Saturday

25th Mar 2017

Focus

Disability in figures

People from Malta are least likely to say they have health problems that limit their daily activities. In 2011, almost 88 out of 100 told EU pollsters they were fine.

In contrast, only 64 percent of Slovenes did and - in 2010 - some 75 percent of EU citizens in general.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

  • Almost 9 in 10 Maltese reported not having any health problems that limit their daily activities. (Photo: European Commission)

That number has remained fairly constant over the past decade, even though in some countries, it has gone up or down over the years.

In Bulgaria, where in 2007 more than 95 percent said to have no problems, in 2011 less than 83 percent did. Similar drops have occurred in Italy and Denmark, while in Sweden, there was a rise of that magnitude.

In all EU member states, men report less health problems than women do. The average difference is some five percent. In some countries, including Denmark and the Netherlands, the difference is closer to 10 percent.

But that may be due to the fact that women tend to live longer.

Old people have more health problems than young people. For those aged 85 and above, that is more than 10 times as much as for those aged 16 to 24, of which seven percent complained about some kind of impairment.

The figures are from the EU's statistics office Eurostat and refer to people who reported feeling “limited in activities [they] usually do because of health problems for at least the last six months.”

They do not include those who are born blind, for example, as they are unlikely to feel limited by their lack of eyesight in the activities they usually do.

The EU does not on a regular basis collect data on people with disabilities as such. One of the problems is finding a common definition of disability, which, according to the European Disability Forum, an umbrella organisation, "is not an easy task."

The European Commission estimates that including all who have a “long-term physical, mental, intellectual or sensory impairment,” one in six people in the EU have a disability - or some 80 million.

Of them, some 30 million people are blind or partially sighted, according to the European Blind Union.

Deaf people are far less numerous, with some 750,000 users of sign language in Europe, according to a spokesperson for the European Union of the Deaf.

There are an estimated 5 million wheelchair users in Europe.

Other prevalent disabilities - severe and less severe - include dyslexia, with in Europe an estimated 25 million sufferers, stuttering, with 5 million, and autism, with 3.3 million.

Disability and EU austerity: a Portuguese case study

As executive director of a recuperation centre for disabled people in central Portugal, Cristina Silva has seen first hand how the economic crisis in Portugal is affecting society's most vulnerable.

EU parliament leaders in disability pledge

European Parliament leaders have committed themselves to better upholding the rights of persons with disabilities, starting with making their political websites more universally accessible ahead of next year's EU elections.

Interview

Disability in the EU - a 'paradigm shift'

Over recent decades, there has been a "paradigm shift" in the way disability rights are treated in the European Union with policy-makers now focussing on how to make society more inclusive of disabled people.

'Mr Putin steps into French elections'

Putin treated France's anti-EU firebrand, Le Pen, as if she had already won the elections. "I have my own viewpoint ... identical to Russia's", she said.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. European Gaming & Betting Association60 Years Rome Treaty – 60 Years Building an Internal Market
  2. Malta EU 2017New EU Rules to Prevent Terrorism and Give More Rights to Victims Approved
  3. European Jewish Congress"Extremists Still Have Ability and Motivation to Murder in Europe" Says EJC President
  4. European Gaming & Betting AssociationAudiovisual Media Services Directive to Exclude Minors from Gambling Ads
  5. ILGA-EuropeTime for a Reality Check on International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination
  6. UNICEFHuman Cost to Refugee and Migrant Children Mounts Up One Year After EU-Turkey Deal
  7. Malta EU 2017Council Adopts New Rules to Improve Safety of Medical Devices
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Energy Research: How to Reach 100 Percent Renewable Energy
  9. Party of European SocialistsWe Must Renew Europe for All Europeans
  10. MEP Tomáš ZdechovskýThe European Commission Has Failed in Its Fight Against Food Waste
  11. ILGA-EuropeEP Recognises Discrimination Faced by Trans & Intersex People
  12. Nordic Council of Ministers25 Nordic Bioeconomy Cases for Sustainable Change