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Types of Disability

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Disability and age

Figure 3.1 shows the number of persons in each age group by type of disability. The most common disability was difficulty with pain, breathing or other chronic illness followed by a difficulty with basic physical activities, both strongly age related.

Among children of school going age a difficulty with learning, remembering and concentrating was most common.

The incidence of deafness was relatively low up to age 50 before rising steadily thereafter, while blindness begins to increase at age 75 and beyond. Psychological conditions peaked during the mid-life years from age 30-60, while intellectual disability peaked for those aged 10-14.

Figure 3.2 below shows the percentages of disabled persons who experienced each type of disability (as people can experience more than one disability the data will not add to 100). Just under half (46.1%) of disabled people indicated they had had difficulty with pain, breathing or other chronic illness, with just over 4 in 10 (40.9%) having difficulty with basic physical activities.

Blindness or serious vision impairmentDeafness or a serious hearing impairmentAn intellectual disabilityDifficulty in learning, remembering or concentratingA condition that limits basic physical activitiesOther disability incl chronic illnessPsychological or emotional condition
Under 17712517514829935370
1-465576525713063206833811487
5-916941407699612363360567895489
10-1416021382751715561296369015550
15-1917441377729014539316376067633
20-241630125252669309299574238036
25-291621142738886663371987027721
30-3420092170345660875674121939099
35-39217528473449620679541554310234
40-442339334735436679105521789410702
45-492722399636017046133732031610264
50-543069523636937564174522338210340
55-59331766823313739521831271139220
60-64375386792946693225157290687526
65-694091107752464681625062270085298
70-744069112961841703124706231983812
75-794674116981472837426427209283434
80-845268121781411988328326185203233
85+83011703717191530937492204654367

Interactive table: StatBank Link E9006

Blindness

In Census 2016, 54,810 persons, amounting to 1.2 per cent of the population, had a sight related disability, 3,092 higher than in 2011, representing a 6 per cent increase. Males exceeded females at all ages up to the 70-74 age group.

Age group Percentage of persons in age groupFemaleMale
Under 1 year0.1236808712273323740
1-4 years0.243261110162001297358
5-9 years0.476430204662491744950
10-14 years0.501446118018255754848
15-19 years0.575927295783578820924
20-24 years0.595681854726717755875
25-29 years0.544993023685847753868
30-34 years0.5550107051591969151094
35-39 years0.5585214972998379501225
40-44 years0.65433894701505110481291
45-49 years0.83468768207046712091513
50-54 years1.0232216980345713491720
55-59 years1.2280545867857314971820
60-64 years1.5712395753089716722081
65-69 years1.9366963964475819322159
70-74 years2.5075182409781120861983
75-79 years4.0479097924082226082066
80-84 years6.5007342325110831162152
85+12.287765524387557512550

Vision and other disability

Of those with a sight disability the most common second disability was physical activities, with 25,014 sufferers, followed by pain and breathing with 20,662, as illustrated in Figure 3.4. The number both blind and deaf was recorded at 13,635 persons.

Persons with serious visual impairment or blindness
Deafness 13635
Intellectual5733
Learning13646
Physical activity25014
Pain, breathing20662
Psychological7617

Interactive table: StatBank Link E9041

Everyday difficulties

The most common type of difficulty experienced by visually impaired people was participating in leisure and other activities, which affected 23,710 persons (43.3%), with 23,099 (42.1%) having difficulty going outside the home.

Persons with serious visual impairment or blindness
A difficulty with going outside the home alone to shop or visit a doctor's surgery42.1
A difficulty participating in other activities, for example leisure or using transport43.3
A difficulty with working at a job, business or attending school or college34.4
A difficulty with dressing, bathing or getting around inside the home30.6

It's a Fact

  • 12,372 The number of visually impaired people who were in the labour force
  • 24.4% The labour force participation rate for visually impaired people
  • 28.2% The unemployment rate for this group

Deafness

Census 2016 showed that a total of 103,676 people or 2.2 per cent of the population had a hearing related disability. This was an increase of 11,616 (12.6%) from 2011, when they made up 2 per cent of the population.

Figure 3.6 shows that hearing was an age related disability. Numbers increased significantly from age 50 onwards particularly among men. Up to age 42 less than 1 per cent of the population had a hearing difficulty but this increased to 1 in 10 by age 77 and 1 in 4 by 89 years.

