A 1997 report by the U.S. Census Bureau categorizes 19.6% of the U.S. population as having some sort of disability. Within that group are individuals with visual, hearing, cognitive, and motor impairments. Each category includes a much wider range of conditions. For example, visual impairments include limited vision, color blindness, and blindness. Disability categories can also include temporary disabilities; for example, someone with a broken wrist may have difficulty using a mouse but still needs access to the web to meet day-to-day job requirements.
At the same time, statistics about individuals with disabilities may be misleading. As people get older, most face a disability of some kind. While nearly 20% of the total U.S. population has a disability, as the population ages, the proportion of people with disabilities grows (see Table 1). In fact, almost 75% of the population over 80 years old has a disability. Thus, accessibility is not just about opening doors — it is about keeping them open.