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Press Statement


14 December 2020

Press Statement Irish Health Survey 2019 - Persons with Disabilities

People aged 15 years and over with disabilities are three times more likely to report some form of depression (43%) compared to the State average (14%)
  • A quarter (25%) of those aged 15 and over with a disability report that their health status is Bad or Very Bad compared to the State average of 4%
  • Almost a third (31%) of those with a lot of difficulty ‘Remembering or concentrating’, or who cannot do it all, report they have moderately severe or severe depression
  • People with walking difficulties report the poorest non-mental health status of persons with disabilities
  • Just over a quarter (26%) of persons with disabilities report having their health care needs unmet due to waiting lists, compared to a State average of 14%
  • More than a third of persons with aged 55 years and over with a disability have a difficulty with at least one personal care activity
  • Almost eight in ten people aged 55 years and over with disabilities report some difficulties with household activities

Go to release: Irish Health Survey 2019 - Persons with Disabilities

The Central Statistics Office (CSO) has today (14 December 2020) published the results of the Irish Health Survey 2019 – Disabilities.

Commenting on the publication, Keith McSweeney Senior Statistician, said: 

‘The publication today is based on self-reported data from persons with disabilities aged 15 years and over, and provides data and insights on the self-reported health status of persons with disabilities in Ireland and the extent to which they can rely on informal social supports (assistance from neighbours for example). The publication also outlines, for those aged 55 years and older, the extent to which persons with disabilities experience difficulties with certain personal care and household activities. The measure of disability in this publication derives from the degree of difficulty a person has with a range of physical and sensory activities, and reports on those who have a lot of difficulty with the activity or who cannot do it at all (for example, sight, hearing, walking).

Today’s publication is the third in a series of health publications based on the Irish Health Survey. 07 December saw the publication of “Irish Health Survey – Carers and Social Supports”, while on 11 December, the CSO published “Irish Health Survey – Main Results”. By comparing the State level figures from the “Irish Health Survey – Main Results” publication to the data in this publication, we can look at the relative health position of persons with disabilities to the State average data as reported in the Main Results publication. The data collection for this publication occurred from July 2019 to February 2020 and so relates to the pre-pandemic health and other experiences of respondents.

Persons with disabilities report a poorer health status than the State average across several areas. Just over a quarter of persons (25%) with disabilities report their health status as ’Bad or Very Bad’, compared to a State average of 4%. Persons with disabilities also report a poorer mental health status, with rates for suffering from some form of depression at three times the State average (43% compared to 14%). 

Of persons with disabilities, those that have difficulty with (or cannot do it all) ’Remembering or concentrating’ report the poorest mental health status – 31% of this disability group reporting they have moderately severe or severe depression. Apart from mental health, persons with ‘A lot of difficulty / Cannot do it at all’ for walking report the poorest health status of those with disabilities. A quarter of persons (26%) with disabilities report unmet healthcare needs due to waiting lists, which is higher than the State average of 14% of persons aged 15 years and over.

Almost 80% of persons with disabilities who are aged 55 years and over report difficulties with household activities like housework, with more than a third reporting difficulties with personal care activities like bathing or showering or getting in or out of a bed or chair.’

The CSO thanks the respondents to this survey, without whom this publication would not be possible.

Editor's Note:

The Irish Health Survey 2019 achieved a sample size of circa 7,600 individuals, and this Persons with Disabilities publication is based on a subset of data from this main data collection. Due to public health guidelines regarding COVID-19, our interviewers no longer conduct CSO household surveys in the sampled households' own homes. Sample households now receive introductory letters by post asking them to ring the CSO to schedule an interview which is conducted over the phone. These surveys give us a picture of the economic and social situation of the citizens of Ireland, with a level of accuracy no one else can gain. If you are asked to take part in a CSO survey, please do so. It means that when CSO figures are quoted you know they’re accurate, Because you told us.

For further information contact:

Keith McSweeney (+353) 21 453 5423 or Caroline Barrett (+353) 21 453 5485

or email

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