navigation
nav
Search
nav nav nav nav
research studies

 

 

Guide to Terms, Tables, and Descriptors

Throughout the reports, a number of terms are used to classify survey respondents and their practices. Many of these are defined below to help ensure that readers interpret the statistics and the text appropriately.

Tables and Figures: Interesting variations in the patterns in tables and charts will be displayed throughout the report.

The pink cells in the tables highlight the smallest percentages in their respective rows, and the green cells highlight the largest percentages. Only rows for which the difference between the largest and smallest percentages are at least 6 percentage points have highlighted cells.

Practice Areas: Study respondents were asked to identify the practice area that describes the focus of their social work practice within their primary employment

Aging: Twelve percent reported Aging as their practice area.

Children and Family: Thirteen percent reported Child Welfare/Family as their practice area, making it the second largest practice area identified in the study. Six percent reported Adolescents as their practice area.

Behavioral Health: Those who reported either Mental Health or Addictions as their practice area were classified as Behavioral Health social workers. Thirty-seven percent reported Mental Health as their practice area, making it the largest practice area idenified in the study.

Health: Thirteen percent reported Health as their practice area, making it the third largest practice area identified in the larger study of social workers.

Not Practice Area (NPA): Social workers who reported that the focus of their social work practice in their primary employment was something other than: Aging; Child Welfare/Family; Adolescents; Mental Health; Addictions; or Medical Health. Abbreviated as “NPA”.

BSW: Highest reported degree with a social work major at the bachelor’s level.

MSW: Highest reported degree with a social work major at the master’s level or higher.

Metropolitan area: This report uses Rural-Urban Commuting Area (RUCA) codes1 and defines a metropolitan area as a county with a RUCA code of 1, 2, or 3. These RUCA codes are based on the Census 2000 version of metropolitan (metro) and non-metropolitan (non-metro) areas released by the federal Office of Management and Budget. This is a classification system often used to define urban and rural America. Under the new "core-based statistical area" system, metro areas are defined for all urbanized areas regardless of total area population. In addition, inclusion as an outlying county is based on a single commuting threshold of 25 percent with no "metropolitan character" requirement. For more information, see: http://www.ers.usda.gov/Briefing/Rurality/NewDefinitions/

Micropolitan area: This report uses Rural-Urban Commuting Area (RUCA) codes* and defines a micropolitan area as a county with a RUCA code of 4, 5, or 6. These RUCAs are based on the federal Office of Management and Budget definition of a micropolitan area as any non-metro county with an urban cluster of at least 10,000 persons or more. As with metro areas, outlying counties are included if commuting to the central county is 25 percent or higher, or if 25 percent of the employment in the outlying county is made up of commuters from the central county. For more information, see: http://www.ers.usda.gov/Briefing/Rurality/MicropolitanAreas/

Small town: This report uses Rural-Urban Commuting Area (RUCA) codes* and defines a small town area as a county with a RUCA code of 7, 8, or 9. The RUCA designation is based upon size of the urban cluster within the county to which or within which people travel to work. If the urban cluster has a population of 2,500 to 9,999, this is defined as a small town. For more information, see: http://www.ers.usda.gov/briefing/Rurality/RuralUrbanCommutingAreas/

Rural area: This report uses Rural-Urban Commuting Area (RUCA) codes* and defines a rural area as a county with a RUCA code of 10. Rural areas are those areas in which the primary commuting flow is not to an urbanized area or to an urban cluster. For more information, see: http://www.ers.usda.gov/briefing/Rurality/RuralUrbanCommutingAreas/

Older Adults: Defines “Older Adults” as those ages 55 years or older. Reported the % of their total caseload that were “55 years or older”

“Young old”: Demographers define the “young old” as those ages 65-74. In this document the “young old” is defined more broadly to mean those ages 55-84.

“Older old”: Demographers define the “older old” as those ages 85 and older. This is the definition used in this document.

Children/ Adolescents: Defines “children/adolescents” as those ages 21 years or younger. Reported the % of their total caseload that were “21 years or younger”.

Entry into social work: Entry into social work is defined as the year a social worker received his/ her initial social work degree at the baccalaureate level or higher, regardless of whether they worked in social services before receiving their initial social work degree. Year of entry is not computed for licensed social workers that do not hold a degree in social work.

Years experience: The total of reported years practicing as a BSW and reported years practicing as a MSW. Years experience is not available for licensed social workers who hold neither a BSW nor a MSW.

1 http://www.ers.usda.gov/Briefing/Rurality/RuralUrbanCommutingAreas/
* Ibid

Return to National Study of Licensed Social Workers Readers’ Guide