reported disabilities. The 1990 sample refers to those with "mental" disabilities while the 2000 sample refers to "behavior" disabilities. The 2011 sample reports different levels of difficulty with respect to "disturbances of behavior", where persons with any level of difficulty are classified as "yes". The difficulty levels are preserved in the corresponding unharmonized source variable.

Comparability — Nepal [top]

Mental illness is defined separately from intellectual disability and includes depression and other conditions causing difficulty in daily life. Persons with more than one disability condition are coded "unknown", because the exact disabilities in those cases are not known.

Comparability — Panama [top]

In the 2010 sample, a person with mental problems (mental disorder) is a person with impaired general and specific mental functions that are originated in organic mental disorders, autism, schizophrenia, psychosis, personality disorders, Alzheimer, Parkinson's disease, among others; and people with all types of dementia; any deficiency that prevents them from carrying out activities of daily living, socializing with other people, among others. This person has difficulties interacting with others (family, friends and strangers), because she has mental or nervous problems.

Comparability — Paraguay [top]

The 1992 census response refers to behavioral disability. In 2002 the wording was "dementia/insanity".

Comparability — Peru [top]

The data identify "mental illness", distinct from retardation. The question was not asked in the 2007 census.

Comparability — Sierra Leone [top]

The variable indicates if the person's most serious disability is mental illness. Therefore, a person may go unrecorded yet still have mental illness because it is not his/her most "serious" disability (subjective).

Comparability — South Africa [top]

The 2001 sample asked about behavioral or psychological problems that prevented the persons "full participation in life activities". The 2007 sample lacked that specific language, but it did specify that the condition lasted 6 months or more. In 2007, the census did not ask the question of persons residing in institutions.

Comparability — Suriname [top]

The 2012 sample asks about mental chronic diseases.

Comparability — Thailand [top]

The variable indicates "insanity".

Comparability — Trinidad and Tobago [top]

The Trinidad and Tobago 2000 and 2011 samples asked whether the respondent had a psychological disability. The disability is defined in 2000 as any psychological or emotional behavioral impairment, while in 2011 it is required to be a clinical mental disease.

Comparability — Uganda [top]

The census considered a condition a disability if it prevented normal activities and was expected to last 6 months or more.

Comparability — Uruguay [top]

The 2006 sample identifies persons with permanent limitations that make it difficult to relate with others due to alterations of mental functions (such as psychosis, autism, dementia, etc.), persons that currently or periodically receive psychological attention, or persons currently under psychiatric treatment. In order to qualify as disability, these limitations should affect the person's ability to perform daily life activities. Data are only available for persons interviewed in the third trimester of the household survey.

Comparability — Zambia [top]

The 2000 and 2010 samples identify persons with mental illnesses. The variable does not consider mental retardation or intellectual disabilities.

In 2010, persons with more than one disability are coded as "Unknown" because the exact disabilities in those cases are not known.

Comparability — Zimbabwe [top]

The 2012 question identifies persons with a mental illness.


  • Benin 2013: All persons
  • Botswana 2001: All persons
  • Botswana 2011: All persons
  • Burkina Faso 1996: All persons
  • Cambodia 2013: Present persons
  • Cameroon 2005: Residents of the household
  • Colombia 2005: All persons
  • Costa Rica 2000: All persons
  • Costa Rica 2011: All persons
  • Dominican Republic 2010: All persons
  • Ecuador 2001: All persons
  • Ecuador 2010: All persons
  • Ethiopia 2007: All persons
  • Haiti 2003: All persons
  • Iraq 1997: All persons
  • Ireland 2011: Present persons
  • Jamaica 1991: Persons in private households
  • Jamaica 2001: All persons
  • Lesotho 2006: All persons
  • Mali 1987: All persons
  • Mali 1998: All persons
  • Mauritius 1990: All persons
  • Mauritius 2000: All persons
  • Mauritius 2011: All persons
  • Nepal 2011: All persons
  • Panama 2010: All persons
  • Paraguay 1992: All persons
  • Paraguay 2002: All persons
  • Peru 1993: All persons
  • Philippines 1990: All persons
  • Philippines 1995: All persons
  • Philippines 2000: All persons
  • Sierra Leone 2004: All persons
  • South Africa 2001: All persons
  • South Africa 2007: Persons not residing in institutions
  • Suriname 2012: All persons
  • Thailand 1990: All persons
  • Trinidad and Tobago 2000: All persons
  • Trinidad and Tobago 2011: Persons in private households living in Trinidad and Tobago
  • Uganda 2002: All persons
  • Uruguay 2006: Persons in third trimester
  • Zambia 2000: All persons
  • Zambia 2010: Present persons and visitors
  • Zimbabwe 2012: All persons


  • Benin: 2013
  • Botswana: 2001, 2011
  • Burkina Faso: 1996
  • Cambodia: 2013
  • Cameroon: 2005
  • Canada: 1911
  • Colombia: 2005
  • Costa Rica: 2000, 2011
  • Dominican Republic: 2010
  • Ecuador: 2001, 2010
  • Ethiopia: 2007
  • Haiti: 2003
  • Iceland: 1901
  • Iraq: 1997
  • Ireland: 2011
  • Jamaica: 1991, 2001
  • Lesotho: 2006
  • Mali: 1987, 1998
  • Mauritius: 1990, 2000, 2011
  • Nepal: 2011
  • Panama: 2010
  • Paraguay: 1992, 2002
  • Peru: 1993
  • Philippines: 1990, 1995, 2000
  • Sierra Leone: 2004
  • South Africa: 2001, 2007
  • Suriname: 2012
  • Sweden: 1880, 1890, 1900, 1910
  • Thailand: 1990
  • Trinidad and Tobago: 2000, 2011
  • Uganda: 2002
  • United Kingdom: 1851a, 1851b, 1861a, 1861b, 1881a, 1881b, 1891a, 1891b, 1901a, 1901b, 1911
  • United States: 1850a, 1850b, 1860, 1870, 1880b
  • Uruguay: 2006
  • Zambia: 2000, 2010
  • Zimbabwe: 2012