Activity Limitations and Disabilities
Although there are many different ways to define a disability, one common guideline is whether a person is able to perform common activities—such as walking up stairs, standing or sitting for several hours at a time, grasping small objects, or carrying items such as groceries—without assistance. In 2006, nearly 14 percent of adults reported having at least one condition that limited their ability to perform one or more of these common activities. Women were more likely to report being limited in their activities than men (15.0 versus 12.6 percent).
The percentage of adults reporting at least one activity limitation varied with age among both men and women. Only 6.0 percent of women aged 18–44 years reported any activity limitation, compared to nearly 27 percent of women aged 65–74 years and 45.0 percent of women aged 75 years or older.
The percentage of women reporting that a vision or hearing problem causes activity limitations also increased with age. Overall, 7.6 percent of women with a limitation reported a vision problem, and 3.7 percent reported that a hearing problem caused their activity limitation. Only 4.0 percent of women aged 18–44 years reported vision problems compared to 13.0 percent of women aged 75 years and older. Similarly, 3.0 percent of 18- to 44-year-old women reported a hearing problem, compared to 7.4 percent of women aged 75 years and older.
In 2006, the percentage of women reporting at least one activity limitation varied by race and ethnicity (data not shown). Non-Hispanic Black women were most likely to report at least one limitation (16.5 percent), followed by non-Hispanic White women (16.0 percent). Asian women were least likely to report any activity limitation (7.0 percent). More than 9.5 percent of Hispanic women also reported an activity limitation.