Disability facts and figures

There are 16 million disabled people in the UK.

  • 11% of children are disabled
  • 23% of working age adults are disabled
  • 45% of pension age adults are disabled

Source: Family Resources Survey (2021 to 2022)

Disabled people in work

Some 5 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

The average disabled household faces £975 a month in extra costs.

Source: Scope - The disability price tag (2023)


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)


  • 3 out of 4 disabled people (72%) have experienced negative attitudes or behaviour in the last 5 years
  • 9 out of 10 disabled people (87%) who had experienced negative attitudes or behaviour said it had a negative effect on their daily lives

Disabled people and their families experience a range of different attitudes and behaviours, such as:

  • making assumptions or judging their capability (33%)
  • accusations of faking their impairment or not being disabled (25%)
  • staring or giving looks (19%)

Source: Attitudes and disability (2022)

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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