About one in five US residents—19%—reported some level of disability in 2005, according to a recent Census Bureau report. These 54.4 million Americans are roughly equal to the combined total populations of California and Florida.

Both the number and percentage of people with disabilities were higher than in 2002, the last time the Census Bureau collected such information. At that time, 51.2 million, or 18%, reported a disability.

Among people 15 and older, 7.8 million (3%) had difficulty hearing a normal conversation, including 1 million being unable to hear at all. Although not part of the definition of disability used in the report, 4.3 million people reported using a hearing aid.

Among those with a disability, 35 million, or 12% of the population, were classified as having a severe disability, according to Americans With Disabilities: 2005.

The chances of having a disability increase with age: 18.1 million people 65 and older, or 52%, had a disability. Of this number, 12.9 million, or 37%, had a severe disability. For people 80 and older, the disability rate was 71%, with 56% having a severe disability.

[Source: Medical News Today]