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8.3 per cent of population with a disability

Almost 324,000 persons, representing 8.3 per cent of the total population, had a long lasting health problem or disability based on the responses to two new questions introduced in the 2002 census. Approximately 188,000 (58.1%) of these persons had more than one disability.

This information is contained in Census 2002 Volume 10 – Disability and Carers, which gives further detailed results of the
census conducted on 28 April 2002. This report contains results relating to the disability and carers covering the main demographic and socio-economic topics distinguished in the census (see Editor’s note).

The incidence of disability was higher among females than males (8.7% compared with 7.8%) and, not surprisingly, was aged related – nearly two-thirds of those with a disability were aged 50 years or over.


Lowest disability rate in Fingal

Age structure also impacted on disability rates by county, which varied from a high of 11.5 per cent for Limerick City to a low of 6.1 per cent for Fingal. Rural areas had proportionately fewer persons with a disability than urban locations (8% compared with 8.5%).

Of the towns with a population of 1,500 or more persons in 2002, Portrane (31.6%), Thomastown (18.3%), Castlerea (17.3%), Kilrush (17.2%) and Ballinasloe (15.4%) recorded the highest instances of disability. All these towns contained large communal establishments catering for either old persons or those with a disability.


Low labour force participation among disabled

The proportion of males aged 15-64 years who were in the labour force was 38.4 per cent for those with a disability compared with 78.2 per cent for the population in general. The corresponding percentages for females were 24.8 per cent and 55.4 per cent.

Persons aged 15-64 with a disability accounted for 2.6 per cent of the work force according to the 2002 census results.


Unskilled have higher incidence of disability

Persons classified to the “Unskilled” socio-economic group had the highest incidence of disability (11.4%) followed by agricultural workers (10.5%). Higher professionals (3.7%) had the smallest disability rate followed by employers and managers (4.1%).


One in five disabled persons live alone

One in five of the 280,000 persons with a long lasting health problem or disability residing in private households lived on their own in 2002. The corresponding proportion for those aged 65 years and over was one in three.


High disability rate in nursing homes

Of the 107,700 persons enumerated in communal establishments on census night, 36,200 (33.6%) had a long lasting health problem or disability. For those in nursing homes, the proportion was four out of five.


Almost 149,000 carers

Almost 149,000 persons aged 15 years and over (4.8% of the total) indicated that they provide regular unpaid personal help for a friend or family member with a long-term illness, health problem or disability in April 2002. Roscommon (5.9%) had the highest proportion of carers among the population aged 15 years and over while Waterford City and Galway City (4.1%) had the lowest proportion.

In proportionate terms, carers were more prevalent in rural rather than urban areas.


Greater number of women carers

Women accounted for over 91,000 (or 61%) of all carers and over half of them were in their forties or fifties. Over one in ten women aged 40-59 was reported as a carer.


Caring professions predominate

The proportion of persons at work who provided regular unpaid personal help for a friend or family member with a long-term illness, health problem or disability was highest among the caring professions – health workers (7.8%) and social workers (7.6%). The teaching profession (7.3%) also figured highly.

Two thirds of the 85,000 persons at work, who also described themselves as carers, provided care for up to 2 hours per day and worked on average about 37 hours per week.


Editor’s note

The publication Census 2002 - Principal Socio-economic Results, released on 15 October 2003, contains a summary at State level of data from Volumes 5 - 7, 9 - 10 and 13 of the detailed census reports. The publication released today, Volume 10, provides figures for disability and carers at a more detailed level.

All published tables from Census 2002 are being made available on the CSO web site (Census 2002 Volume 10 - Disability and Carers).


For copies of the publication contact:

Central Statistics Office, Information Section, Skehard Road, Cork
Government Publications Sales Office, Sun Alliance House, Molesworth Street, Dublin 2.
Price: € 15.00
Copies can also be downloaded from the CSO website (see below).


For further information contact:

Francis McCann on 01-498 4279 or Bernie Ryan on 01-498 4177.
Central Statistics Office, Ardee Road, Rathmines, Dublin 6.
Census Inquiries (01) 498 4000 ext. 4284-4288.
Fax (01) 498 4268

11 March 2004


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