City Groups   Washington Group

Washington Group on Disability Statistics

Photo Attribution: "Washington DC" by BKL - Licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0


The main objective of the Washington Group on Disability Statistics (WG) is the promotion and coordination of international cooperation in the area of health statistics by focusing on disability measures suitable for censuses and national surveys. The aim is to provide basic necessary information on disability that is comparable throughout the world. To meet the initial task of informing policy on equalization of opportunities, the WG has developed, tested internationally, and adopted the Short Set on Functioning (WG-SS) comprised of six disability measures suitable for use in censuses, sample-based national surveys, or other statistical instruments.

A second priority is to recommend one or more extended sets of survey items to measure disability that can be used as components of population surveys or as supplements to specialty surveys. To that end, the WG has developed, tested and adopted the Extended Set on Functioning for adults (WG-ES); an intermediate-length question set (WG-SS Enhanced); a Child Functioning Module (CFM) in collaboration with UNICEF; and a Labor Force Survey Disability Module (LFS-DM) in collaboration with the International Labour Organization (ILO). In addition, in collaboration with UNICEF, a module on inclusive education to identify barriers to school participation for all children and a version of the CFM to be administered to teachers (CFM-TV) as part of Education Information Management systems are currently being tested. These extended sets of survey items either include or compliment the WG-SS. The World Health Organization's (WHO) International Classification of Functioning, Disability, and Health (ICF) has been used as the basic framework for the development of all questions sets. The disability measures recommended by the WG, both short and extended, are accompanied by descriptions of their technical properties, and methodological guidance is given on their implementation and their applicability to population subgroups. The WG disseminates its work products globally through the world-wide web, scientific publications, trainings and seminars.

Year organized


Points of contact: Washington Group Secretariat (NCHS, U.S.A.)

Cordell Golden
National Center for Health Statistics
3311 Toledo Road
Hyattsville, MD 20782 (USA)
(Phone) 301-458-4237
(Fax) 301-458-4038

Heidi Ullmann
Health Statistician
National Center for Health Statistics
3311 Toledo Road
Hyattsville, MD 20782 (USA)
(Phone) 301-458-4531
(Fax) 301-458-4038

Julie D. Weeks
Chief, Measures Research and Evaluation Branchh
National Center for Health Statistics
3311 Toledo Road
Hyattsville, MD 20782 (USA)
(Phone) 301-458-4562
(Fax) 301-458-4038

Jennifer Madans
Guest Researcher
National Center for Health Statistics
3311 Toledo Road
Hyattsville, MD 20782 (USA)


Representatives of national statistical offices, international organizations, and non-government organizations including international disability organizations and organizations of persons with disabilities have participated in the last 20 WG annual meetings.

Current country representatives (from national statistical offices) include: Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Anguilla, Argentina, Armenia, Aruba, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belarus, Belgium, Benin, Bermuda, Bhutan, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Brazil, Bulgaria, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Canada, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Chile, China, Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of China, Macao Special Administrative Region of China, Colombia, Republic of Congo, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cuba, Curacao, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Denmark, Djibouti, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Eswatini, Ethiopia, Fiji, Finland, France, Gambia, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Guatemala, Guinea, Honduras, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Ivory Coast, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kiribati, Korea, Kosovo, Kuwait, Kyrgyz Republic, Laos, Latvia, Lebanon, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Malta, Mauritius, Mexico, Micronesia, Moldova, Mongolia, Montenegro, Monserrat, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Niger, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Palestine, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Romania, Russia, Rwanda, St. Lucia, St. Maarten, Samoa, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Serbia, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Somalia, South Africa, South Sudan, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Sweden, Syria, Tanzania, