Statistics on the social participation of people with disabilities from the EU
EUROSTAT conducted a survey in 2001 called Disability and social participation in Europe which responded to the growing demand for internationally comparable statistics on the situation of people with disabilities. This study also corresponded to the European Council resolution on equal opportunities for people with disabilities calling for more reliable statistics on people with disabilities to monitor their employment on the basis of comparable data. Similarly, data on the social inclusion of people with disabilities was required to guide the European Commission in 2003, the European Year of People with Disabilities. The survey was carried out by the EUROSTAT Health and Safety unit with support from the Directorate General for Employment and Social Affairs, Integration of People with Disabilities unit.
The survey attempted to answer the question, what is the degree of social participation of people with disabilities in Europe in the main areas of life including marriage, education, work, family and social contacts? The study tries to answer these questions using data from the European Community Household Panel (ECHP) covering many aspects of daily life including employment, income, demographic characteristics, the environment, health and education. The ECHP sample covers some 60,000 households and covers 14 out of 15 EU countries (Sweden was not included).
What the survey shows is a systematic difference between disabled and non-disabled populations in almost all areas of life. The magnitude of these differences varies from one country to another and the differences in educational, social, health and pension systems make the data difficult to compare at times. For instance, on the question of marital status, people without a disability are more likely to marry (78%) than those reporting a moderate disability (73%) or a severe disability (67%).
In the field of education, people with disabilities are much more likely not to complete tertiary education or the third level of education than those without disabilities.
The percentage of inactive working age people with disabilities is significantly higher than people without disabilities, particularly for those with severe disabilities (67% vs. 36%). Only 25% of people with severe disabilities are employed compared to 57% of the population without disabilities.
These are just a few examples of the information that can be obtained from this survey but it is an important first step in having data with indicators on the social participation of people with disabilities. This kind of data can be used to guide policy-making on a European level and is a model for other countries in their efforts to implement policies on equal opportunities and full participation.
Source: EUROSTAT, Disability and Social Participation in Europe, 2001.
UN Statistics Division Disability Webpage
EUROSTAT (2001) Disability and Social participation in Europe
Disability Monitor Initiative in South East Europe is managed by the Center for Society Orientation – COD (Centar za orijentaciju društva).
The mandate of COD is to support capacity building of local actors in the Republic of Serbia and other countries of Southeast Europe during transition period, in order to enable all marginalized groups, with a special focus on people with disabilities, enjoying their fundamental human rights and equal opportunities.