Disability facts and figures

Handy facts and figures from Scope's research team

How many disabled people are there in the UK?

There are 13.9 million disabled people in the UK.
  • 8 per cent of children are disabled 
  • 19 per cent of working age adults are disabled
  • 45 per cent of pension age adults are disabled
Source: Family Resources Survey 2016/17

How many disabled people are in employment? 

Over 3.4 million disabled people are in employment.

Source: Labour Force Survey April to June 2017

Disabled people are more than twice as likely to be unemployed as non-disabled people.

Source: Labour Force Survey April to June 2017

Why is employment of disabled people so important?

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

Source: Scope ‘Enabling Work’ (2015)

Are disabled people more likely to live in poverty?

Life costs you £570 more on average a month if you're disabled.

Source: Scope - The disability price tag

After housing costs, the proportion of working age disabled people living in poverty (28 per cent) is higher than the proportion of working age non-disabled people (18 per cent).

Source: Households Below Average Income (HBAI) 2015/16

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.

Source: Fraud and Error in the Benefit System 2015-16 preliminary estimates

What is the spending power of disabled people?

The spending power of families with at least one disabled person is estimated by the Government to be over £200 billion a year.

Source: Department for Work and Pensions

Have attitudes to disabled people changed since the London Paralympics?

A year on from the Game in 2013, 70 per cent of disabled people through the coverage of the Paralympic Games had a positive effect on public perceptions.

Source: Scope survey (2013)

But, four years on from London 2012 nearly half (43%) of the British public don’t know anyone who is disabled and the majority (67%) feel awkward around disability.

Source: Scope (2014) ‘Current Attitudes to Disabled People’

What is the most common disability? 

The most commonly reported impairments by disabled people are:
  • Mobility (52%)
  • Stamina, breathing, fatigue (38%)
  • Dexterity (27%).
Source: Family Resources Survey 2015-16

Where can I find official statistics on disability?

Visit the UK Government website 

If you are a journalist looking for disability facts and figures, call the Scope press office on 020 7619 7200 or 07843 467 948 out of hours. You can also email pressoffice@scope.org.uk.

Contact the press office

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

Email press@scope.org.uk