Disability: the statistics

Disability Statistics in the UK

The UK Government reports on disability in the UK statistics are:

  • There are over 11 million people with a limiting long term illness, impairment or disability.
  • The prevalence of disability rises with age. Around 6% of children are disabled, compared to 16% of working age adults and 45% of adults over State Pension age.

Disability affects lifestyle; over a quarter of disabled people say they do not frequently have choice and control over their daily lives. This is what we, at Visualise, are working to change by making services more inclusive.

Disability across the world and its impact

1 billion people identify as having a disability, roughly 15% of the worlds population.

According to findings by the World Health Organisation (WHO), rates of disability are increasing:

  • Due to population ageing and increases in chronic health conditions, among other causes.
  • People with disabilities have less access to health care services and therefore experience unmet health care needs.

The WHO have more information about disability on their website.

Visual Impairment in the UK

  • 2 million people in the UK live with sight loss and this is predicted to increase to 4 million by 2050
  • Worldwide, 285 million people have a visual impairment
  • 75% of guide dog owners have been refused access to services

Mental Health in The UK

  • 1 in 4 people in the UK will experience a mental health problem each year
  • Suicide is the most common cause of death for men aged 20 to 49 in England and Wales
  • 1 in 15 people have attempted suicide in lifetime
  • 9 out of 10 people living with mental health illness will experience stigma or discrimination

General Disability Statistics

  • Only 8% of disabled people use a wheelchair
  • 46% of disabled people are employed as opposed to 76% of non-disabled people
  • Disabled people’s spending power is estimated to be £2012 billion


  • 371 million people in the world have diabetes
  • 3.5 million people have been diagnosed with diabetes in the UK
  • Diabetes prevalence in the UK is estimated to rise to 5 million by 2025
  • Type 2 diabetes has been growing at a particularly high rate and is now one of the world’s most common long term health conditions