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Duration of functionally limiting intellectual disability: Number of units

Codes and Frequencies

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For Sample Adults age 18+ who, without using special equipment, had any difficulty with one or more functional activities (FLANY), and for whom mental retardation was reported as a condition causing a functional activity limitation (FLRET), FLRETNO reports the number of time units the respondent stated when reporting the duration of the mental retardation.

Data on the duration of the limiting mental retardation were collected via the question, "How long have you had [mental retardation]?" Respondents could answer this open-ended question using the time unit of their choice (i.e., days, weeks, months, years, or since birth). The original responses to the question are reported in two complementary variables, FLRETTP (which specifies the time unit) and FLRETNO (which reports the number of such units). As noted in the Codebooks for 1997 forward, "years are topcoded at 85." For the NHIS public use files, the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) recoded the results from these two variables to create two other variables using standard time units: years (FLRETY) and groups of months (FLRETMO).


FLRETNO is completely comparable for 1997-2010.

Beginning in 2011, the phrase "mental retardation" was replaced with the phrase "intellectual disability, also known as mental retardation" in the survey question associated with FLRETNO. Apart from this change in wording, the variable is completely comparable for 1997 forward.


  • 1997-2017: Sample adults age 18+ who have difficulty with activities due to mental retardation/intellectual disability.


  • 1997-2017