Age group Percentage of persons in age groupFemaleMale
Under 1 year0.2007806351093056659
1-4 years0.284114121028902315450
5-9 years0.395712690649424624783
10-14 years0.432583355244212658724
15-19 years0.454731586177745655722
20-24 years0.45754213626862568684
25-29 years0.479768688957251707720
30-34 years0.59948891498031610051165
35-39 years0.73108538060351114061441
40-44 years0.93632854025625215981749
45-49 years1.2253534083591418432153
50-54 years1.7457115708403522662970
55-59 years2.4738802378360827013981
60-64 years3.6335700170814233535326
65-69 years5.1009297657596240716704
70-74 years6.9611516466180246326664
75-79 years10.131033109026853776321
80-84 years15.027703394745663855793
85+25.2194508178521111005937

Interactive table: StatBank Link E9008

Hearing and other disability

For those who suffered a second disability the most common difficulty was one which limited basic physical activities, 38,512 people (37.1%) followed by pain, breathing or chronic illness at 31,939 persons (30.8%).

Persons with a serious hearing impairment or deafness
Blindness13635
Intellectual6120
Learning18849
Physical activity38512
Pain, breathing31939
Psychological8553

Everyday difficulties

The most common type of difficulties which hearing impaired people experienced was participating in leisure and other activities, which affected 30,194 persons (29.1%) with 29,048 (28%) having difficulty going outside the home as illustrated in Figure 3.8.

Persons with a serious hearing impairment or deafness
A difficulty with going outside the home alone to shop or visit a doctor's surgery28
A difficulty participating in other activities, for example leisure or using transport29.1
A difficulty with working at a job, business or attending school or college23.2
A difficulty with dressing, bathing or getting around inside the home20.8

It's a Fact

  • 24,573 The number of hearing impaired people who were in the labour force
  • 24.6% The labour force participation rate for hearing impaired people
  • 20% The unemployment rate for this group

Intellectual disability

In Census 2016, 66,611 persons representing 1.4 per cent of the population, suffered from an intellectual disability, 8,902 higher than in 2011 representing a 15.4 per cent increase. For males between the ages of 6 and 18 there were close to a 1,000 persons in each age with an intellectual disability, more than double that of females for the same ages.

Age group Percentage of persons in age groupFemaleMale
Under 1 year0.28109288915302775100
1-4 years0.9548462812618388351736
5-9 years1.9675948712035320154981
10-14 years2.3529153989658122845233
15-19 years2.4074025150586525454745
20-24 years1.9244543846569920023264
25-29 years1.307176357859714952393
30-34 years0.95476206920367413572099
35-39 years0.88567385939638613842065
40-44 years0.99115985005315314382105
45-49 years1.1042286345098314592142
50-54 years1.231266774467815462147
55-59 years1.2265736647636814001913
60-64 years1.2333791070770712391707
65-69 years1.1664678369217411271337
70-74 years1.13451488858213875966
75-79 years1.27482310963306740732
80-84 years1.74117995483545825586
85+2.544593294352751217502

Intellectual and other disabilities

Among this group the most common second disability was difficulty with learning and remembering with 47,390 (71.1%) sufferers followed by psychological issues which affected 24,024 persons. 

Persons with intellectual disabilities
Blindness5733
Deafness6120
Learning47390
Physical activity23988
Pain, breathing16808
Psychological24024

Everyday difficulties

The most common type of difficulty experienced by those with an intellectual disability was difficulty with a job, business or attending school or college, this affected 37,658 persons (56.5%), with 37,048 (55.6%) having difficulty going outside the home.

Persons with intellectual disabilities
A difficulty with going outside the home alone to shop or visit a doctor's surgery55.6
A difficulty participating in other activities, for example leisure or using transport54.6
A difficulty with working at a job, business or attending school or college56.5
A difficulty with dressing, bathing or getting around inside the home41

It's a Fact

  • 10,586 The number of intellectually disabled people who were in the labour force
  • 21.4% The labour force participation rate for people with an intellectual disability
  • 42.8% The unemployment rate for this group

Basic physical activity

In Census 2016, 262,818 persons representing 5.5 per cent of the population had a difficulty with basic physical activities, 18,079 higher than in 2011, representing a 7.4 per cent increase.

