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Disability Statistics: Information, Charts, Graphs and Tables

  • Revised/Updated: 2019/04/12
  • Synopsis : World health and disability statistics including data and facts on age, area, types, and population numbers of people with disabilities.

Having a disability places you in the world's largest minority group.

90% of children with disabilities in developing countries do not attend school - (UNESCO).


Main Document

Having a disability places you in the world's largest minority group. Currently around 10% of the world's population, or roughly 650 million people, live with a disability. In most of the OECD countries, females have higher rates of disability than males.

As the population ages this figure is expected to increase. Eighty per cent of persons with disabilities live in developing countries, according to the UN Development Program (UNDP). The World Bank estimates that 20 per cent of the world's poorest people have some kind of disability, and tend to be regarded in their own communities as the most disadvantaged. Statistics show a steady increase in these numbers. The reasons include:

  • Emergence of new diseases and other causes of impairment, such as HIV/AIDS, stress and alcohol and drug abuse;
  • Increasing life span and numbers of elderly persons, many of whom have impairments;
  • Projected increases in the number of disabled children over the next 30 years, particularly in the developing countries, due to malnutrition, diseases, child labor and other causes;
  • Armed conflict and violence. For every child killed in warfare, three are injured and acquire a permanent form of disability. In some countries, up to a quarter of disabilities result from injuries and violence, says WHO.

In countries with life expectancies over 70 years of age, people spend on average about 8 years, or 11.5 per cent of their life span, living with disabilities.

The two-way link between poverty and disability creates a vicious circle. Poor people are more at risk of acquiring a disability because of lack of access to good nutrition, health care, sanitation, as well as safe living and working conditions. Once this occurs, people face barriers to the education, employment, and public services that can help them escape poverty.

Dr. Amartya Sen pointed out in his keynote address at the World Bank's conference on disability, the poverty line for disabled people should take into account the extra expenses they incur in exercising what purchasing power they do have. A study in the United Kingdom found that the poverty rate for disabled people was 23.1 percent compared to 17.9 percent for non-disabled people, but when extra expenses associated with being disabled were considered, the poverty rate for people with disabilities shot up to 47.4 percent.

Disability rates in the population are higher among groups with lower educational level in the countries of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). On average, 19 per cent of less educated people have disabilities, compared to 11 per cent among the better educated.

Woman sitting at a table attending a conference on disability statistics - Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash.
Woman sitting at a table attending a conference on disability statistics - Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash.

Ninety per cent of children with disabilities in developing countries do not attend school, says UNESCO. In the OECD countries, students with disabilities in higher education remain under-represented, although their numbers are on the increase, says the OECD.

1991 Brazilian census reported only a 1 percent to 2 percent disability rate, but the 2001 census recorded a 14.5 percent disability rate. Similar jumps in the measured rate of disability have occurred in Turkey (12.3 percent) and Nicaragua (10.1 percent).

Persons with disabilities are more likely to be victims of violence or rape, according to a 2004 British study, and less likely to obtain police intervention, legal protection or preventive care. Women and girls with disabilities are particularly vulnerable to abuse. A survey in Orissa, India, found that virtually all of the women and girls with disabilities were beaten at home, 25 per cent of women with intellectual disabilities had been raped and 6 per cent of women with disabilities had been forcibly sterilized. Research indicates that violence against children with disabilities occurs at annual rates at least 1.7 times greater than for their peers without disabilities.

Recent Disability Statistics and Charts

U.S. Disability Statistics by State, County, City and Age

Average Life Span Expectancy Chart by World Countries

Population of Cities and Towns in the United States (PDF)

World Population Chart - Countries and Continents

Fundamental Rights Of Persons With Disability Statistics and Charts

Other Disability Statistics and Data Tools

DHDS, CDC's innovative disability and health data tool - Find data on a range of health indicators for states, and compare the health of adults with disabilities and without disabilities. Find how a state is performing across a variety of health indicators, such as vaccine coverage and preventive services, for people with disabilities compared with people without disabilities?

IndexMundi - Contains detailed country statistics, charts, and maps compiled from multiple sources. You can explore and analyze thousands of indicators organized by region, country, topic, industry sector, and type.

American FactFinder - Provides access to data about the United States, Puerto Rico and the Island Areas. Find popular facts (population, income, etc.) and frequently requested data about your community. The data in American FactFinder come from several censuses and surveys.

DisabilityStatistics.org - An online Resource for U.S. Disability Statistics provides detailed information on dozens of national level disability data sources including U.S. national and state-level reports presenting prevalence and relative economic status of people with disabilities.

2017 Annual Disability Statistics Compendium - The Compendium gathers the most recent national statistics on people with disabilities from various U.S. federal programs and agencies. The Compendium provides current statistics and time trends related to the prevalence of disabilities as well as key indicators on employment, health, community living, and other outcomes of importance in monitoring the well-being of individuals with disabilities. A series of tables are presented with counts and percentages of people with disabilities in various programs or policy relevant groups.

Local Disability Data for Planners (site appears to be down) - This website provides housing and population tables at the county (or group of counties) level. The population tables provide summary statistics by disability status regarding: age, race, gender, ethnicity, education, labor force participation, transportation to work, and poverty. Disability housing tables The housing tables provide summary statistics for households with and without members with disabilities regarding size of household, building type, household ownership and number of household vehicles.

Publications

1 - - Annual U.S. disability employment statistics chart by state reveals Americans with disabilities saw a slowdown in job gains compared to the previous year | 2019/02/16

2 - - U.S. CDC figures show 1 in 4 US adults now live with a disability, with cognitive disability most common in younger adults and mobility disabilities most common for others | 2018/08/19

3 - - By 2030 all U.S. baby boomers will be older than age 65, this will expand the size of the senior population so 1 in 5 residents will then be of retirement age | 2018/08/03

4 - - Report conducted by The Intellectual Disability Supplement to The Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing (IDS-TILDA) by academics from Trinity College Dublin | 2017/12/07


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