2.5 Numbers of people with disabilities world wide

In its 2007 report, “Measuring Disability Prevalence,” the World Bank estimated the number of persons with disabilities at between 10 and 12 per cent of the global population.59 Using the United Nation’s “World Population Prospects 2008,”60 which indicates a global population of slightly more than 6.9 billion people in 2010, Table 2.2 shows the estimated global population of people with disabilities as just under 830 million people (691-829 million people) by the end of 2010. That number is expected to exceed 1 billion (915 million – 1.1 billion) before the midpoint of the 21st century. Statistics show that approximately one in five persons with disabilities are born with their disability, while most acquire it after age 16, mainly during their working lives.61 Approximately 20 per cent of these are children with disabilities.

Table 2.1: Global population of persons with disabilities

Year
2010
2020
2030
2040
2050
World
Population
(millions)
Medium variant
6,909
7,675
8,309
8,801
9,150
Estimates of global population of persons with disabilities
(imputed as 10-12%, in millions)
691-829
768-921
831-997
880-1,056
915-1,098
Estimate of global population of children with disabilities
(imputed as 2-3%, in millions)
140-165
154-184
166-199
176-211
183-220

Sources: World Population Prospects 2008 cited in ITU/G3ict e-Accessibility Toolkit.
 

59World Bank - Measuring Disability Prevalence, available at http://siteresources.worldbank.org/DISABILITY/Resources/Data/MontPrevalence.pdf    Disability figures in this module are based on the World Health Organisation’s estimate that 10 per cents of the world’s population have a disability.

60UN - World Population Prospects 2008, available at http://esa.un.org/unpp

61 Forum on Disability briefing for CSR practitioners, Disabled employees: Labour standards, an Employers”, Available at www.csreurope.org/csrinfo/csrdisability/Disabledemployees