Evidence of inequalities

National evidence on the health and wider inequalities affecting disabled people is stark.

  • On average, the life expectancy of people with a learning disability is shorter than the general population (women 18 years less, men 14 years less).
  • Disabled people are half as likely as non-disabled people to be active. Only one in four people with learning difficulties take part in physical activity each month compared to over half of those without a disability’
  • 23.0% of disabled people aged 21 to 64 years in the UK had a degree as their highest qualification compared with 39.7% of non-disabled people; 15.1% of disabled people had no qualifications compared with 5.4% of non-disabled people (year ending June 2020).
  • Around half of disabled people aged 16 to 64 years (52.1%) in the UK were in employment compared with around 8 in 10 (81.3%) for non-disabled people (July to September 2020); disabled people with autism were among those disabled people with the lowest employment rate.
  • Around 1 in 7 (14.3%) disabled people aged 16 to 59 years in England and Wales experienced domestic abuse in the last 12 months, compared with about 1 in 20 (5.1%) non-disabled people; disabled women (17.5%) were more than twice as likely to experience domestic abuse in the last year than non-disabled women (6.7%) (year ending March 2020)
  • Data from the Annual Population Survey shows consistently lower wellbeing scores among disabled people than those without a disability and consistently higher levels of anxiety.
  • Data from the Community Life Survey shows that rates of loneliness in disabled people are three times higher than in people without a disability (13.9% reported feeling often or always lonely compared to 3.8%)
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