Pub. date: 2008 | Online Pub. Date: May 28, 2008 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412963930 | Print ISBN: 9781412941655 | Online ISBN: 9781412963930| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Disability and Disabled
Approximately 54 million people, one in five Americans, have a disability, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The size of this population group would rank people with disabilities among the largest minority groups in the United States. Disability knows no limitation by race, ethnicity, religion, or gender. It is an experience that touches upon every corner of society. Indeed, as average life spans trend upward, disability prevalence is also increasing as a natural phenomenon of aging. However, people with disabilities remain in the shadows of the general public, largely ignored as people with an undesirable characteristic and condemned to inequality of opportunity. This entry offers insight into the disability identity and its future direction. Conventionally, disability refers to an individual's physical or mental limitations. For example, the World Health Organization defines disability as any restriction or lack of ability (resulting from an impairment) to perform an activity in the manner ...