Profile of people with disabilities in Republic of Ireland

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Published May 2015

National facts and figures

  • 595,355 people reported having a disability in 2011; that’s 13% of the population of Ireland. 1
  • Of people aged 15 and over with a disability, 21% were at work.  This compares to 50% for the overall population aged 15 and over who were at work.2
  • 16% of people with disabilities aged 15-49 had completed no higher than primary level education, compared with 5% for the general population in this age group.3
  • 15% of people who have a chronic illness or health problem are at risk of poverty.4

Ireland Facts and Figures

The total population of Ireland is 4,588,252.5

Percentage of Irish population living with a disability by age group
Age Group Percentage of Irish population living with a disability
0-14 6%
15-24 8%
25-44 9%
45-64 19%
65+ 39%

Percentage of Irish population living with a disability by age group  - all info in previous table

Breakdown of population in Ireland
Breakdown Numbers of individuals
People with a disability 595,335 people
People without a disability 3,992,914 people

Breakdown of population in Ireland - all info in previous table

Age profile of people with a disability in Ireland
Age range Numbers of Individuals
0 – 14 53,059    
15 – 24 44,513     
25 – 44 120,426
45 – 64 173,269        
65+ 204,069        
Total 595,335

Types of disability in Ireland

Types of disability in Ireland 6
Type of disability Numbers of Individuals
Physical & Sensory 388,517
Intellectual Disability 194,779
Mental Health 96,004
Chronic Illness 274,762

Types of disability in Ireland - all info in previous table

People with disabilities at work in Ireland

  • 21% of people with a disability are at work. This compares with the figure of 50% for the general population.7

People with disabilities’ highest level of educational achievement in Ireland

  • 16% of people with disabilities achieved no higher than primary education. 5% of the general population achieved no higher than primary education
  • 22% with disabilities did not progress beyond lower secondary. 15% of general population did not progress beyond lower secondary.
  • 25% of people with disabilities educated to third level. This compares with 39% of the general population being educated to this level.
People aged 15 to 49, with and without a Disability, whose Education has ceased and highest level of Education is completed 8
Qualifications % of People with a Disability % of People without a Disability
No qualifications beyond Primary 16% 5%
Lower Secondary 26% 17%
Upper Secondary 20% 24%
Further Education 37% 54%

Education in Ireland - all info in previous table

Sources

  1. Census 2011
  2. Census 2011, Profile 8 – Our Bill of Health
  3. Census 2011, Profile 8 – Our Bill of Health
  4. A Social Portrait of People with Disabilities in Ireland (2011). Economic and Social Research Institute.
  5. All calculations are formulated from Census 2011 information.
  6. The figure for Intellectual Disability includes intellectual disability and a difficulty with learning, remembering or concentrating.  Physical and sensory includes blindness or serious vision impairment, deafness or serious hearing impairment, and a difficulty with basic physical activities.
  7. These calculations are based on persons with and without a disability of working age (15-64), and total number of people with and without a disability at work.
  8. No qualifications beyond primary includes no formal education and primary education.  Further education includes technical and vocational, advanced certificate, completed apprenticeships, higher certificates, Ordinary and Honours degrees, postgraduates and Ph.Ds.

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