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Disability

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There were a total of 643,131 people who stated they had a disability in April 2016, accounting for 13.5 per cent of the population. This represented an increase of 47,796 persons (8%) on the 2011 figure of 595,335. In 2016, 311,580 (48.4%) persons with a disability were male while 331,551 (51.6%) were female.

Note: for the purpose of this report a disabled person has been classified as someone who responded 'yes' to any of the 7 categories in question 16 on long-lasting conditions or 'yes' to any of the four categories in question 17 on difficulties.

Figure 1.1 shows the number of disabled persons by age group alongside the percentage of the total population in that age group with a disability.

Up to one in ten persons below 45 years of age had a disability, rising to 20 per cent by age 60. Rates increase sharply above age 70, with 27.7 per cent of females aged 70-74 having a disability and 73.3 per cent of females over age 84 having a disability.

The rate of disability fell for all categories above age 45 compared with 2011. However, the increase in the number of older people means the actual number of people with a disability over 65 years has increased by 20,319 over the five years from 204,069 in 2011 to 224,388 in 2016.

Among those aged under 20, there was an increase of 11,828 persons with a disability (15.6%) since 2011, representing a disability rate of 6.7 per cent (up from 6% in 2011).

Age groupFemale PercentageMale PercentageFemaleMale
0-4 2.408149137123.5244003747138965982
5-9 4.530389279170098.24599107290461788714964
10-14 6.3037322707529910.1096842904185984016517
15-19 8.7175811991237810.08211325431871289415618
20-24 9.074471525593169.163129433655081234612607
25-29 8.060415339031497.98432744350031226911595
30-34 8.130998538104627.810993249758921535113527
35-39 9.072165987821118.379701117537751799716009
40-44 10.69964106724169.935092009330521925717633
45-49 12.487292235709111.70527686336172039019059
50-54 15.002339790275714.19588157504122276221040
55-59 17.942074513373117.73820018228272444523744
60-64 20.604537359143822.20424943975472475826356
65-69 22.590449306045623.98509922733212400825175
70-74 27.689649756557227.24368246940292291921659
75-79 38.567237163814235.13868100596862366119016
80-8452.913330861019646.59052165018752425616398
85+73.303665745173463.65883271182033261514681

Interactive table: StatBank Link E9001

Sex ratio

Disability was more common amongst males in all age categories up to age 24, peaking in the 5-9 age groups where there were almost twice as many disabled boys (14,964) as girls (7,887).

Between the ages of 25 and 59, there were proportionally more females with a disability, while the ratio shifts for those in their sixties.

From age 70 onwards, due to lower male life expectancy, we see significantly higher proportions of disabled persons were female with 69 per cent of disabled persons aged 85 years and over being female.

Age groupFemalesMales
85+68.959320027063631.0406799729364
80-8459.664485659467740.3355143405323
75-79 55.442041380603144.5579586193969
70-74 51.413253174211548.5867468257885
65-69 48.81361446028151.186385539719
60-64 48.43682748366451.563172516336
55-59 50.727344414700449.2726555852996
50-54 51.965663668325648.0343363316744
45-49 51.686988263327348.3130117366727
40-44 52.201138519924147.7988614800759
35-39 52.923013585837847.0769864141622
30-34 53.158113442759246.8418865572408
25-29 51.412168957425448.5878310425746
20-24 49.477016791568150.5229832084318
15-19 45.22306397306454.776936026936
10-14 37.333535683120262.6664643168798
5-9 34.514900879611465.4850991203886
0-4 39.441182425592260.5588175744078

Interactive table: StatBank Link E9008

It's a Fact

  • 7,077 More boys than girls aged 5-9 with a disability in 2016
  • 27.5% The rate of disability for persons aged 70-74

Figure 1.3 shows the percentage of the population at each age with a disability for 2011 and 2016.This shows that the relative proportion of persons with a disability decreased for most ages, particularly for persons over 65. However, there was a notable increase in the percentage of young adults with a disability between the ages of 15 to 29.

20162011
100 years and over87.28070175438684.8329048843188
95-9981.486.2
90-9477.778.8
85-8965.768.6
80-8450.254.5
75-793740.6
70-7427.530.1
65-6923.324.6
60-6421.422.3
55-5917.818.5
50-5414.615
45-4912.112.4
40-4410.310.3
35-398.78.8
30-3487.5
25-2986.9
20-249.17.3
15-199.48
10-148.37.7
5-96.46.1
0-432.8

It's a Fact

  • 6.7% The percentage of the population aged under 20 who had a disability
  • 49.5% The percentage of the population aged 75 and over who had a disability

Map 1.1 shows the percentage of the total population in each administrative county with a disability.

The administrative counties with the greatest number of persons with a disability were those with the largest populations, led by Dublin city with 81,502 (+3.7% on the 2011 figure of 78,610) and County Cork with 52,659 (+11.4% on the 2011 figure of 47,274). At the other end of the scale Leitrim (4,486 up 4.6%), Longford (5,916 up 9.5%) and Monaghan (7,214 up 0.4%) had the fewest persons with a disability.

Cork city (18.1%) had the highest rate of disabled persons. The lowest rates of disability were in Fingal (10.8%), Meath (11.6%) and Monaghan (11.8%). As disability is highly associated with age, the areas with a high rate of disability have older populations compared to Fingal, Meath and Monaghan which have a young population.

Interactive table: StatBank Link E9003

Table 1.1 Disability in towns with population of 1,500+ persons, 2016
Lowest % DisabilityHighest % Disability
Oranmore7.6Castlerea23.6
Kinsealy-Drinan8.0Boyle23.1
Bearna8.4Kilrush22.7
Stamullen8.6Convoy20.8
Saggart9.0Bantry20.8
Dunboyne9.0Rathdrum20.6
Ratoath9.1Courtown Harbour19.5
Sallins9.1Castlecomer-Donaguile19.5
Enfield9.2Ballyshannon19.4
Tullyallen9.3Ballaghaderreen19.3

Interactive table: StatBank Link E9004

It's a Fact

  • Wexford - the town with a population of over 10,000 with the highest rate of disability at 18.1%
  • Ashbourne - the town with a population of over 10,000 with the lowest rate of disability at 9.4%

Map 1.2 Disability by Electoral Division, 2016

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