This disability increases sharply with age and accordingly there were more females than males in this group, as illustrated in Figure 3.12, the gap growing more sharply from age 75 onwards.

Age group Percentage of persons in age groupFemaleMale
Under 1 year0.480267279181458154145
1-4 years0.7680366042977378511217
5-9 years1.0138907247982813852220
10-14 years0.92745620954312712141749
15-19 years1.0445286906900615281635
20-24 years1.0945197269365115161479
25-29 years1.2503572209054119671752
30-34 years1.5675115684784931062568
35-39 years2.0425195354128343573597
40-44 years2.9519386784535357124840
45-49 years4.1007635460427573436030
50-54 years5.8185940287062296707782
55-59 years8.082502165848461159510236
60-64 years10.53228723582411282812329
65-69 years11.86445492245641318711875
70-74 years15.22505422993491366311043
75-79 years22.88705864013091560210825
80-84 years34.95440354406011772610600
85+55.49848271778552663510857

Physical and other disabilities

For those who experienced a physical disability the most common second disability was pain and breathing with 145,607 sufferers, followed by learning, remembering and concentrating with 65,076 persons.

Persons with difficulties that limit basic physical activities
Blindness25014
Deafness38512
Intellectual23988
Learning65076
Pain, breathing145607
Psychological38168

Everyday difficulties

Participating in leisure and other activities affected 6 in 10 (157,689) of those with a physical disability, while just over half (133,782) experienced difficulty going outside alone.  115,317 persons with a physical disability experienced difficulty with dressing, bathing and getting around inside the home.

Difficulty with basic physical activity
A difficulty with going outside the home alone to shop or visit a doctor's surgery50.9
A difficulty participating in other activities, for example leisure or using transport60
A difficulty with working at a job, business or attending school or college46.7
A difficulty with dressing, bathing or getting around inside the home43.9

It's a Fact

  • 35,803 The number of physically disabled people who were in the labour force
  • 14.1% The labour force participation rate for people with a physical disability
  • 35.6% The unemployment rate for this group

Learning disability

In Census 2016, 156,968 persons amounting to 3.3 per cent of the population, had a difficulty learning, remembering or concentrating. This was 19,898 higher than in 2011, representing a 14.5 per cent increase.

As with intellectual disabilities, the greatest incidence among males was for those aged 10-14 years, affecting 10,457 persons, compared with just 5,104 females.

Less than 3 per cent of the population were affected up to the 60-64 age group, increasing to nearly 23 per cent (22.7%) in the 85+ age group, primarily affecting women, as shown in Figure 3.15 below.

Age group Percentage of persons in age groupFemaleMale
Under 1 year0.2377242719694177375
1-4 years1.137570657139259082155
5-9 years3.4770405078172236188745
10-14 years4.87078841603125510410457
15-19 years4.8012654549297356028937
20-24 years3.4019646537736337635546
25-29 years2.240153310807427083955
30-34 years1.6816078458457125963491
35-39 years1.5936480056288726223584
40-44 years1.8684608068035629313748
45-49 years2.160620649474131793867
50-54 years2.5218797406104734374127
55-59 years2.7378545882666533524043
60-64 years2.9021669960143330673865
65-69 years3.2267227177185730943722
70-74 years4.3328485505817434663565
75-79 years7.2522885326543545393835
80-84 years12.195663709169959593924
85+22.6615350455185110894220

Learning and other disability

The most common second disability was physical activities with 65,076 (41.5%) sufferers followed by pain and breathing with 52,864 (33.7%). 

Persons with difficulty learning, remembering or concentrating
Blindness13646
Deafness18849
Intellectual47390
Physical activity65076
Pain, breathing52864
Psychological47503

Everyday difficulties

The most common type of difficulty experienced by persons with learning, remembering or concentrating was participating in leisure and other activities. This affected 74,112 persons (47.2%), with 73,319 (46.7%) having difficulty with working at a job, business or attending school or college.

