United Nations Disability Statistics Programme

The United Nations Statistics Division (UNSD), through it Disability Statistics Programme, is responsible for the development of statistical methodological standards for disability measurement, the compilation and dissemination of national data based on official statistics, and for providing technical assistance to countries to build their statistical capacity in the area of disability statistics.

The website of the United Nations Disability Statistics Programme aims to facilitate the international exchange and sharing of technical knowledge and information in the area of disability statistics and measurement. The website presents available data and metadata on disability based on official national statistics. It also presents international guidelines and standards for disability measurement; information on regional and international meetings related to disability statistics; and links to other relevant sites and resources.

National and international efforts addressing the rights of persons with disabilities from an inclusive and human rights perspective and aimed at equalization of opportunities for persons with disabilities place a lot of emphasis on the importance of high quality data and statistics for inclusive policy planning, implementation and monitoring. Starting in the 1970s, these efforts include the United Nations General Assembly Declaration on the Rights of Disabled Persons (1975), the International Year of Disabled Person (1981), the World Programme of Action concerning Disabled Persons (1982), the United Nations Decade of Disabled Persons (1983-1992), the Standard Rules on the Equalization of Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities (1993), and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (2006). In addition, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development recognizes persons with disabilities as one of the vulnerable groups and commits to enhance capacity-building support to developing countries in order to increase significantly the availability of high-quality, timely and reliable data disaggregated by income, gender, age, race, ethnicity, migratory status, disability, geographic location and other characteristics relevant in national contexts.

Contact us: disabilitystats@un.org

Standards and methods

The United Nations Statistics Division issues standards and methods approved by the Statistical Commission to assist national statistical authorities and other producers of statistics in the collection, compilation and dissemination of data on disability.

Standards, concepts and methods:

Guidelines and Principles for the Development of Disability Statistics, 2001

Manual for the Development of Statistical Information for Disability: Programmes and Policies, 1996

International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF) Custodian: WHO

Additional technical materials:

Questions used to identify persons with disabilities in DISTAT, 1973 - 1996

Disability census questions, 1995 - 2004

Development of Statistics of Disabled Persons: Case Studies, 1986


Guidelines Washington Group on Disability Statistics

The United Nations Statistics Division works with the Washington Group on Disability Statistics to promote and co-ordinate international co-operation in the area of functioning and disability. Current work focuses on developing disability measures suitable for use in censuses and sample surveys. The work of the Group has been presented in several meetings worldwide.



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