About one million Canadian adults are estimated to have physical disabilities attributed to a musculoskeletal condition, a prevalence of 50.1/1,000 adults (all rates expressed/1,000). The specific musculoskeletal disease rates were arthritis/rheumatism (27.2), back (16.2), "other" (4.6), trauma (3.6) and bone (0.6). More women reported disabling musculoskeletal disease (61.0 versus 38.6, respectively). Prevalence rates increased with age from 6.2 among Canadians aged 15-24 years, to 264.7 aged 85 years and over. Limitations of mobility were more common than those of agility. Adults in institutions reported more disabilities than did adults in households (means 7.7 and 4.4, respectively).