10 Shocking Facts About Disability

The World Health Organization suggests that close to 15% of the world’s population has some sort of disability that they will have to contend with at some point in their lives.

That is a huge number. It also makes it more surprising that levels of disability discrimination are so prevalent when you consider how many of us will have to deal with this issue personally or will know someone close who has been impacted in this way.


It makes a lot of sense to consider protecting you and your family’s financial security with some sort of disability insurance when you consider the consequences attached to suffering a change of circumstances due to disability.

If you need any more persuasion about the devastating impact disability can have on your life here are some facts that might well shock you and also give you plenty of cause for concern if you become one of the many people who find themselves living with a disability.

Disability creates an even worse health profile

As if becoming disabled in some way was not bad enough to try and contend with, it is often the case that people with disabilities tend to have a worse health profile as a result.

A good example of this would be what happened during the global pandemic.

Disabled people were disproportionately impacted by the impact of COVID-19. They were exposed to a greater risk of infection as a result of poorer health overall. Contracting the disease also heightened the risk of developing more severe symptoms too.

Fair pay for all?

Another shocking fact is that some people with disabilities do not receive the same level of pay as colleagues without the same impairment.

The U.S Equal Employment Opportunity Commission receives thousands of job bias claims each year from workers who claim that their disability prevented them from receiving fair pay.

A poorer prosperity outlook

If you are subjected to disability discrimination in terms of what you get paid for your work you shouldn’t be surprised to discover that the poverty rate for people with disabilities runs at a couple of points below 50%.

That is a clear example of how a disability can affect your standard of living.

Difficulty finding work

Actually finding a job when you are disabled is a challenge. It seems that some countries have experienced a rise in disabled benefit claimants in recent years as a result of applicants being unable to source suitable employment.

The dramatic increase in the number of disabled people claiming benefits highlights how discrimination in the workplace is still an issue despite a greater level of awareness and tighter employment laws being introduced.

Not up to the task

It seems that an estimated one in three employers report that they are reluctant to hire a disabled person because they have concerns over their ability to perform all of the tasks required in the role.

All of these employment statistics highlighted all point to a worrying conclusion that a certain level of bias still exists when it comes to finding fair work opportunities as a disabled person.

Being deaf is not a disability

Shockingly, almost two-thirds of people who are asked their views on disability issues and discrimination have a view that being deaf should not be considered as a disability.

This is plainly wrong and shows that we have a long way to go when it comes to education on what being disabled means and how varied disabilities can be.

So many families are affected

As the litany of disability discriminations listed here begin to mount up you would be forgiven for thinking that the reason for this worrying level of ignorance and apathy is because it is something that only affects a small percentage of the population.

That would be an incorrect assumption. Take the United States, for instance, which has more than 20 million families where at least one member of that family has a disability.

It does beg the question as to why such a high level of discrimination exists when you consider how many families have first-hand experience of the challenges associated with living with a disability.

Healthcare affordability problems

Another shocking statistic to consider is the fact that about half of people who have some form of disability are unable to access the level of healthcare they need because they can’t afford it.

The cost of healthcare can be an issue, in general, but only about a third of people without a disability experience the same affordability problems. The cost of healthcare affects a greater percentage of disabled people and there are even reports that some people are denied healthcare altogether.

A growing problem relating to disabled children

The number of children around the world with a disability has risen steadily over the years and that means there is a greater demand than ever before in the healthcare system.

The problem is that the capacity of healthcare systems has not kept pace with the growth in the number of disabled children, creating inequity before the child has even reached adulthood and faced up to the challenges that come with that scenario.

Disability is a human rights issue

As you can see, it is not difficult to find examples of discrimination against disabled people in any number of key aspects of their lives.

Whether it is finding the right employment opportunities, being treated equally in the workplace, or accessing the right level of healthcare, these are just some of the issues that disabled person may find themselves routinely contending with.

There is a worldwide convention that spans over 170 different countries around the globe that aims to ensure that disability is recognized as a human rights issue. The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities has been created to try and protect the rights of all persons with a disability.

The fact that this organization exists and needs to continue raising awareness around the world should tell you that disability still creates huge problems for anyone who is trying to simply lead a normal life on an everyday basis.

Some of these facts and figures may well shock you, especially when we are supposed to live in such enlightened times.

Dragan Sutevski

Posted by Dragan Sutevski

Dragan Sutevski is a founder and CEO of Sutevski Consulting, creating business excellence through innovative thinking. Get more from Dragan on Twitter. Contact Dragan