Disability facts and figures

Handy facts and figures from Scope's research team

How many disabled people are there in the UK?

There are 11.9 million disabled people in the UK. This is made up of:
  • 0.9 million disabled children 
  • 6 million disabled people of working age 
  • 5 million disabled people of State Pension age

How many disabled people are in employment? 

  • Over 3.3 million disabled people are in employment
  • Disabled people are more than twice as likely to be unemployed as non-disabled people 

Why is employment of disabled people so important?

  • A 10% rise in the employment rate amongst disabled adults would contribute an extra £12 billion to the Exchequer by 2030

Are disabled people more likely to live in poverty?

  • Life costs you £550 more on average a month if you're disabled
  • Working age disabled people are almost twice as likely as non-disabled people to live in poverty 

How much does disability benefits fraud cost?

  • Disability benefits have the lowest levels of fraud – Disability Living Allowance (DLA) fraud represents 0.5 per cent of the total amount spent on this benefit, or £60 million

What is the spending power of disabled people?

  • Disabled people’s spending power (sometimes known as the purple pound) is a market worth £420 million a week

Have attitudes to disabled people changed since the London Paralympics?

  • Two-thirds of people feel awkward around disability
  • Between 2012 and 2015, there were an estimated 70,000 hate crimes against disabled people

What is the most common disability? 

The most commonly reported impairments by disabled people are:
  • Mobility (55%)
  • Stamina, breathing, fatigue (38%)
  • Dexterity (28%)

Where can I find official statistics on disability?


Contact the press office

Call the press office on 020 7619 7200 or 07843 467 948 out of hours

Email press@scope.org.uk