The World Health Organization has released the results of their landmark ‘global survey’ on disability. There’s a lot I don’t like about the way WHO discusses disability, but their ability to undertake a study of this scale is perhaps unique, and the resulting data is valuable and interesting.
A summary of the key findings can be found here, but some highlights include:
– There are an estimated 1 billion disabled people worldwide — that’s 15% of the population (an increase from previous estimates of 10%)
– The number of disabled people continues to increase — posited explanations include longer lifespans and more people living with chronic illnesses (both because some illnesses which were once fatal have now become treatable but chronic, and because there is an increase in lifestyle-related chronic illness)
– Disabled people are more than 3 times more likely than their non-disabled peers to report lack of access to needed healthcare
– In ‘developed’ countries, the employment rate for disabled people is 44% (compared to around 75% for non-disabled people)
– Disabled children are significantly more likely to drop out of school than non-disabled children