Facts and figures

We've pulled together the latest disability facts and figures in one place. 

Number of disabled people in the UK

  • There are 14.1 million disabled people in the UK.
  • One in five of us will be affected by disability at some point in our lives.

Source: Family Resources Survey: financial year 2018/19

Number of disabled people globally

  • It is estimated that people with disabilities represent at least 15 per cent of the world population or more than 1 billion individuals.

Source: World Health Organization Report on Disability, 2011 

  • There are 220 million youths with disabilities (aged 15-24) worldwide and nearly 80 per cent live in developing countries.

Source: Employment & Youth with Disabilities: Sharing Knowledge and Practices, P. Roggero, R. Tarricone, M.Nicoli and V.Mangiaterrra, 2005.


  • Over 40% of railways stations in Great Britain do not have step-free access.

Source: Leonard Cheshire, Disabled people cannot use over 40% of Great Britain’s train stations, 2018

  • 35% of disabled people say they have experienced problems using the train.

Source: ComRes polling, UK, 2018

  • Disabled people between the ages of 18-65 represent one third of social care users.

Source: Papworth Trust, Facts and Figures 2018

  • Seven in ten of households using food banks in the UK contain someone with a health condition and / or disability, with one third of households containing someone with a mental health issue.

Source: The Trussell Trust, Financial insecurity, food insecurity, and disability: The profile of people receiving emergency food assistance from The Trussell Trust Foodbank Network in Britain, 2017


  • Nearly half (49 per cent) of 25 - 64 year olds with a learning disability or difficulty in Great Britain have no qualifications.

Source: Equality and Human Rights Commission, April 2017

  • More than 260 million children in the world still do not go to school. An estimated one-third of all out-of-school children at primary level have a disability.

Source: World Bank, 2017Towards a Disability Inclusive Education, A-M Saebones et al, July 2015

  • 65 million primary and secondary school age children globally have a disability. At least half of these (30 million) children do not have a school place.

Source: Education Commission Report, 2016 

Note: these data are based on lower- and middle-income countries, not global figures. Children were of primary and lower-secondary school age and are top-end estimates.


  • At the age of 26, disabled people in the UK are four times more likely to be out of work or not in education compared to non-disabled people.

Source: The education and employment of disabled young people: Frustrated ambition, Burchardt T, 2005

  • A quarter of employers (24 per cent) say they would be less likely to employ someone with a disability.
  • 66 per cent of employers say the costs of workplace adjustments are a barrier to employing a disabled person.

Source: Leonard Cheshire/ComRes 2018 Line manager survey    

  • Access to work can pay 100 per cent of costs if applied for in the first six weeks of an individual’s employment and can fund eligible costs up to £60,700 (2020/21)

Source: Access to Work factsheet for employers, 2020

Our data portal

Our portal provides a snapshot of the data globally available on disabled people in 40 countries.

Find out more