Population overview

There is national data collected about disability through the Family Resources Survey. The most recent report from the 2018/2019 survey showed an increase in most age groups, it found that:

21% (14.1 million) of people reported a disability, an increase from 19 per cent (11.3 million) in 2008/2009.

19% of working adults reported a disability, this increased from 14% in 2008/2009.

In children 8% reported a disability compared to 6% in 2008/2009.

A decrease from 47% to 44% people of state pension age, however this age threshold for the pension for women as been increasing in 2010 so this may explain the changes.

Of those who reported a disability, 27% reported a mental health impairment in 2018/2019, up from 24% in 2016/2017.

In each of the three years to 2018/2019, mobility was the most prevalent impairment reported, however it has decreased from 7.1 million to 6.8 million people (from 51% to 48%).

However for children Learning difficulties(34%) and Social and behavioural issues (42%) were the most common impairments reported where as in adults of state pension age mobility (67%) is significantly more common than other forms of impairment.

The percentage of people reporting ’other’, unspecified impairments increased from 15 per cent to 18 per cent (an increase from 2.1 million to 2.6 million) over the same period.

Work by the Employers Forum on Disability suggests that 2% of the working age population becomes disabled every year, 78% of disabled people acquire their impairment aged 16 or older

The Census remains the most definitive data on disability for local areas but this has limitations.

The Census uses a broad definition that asks individuals if they have a long-term health problem or disability that limits a person's day-to-day activities, and has lasted, or is expected to last, at least 12 months. This includes problems that are related to old age. People were asked to assess whether their daily activities were limited a lot or a little by such a health problem, or whether their daily activities were not limited at all.

In the 2011 Census 98,181 people (9.15%) reported they had a long-term condition or disability that limited their day-to-day activities a lot, and a further 99,720 (9.29%) reported a condition or disability that limited these activities a little.

The Census provides some insight into the prevalence of disability across different age groups, genders and ethnicities.

In general prevalence of long-term conditions and disabilities that impact on day-to day activities increases with age and rates double between those aged 50 to 64 years and those aged 65 years and over.

Day-to-day activities by age, source Census 2011
Age Limited a lot Limited a little Not limited
All categories: Age 9.15% 9.29% 81.56%
Age: 0 to 15 years 1.98% 2.61% 95.41%
Age: 16 to 49 years 4.42% 2.61% 95.41%
Age: 50 to 64 years 15.09% 15.71% 69.20%
Age: 65 years and over 33.52% 27.06% 39.41%

Rates of long-term conditions and disabilities that limit day-to-day activities do vary between different religious and ethnic groups and are highest in the White population, however this may reflect differences in life expectancy between different ethnic groups.

Day-to-day activities by ethnicity, source Census 2011
Age Limited a lot Limited a little Not limited
All categories: Ethnicity 9.15% 9.29% 81.56%
White: Total 10.98% 10.88% 78.14%
Mixed/multiple ethnic group 4.59% 5.48% 89.93%
Asian/Asian British 6.95% 7.37% 85.77%
Black/African.Caribbean/Black British 7.07% 7.29% 85.65%
Other ethnic group 6.23% 6.27% 87.50%

When we take age into account and ethnicity for example this does demonstrate that actually the burden of disability and long-term conditions that limit daily activities is higher in the Asian community for over 65 year olds.

Day-to-day activities by ethnicity for over 65 year olds, source Census 2011
Age Limited a lot Limited a little Not limited
All categories: Ethnicity 33.52% 27.06% 39.41%
White: Total 32.34% 26.85% 40.93%
Mixed/multiple ethnic group 37.47% 23.04% 39.49%
Asian/Asian British 41.97% 28.90% 29.13%
Black/African.Caribbean/Black British 34.90% 26.91% 38.19%
Other ethnic group 39.63% 28.59% 31.79%

There are other potential sources of data on disability but these tend to be based on service data such as the number/proportion of children and young people who have a special educational need classification or the number/proportion of adults who are receiving a package of care and support through social care.

However these are based on policy thresholds and are likely to only reflect the tip of the iceberg.

Further work is needed to properly understand and reflect the diversity of the disabled community in Birmingham and understand in more depth their culture and needs.

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