14% of people in Ireland have a disability

One in seven (14%) of the population has a disability, while the number of people who provide unpaid care to a friend or family member has increased to 195,000.

14% of people in Ireland have a disability

According to a report on health, disability, and carers by the Central Statistics Office (CSO), women accounted for 60% (118,151) of the country’s carers in 2016. 3,800 children aged under 15 constitute 1.9% of all carers.

Half of all carers (52.7%) fall within the 40-59 age group, while the greatest proportion is in the 50-54 age group, which accounts for 28,703 carers (14.7%). There has been a 34.7% increase in carers aged 85 and over, whose numbers rose from 1,318 to 1,776.

Seven out of eight (87%) of the population feel they have good health — down marginally from 2011, when it was 88%.

Six in ten of men feel their health is very good, compared to 59% of women.

The census results also demonstrate the decline in general health with age: 79% of 15- to 19-year-olds feel they are in very good health, compared with 58.6% of those aged 40 to 44, and 31.3% aged 65 to 69.

In terms of geography, nine out of 10 people in Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown indicate that their health is either very good or good — the highest health rating in the country. This is followed by Meath (89.6%), and Kildare and Cork County (89.5%).

Dublin City has the lowest percentage, at 82.8%, with Cork City and Longford the next lowest, at 83.6% and 85.3%, respectively.

The top five towns, in terms of health are Malahide (92.5%), Carrigaline (92.4%), Maynooth (91.8%), Greystones (91.4%), and Celbridge (91.2%).

By contrast, the towns where people are most likely to state that their health is bad or very bad are Longford (2.9%) and Tullamore, Wexford, Cavan, and Enniscorthy (all 2.5%).

The number of people with a disability increased by 47,796 between 2011 and 2016, and stood at 643,131 in April, 2016, accounting for 13.5% of the population.

There are 331,551 women (51.6%) and 311,580 men (48.4%) with a disability. Among those aged under 20, there has been an increase of 11,828 persons (15.6%) with a disability since 2011.

Cork City has the highest rate of disabled persons, at 18.1%, while the lowest rates of disability are in Fingal (10.8%), Meath (11.6%), and Monaghan (11.8%).

Between 2011 and 2016, the numbers of people with different disabilities increased across all categories; the largest increase was among those with a psychological or emotional condition, which rose by 27,511, to 123,515, in 2016, an increase of 28.7%. Those with a vision impairment increased by 6%, to 54,810.

Educational attainment amongst disabled persons was much lower than that of the general population at all levels.

Amongst those aged 15 to 50, 13.7% have completed no higher than primary-level education, compared with 4.2% of the general population.

Just 37% have completed third-level education, compared with 53.4% of all those aged 15 to 50.

The unemployment rate amongst persons with a disability is 26.3%, more than double the 12.9% rate for the population as a whole.

Senior statistician with the CSO, Deirdre Cullen, said Census 2016 was the second census in which the Irish public was asked to rate their own health and she said that this will allow for greater comparisons over time.

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