Difficulty with learning, remembering or concentrating
A difficulty with going outside the home alone to shop or visit a doctor's surgery45.1
A difficulty participating in other activities, for example leisure or using transport47.2
A difficulty with working at a job, business or attending school or college46.7
A difficulty with dressing, bathing or getting around inside the home35.5

It's a Fact

  • 28,108 The number of people with learning disabilities who were in the labour force
  • 22.3% The labour force participation rate for people with a learning disability
  • 39.7% The unemployment rate for this group

Pain and breathing

In Census 2016, 296,783 persons amounting to 6.2 per cent of the population, had a difficulty connected with pain, breathing or other chronic illnesses. This was 22,021 higher than in 2011, representing an 8 per cent increase.

Figure 3.18 charts the data and shows that the numbers increased sharply with age. By age 60, one in ten suffered with this condition, increasing to one in five by age 76.

Age group Percentage of persons in age groupFemaleMale
Under 1 year0.6153200
1-4 years1.314251956
5-9 years1.927724017
10-14 years2.230113890
15-19 years2.538543752
20-24 years2.741313292
25-29 years2.950073695
30-34 years3.470945099
35-39 years488706673
40-44 years599327962
45-49 years6.2112099107
50-54 years7.81287610506
55-59 years101439712716
60-64 years12.21461014458
65-69 years12.81384013168
70-74 years14.31248610712
75-79 years18.1120728856
80-84 years22.9112717249
85+30.3143986067

Pain and breathing and other disability

The most common second disability was physical activities, with 145,607 (49.1%) sufferers, followed by learning with 52,864 (17.8%). 

Persons with difficulty with pain, breathing or other chronic illness or condition
Blindness20662
Deafness31939
Intellectual16808
Learning52864
Physical activity145607
Psychological40344

Everyday difficulties

The most common type of difficulty experienced by persons with a disability related to pain, breathing or other chronic illness was participating in leisure and other activities. This affected 129,117 persons (43.5%), with 110,409 (37.2%) having difficulty with working at a job, business or attending school or college.

Difficulty with pain, breathing or chronic illness or condition
A difficulty with going outside the home alone to shop or visit a doctor's surgery31.4
A difficulty participating in other activities, for example leisure or using transport43.5
A difficulty with working at a job, business or attending school or college37.2
A difficulty with dressing, bathing or getting around inside the home26.5

Psychological or emotional condition

In Census 2016, 123,515 persons amounting to 2.6 per cent of the population, had a psychological or emotional condition. This was 27,511 higher than in 2011, representing a 28.7 per cent increase.

Figure 3.21 charts the data and shows that the age profile of those with this condition is different from other disabilities, in that it mostly affects those in the mid-life years, peaking in the 40-44 age group (4,834 men, 5,868 women).

Age group Percentage of persons in age groupFemaleMale
Under 1 year0.1124371556612113733
1-4 years0.5522584287189243941093
5-9 years1.5437576112115814094080
10-14 years1.7372196972542515923958
15-19 years2.5206726196766438903743
20-24 years2.9367480887017845113525
25-29 years2.5958612806159343143407
30-34 years2.513709510325351873912
35-39 years2.6280041394788757714463
40-44 years2.99390141554358684834
45-49 years3.1474042500996655354729
50-54 years3.4474136062813655964744
55-59 years3.4135252608273948444376
60-64 years3.1508523964229537893737
65-69 years2.5080952110435727272571
70-74 years2.3491421810293820601752
75-79 years2.9740098902716819671467
80-84 years3.989535644211920651168
85+6.4643623714010832421125

Psychological or emotional condition and other disability

The most common second disability was learning, remembering or concentrating, with 47,503 (38.5%) sufferers, followed by pain, breathing or other chronic conditions with 40,344 (32.7%). 

Persons with a psychological of emotional condition
Blindness7617
Deafness8553
Intellectual24024
Learning47503
Physical activity38168
Pain, breathing40344

Everyday difficulties

Just under half (59,518 persons, 48.2%) of those with a psychological or emotional condition had difficulty with working at a job, business or attending school or college, followed by 51,857 persons (42%) having difficulty with participating in leisure and other activities.

Persons with a psychological or emotional condition
A difficulty with going outside the home alone to shop or visit a doctor's surgery36.9
A difficulty participating in other activities, for example leisure or using transport42
A difficulty with working at a job, business or attending school or college48.2
A difficulty with dressing, bathing or getting around inside the home24.9

It's a Fact

  • 36,595 The number of people a psychological or emotional condition who were in the labour force
  • 33% The labour force participation rate for people in this group
  • 35.6% The unemployment rate for this group