More recent statistics on disability issues are available in the Family Resource Survey. This is an annual report that contains facts and figures on the incomes and living conditions of households and families in the UK.
About these statistics
These statistics cover the UK and are reviewed and updated year round as new data is released. Sources are given in the footnotes.
Disability Prevalence Estimates
Read our factsheet on Disability Prevalence Estimates (last updated January 2014).
There are over 11 million people with limited long-term illness, impairment, or disability [footnote 1].
The most frequently reported impairments relate to mobility, lifting or carrying [footnote 2].
The prevalence of disability increases with age. Around 6% of children are disabled, compared with 16% of working-age adults and 45% of adults over retirement age [footnote 3].
A much higher proportion of people living in families with disabled members live in poverty than people living in families where no one is disabled.
19% of people in families with at least one disabled member live in relative income poverty in terms of housing costs, compared with 15% of people in families without a disabled member [footnote 4].
21% of children in families with at least one disabled member are in poverty, a significantly higher proportion than the 16% of children in families without a disabled member.
According to the labor force survey, people with disabilities are more often employed today than in 2002, but people with disabilities are still significantly less employed than non-disabled people. In 2012, 46.3% of disabled people of working age were employed, compared with 76.4% of non-disabled people of working age. There is therefore a gap of 30.1 percentage points between disabled and non-disabled people, which is more than 2 million people. The gap has narrowed by 10 percentage points over the past 14 years and has remained stable over the past two years despite the economic climate [footnote 5].
Between 2005 and 2006 and between 2010 and 2011, the percentage of students at the end of Key Stage 4 who achieve 5 or more GCSEs in Grades A * through C will have:
increased from 66.3% to 88.9% for students with no special educational needs (SEN)
rose from 19.8% to 59.2% for students with SEN without giving a reason
increased from 8.7% to 24.9% for students with SEN with an explanation [footnote 6]
Education after 19 years
Disabled people are around three times as likely to have no qualifications and around half as likely to have a qualification compared to non-disabled people [footnote 7].
19.2% of disabled people of working age have no formal qualification, compared with 6.5% of non-disabled people of working age [footnote 8].
14.9% of disabled people of working age have a qualification compared to 28.1% of non-disabled people of working age [footnote 9].
Over a quarter of disabled people say that they do not often have choice and control over their daily lives [footnote 10]
People with disabilities are much more likely to be treated unfairly at work than non-disabled people. In 2008, 19% of disabled people were treated unfairly at work, compared to 13% of non-disabled people [footnote 11].
Around a third of disabled people experience difficulties related to their impairment of access to public, commercial and recreational goods and services [footnote 12].
Leisure, social and cultural activities
People with disabilities are still much less likely to take part in cultural, leisure and sports activities than non-disabled people. The latest data show that disabled people were more likely to have visited a historical setting, museum or gallery than in 2005-06. However, disabled people were less likely to visit a library during the same period [footnote 13].
Civic engagement and volunteering
People with disabilities are still much less likely to take part in cultural, leisure and sports activities than non-disabled people. The latest data show that disabled people visited a historical site, museum or gallery more often than between 2005 and 2006. However, disabled people were less likely to visit a library in the same period [footnote 14]
People with disabilities are significantly less likely to take up formal volunteering. Between 2010 and 2011, 23% of disabled people did formal volunteering at least once a month, compared to 25% of non-disabled people [footnote 15].
Around a fifth of disabled people state that they have difficulties in accessing traffic due to their impairment or disability [footnote 16].
Between 2004 and 2005 and between 2011 and 2012, the proportion of buses with low-floor wheelchair access increased from 52% to 88% [footnote 17].
People with disabilities are much less likely to live in households with internet access than non-disabled people. In 2011, 61% of disabled people lived in households with internet access, compared to 86% of non-disabled people [footnote 18].
Disabled people are significantly more likely to be victims of crime than non-disabled people. This gap is largest among 16 to 34 year olds, where 39% of disabled people reported being a victim of crime, compared with 28% of non-disabled people [footnote 19].
People with disabilities consider the criminal justice system (CJS) less fair than their non-disabled counterparts. This gap is greatest among 16- to 34-year-olds, where 54% of disabled people think the CJS is fair, compared to 66% of non-disabled people [footnote 20].
Although the gap in inadequate accommodation has closed in recent years, one in three households with a disabled person still lives in inadequate accommodation [footnote 21].
Every fifth disabled person who needs adjustments to their home feels that their accommodation is unsuitable [footnote 22].
Indicators for the equality of people with disabilities
The disability equality indicators are a starting point for measuring progress towards equality for people with disabilities.