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Key facts

The following statistics may prove useful to journalists writing articles about disability, the ageing population, carers or the disability equipment industry.

People with disabilities

  • There are around 13.3 million disabled people in the UK (almost one in five of the population) [1]
  • Only 17% of disabled people were born with their disabilities. The majority of disabled people acquire their disability later in life [2]
  • Around 7% of children are disabled, compared to 18% of working age adults and 44% of adults over State Pension age [3]
  • There are two million people with sight problems in the UK. That’s around one person in 30. It is predicted that by 2020 the number of people with sight loss will rise to over 2,250,000 [4]
  • There are approximately 10 million people (1 in 6) in this country with a hearing loss. 6.5 million of these are aged 60 and over. Around 2 million people use hearing aids. [5]

Families with disabled children

  • In the UK, there are 800,000 disabled children under the age of 16 - that equates to one child in 20 [6]
  • 99.1 per cent of disabled children live at home and are supported by their families [7]
  • The annual cost of bringing up a disabled child is three times greater than that of bringing up a non-disabled child [8]
  • For disabled children, the most common impairments are social and behavioural (33%), learning disability (31%) and stamina, breathing and fatigue (31%) [9]
  • The average income of families with disabled children is £15,270, which is 23.5% below the UK mean income of £19,968. 21.8% have incomes that are less than 50% the UK mean. [10]

Disability and employment

  • 3.5 million disabled people are in employment, compared to 2.9 million in 2013 [11]
  • In January 2016, the UK employment rate among working age disabled people was 46.5% (4.1 million), compared to 84% of non-disabled people [12]
  • Disabled adults are nearly three times as likely as non-disabled adults to have no formal qualifications, 30% and 11% respectively. [13]

The ageing population

  • In 2016, there were an estimated 308 people of a pensionable age for every 1,000 people of a working age. By 2037, this is projected to increase to 365 people [14]
  • There are now 11.8 million people aged 65 or over in the UK. The number of people aged 65+ is projected to rise by over 40 per cent (40.77%) in the next 17 years to over 16 million. By 2033 the number of people aged 85 and over is projected to more than double again to reach 3.2 million, and to account for 5 per cent of the total population [15]
  • 1.6 million people are aged 85 or over. The number of people over 85 in the UK is predicted to more than double in the next 23 years to over 3.4 million. [16]


  • One in eight adults (around 6.5 million people) are carers. By 2037, it's anticipated that the number of carers will increase to 9 million. Over 1 million people care for more than one person. [17]
  • 1.4 million people provide over 50 hours of unpaid care per week [18]
  • One in five carers are aged 50-64. Almost 1.3 million people in England and Wales aged 65 or older are carers [19]
  • 58% of carers are female and 42% are male [20]
  • Just over a third (37%) of carers lived within walking distance and 44% lived within a 30 minute journey of the person they cared for, but just under a quarter lived over half an hour away with 5% over 2 hours away. [21]

Disability equipment market

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