By Chris Winter

February 2023

Numbers of disabled people in the UK

In this blog entry I continue to focus on the size of problem. Future blog entries will begin to explore solutions.

According to the Disability section of the DWP Family Resources Survey: financial year 2020 to 21 published 31 March 2022 there are 14.6 million registered disabled people in the UK, that represents 21% of the population. The following table provides a breakdown of impairments that those registered disabled people have. These figures are broken down by age range, i.e. children, working age and pension age.

Impairment Type1Millions of peoplePercentage of all disabled peoplePercentage of childrenPercentage of working agePercentage State Pension age adults2


Mental health4.32921429
Social behaviour1.283781
  1. Totals will sum to over 100 per cent as respondents can report more than one.
  2. The data in this report was collected throughout the financial year 2020/21, during which the State Pension age for both men and women had increased to 66 years by the end of the survey year.
  3. Data for the ‘Hearing’ category is to be treated with caution due to the possible sampling limitations of interviewing by telephone this survey year. Please see guidance for more details on COVID impacts.
  4. Colour blindness is an impairment but it is not a registered disability. Therefore, there is no data available from the DWP. The Colorblind Guide estimates that there are three million people in the UK who are colour blind.

Some observations on the data

This data provides some quantification between the aging process and those disabilities that result, such as mobility, hearing and vision.

Many people often struggle with the poor choice of contrast selected by web designers and/or corporate branding. This can become a real impediment for those three million UK citizens that are colour blind (but not disabled). According to the WebAIM Million report low contrast text is the most common Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) error encountered on 83.9% of home pages. People who are colour blind are can be more susceptible to low contrast.

Backward references:

The IT industry must do more for disabled people

The IT industry must do more for disabled people – Part Two

Forward References:

The IT industry must do more for disabled people – Part Four

The IT industry must do more for disabled people – Part Five

About the author

Chris Winter FIET FBCS CITP is an Ambassador for the Digital Poverty Alliance, an evangelist for digital accessibility and a former IBM Fellow, now retired.

 About the Digital Poverty Alliance (DPA). The DPA defines Digital Poverty with five key determinants: the affordability of devices and connectivity, accessibility (for the disabled), skills, motivation and a lack of ongoing support. With the breadth of digital poverty being so broad. Its objective is to eradicate digital poverty in the UK by 2030.