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.

Live

  • 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

Learn

  • 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.

Work

  • 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

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One in five

One in five of us will be affected by disability at some point in our lives.

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15 per cent of the world population

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

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Half of disabled children do not have a school place

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.

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Less likely to be employed

A quarter of employers (24 per cent) say they would be less likely to employ someone with a disability.

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More likely to be out of work

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.

Our data portal

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

Find out more

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