Disability facts and figures

Handy facts and figures from Scope's research team

How many disabled people are there in the UK?

There are 12.9 million disabled people in the UK.
  • 7 per cent of children are disabled 
  • 17 per cent of working age adults are disabled
  • 45 per cent of pension age adults are disabled

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 per cent 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
  • After housing costs, the proportion of working age disabled people living in poverty (30 per cent) is higher than the proportion of working age non-disabled people (18 per cent)

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?

  • Businesses could be missing out on a share of £420 million a week by failing to meet the needs of disabled people 

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?


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