Coronavirus: information and updates

Disability facts and figures

There are 14.6 million disabled people in the UK. 

  • 9% of children are disabled
  • 21% of working age adults are disabled
  • 42% of pension age adults are disabled

Source: Family Resources Survey (2020 to 21)

Disabled people in work

More than 4.7 million disabled people are in work.

The employment rate of disabled people is 53%. Compared to 82% of non-disabled people.

Disabled people are almost twice as likely to be unemployed as non-disabled people, and 3 times as likely to be economically inactive.

The disability employment gap

The disability employment gap is 29%. 

The disability employment gap measures the difference between the employment rate of disabled people, compared to that of non-disabled people.

Source: Labour Force Survey October to December 2021

Extra costs

Life costs you £583 more on average a month if you're disabled.

Families of disabled children on average, face extra costs of £581 a month

For almost a quarter (24%) of families with disabled children, extra costs amount to over £1,000 a month.

Source: Scope - The disability price tag (2019)


After housing costs, the proportion of working age disabled people living in poverty is 27%. Which is higher than the proportion of working age non-disabled people at 19%.

Source: Scope's analysis based on Households Below Average Income (2019 to 20) 

Spending power

The total spending power of families with at least 1 disabled person is estimated at £274 billion a year.

Source: Scope's analysis based on Household Below Average Income (2017 to 18)


  • 1 in 3 disabled people feel there’s a lot of disability prejudice.
  • 1 in 3 people see disabled people as being less productive than non-disabled people.
  • In 2000, 37% of disabled people and 34% of non-disabled people felt that there was a lot of prejudice around disability. The gap trebled by 2017, with 32% of disabled people and 22% of non-disabled people feeling there is a lot of prejudice against disabled people.

Source: Scope - Disability Perception Gap (2018)

87% of parents of disabled children up to the age of 5 have felt judged by members of the public when they go out with their disabled child.

Source: Scope - Now is the time research (2018)

Government statistics on disability

UK Government disability facts and figures

Scope's research work

Scope carries out research to develop policy so we can campaign to create a fairer society for disabled people.

Research, policy and campaigning work

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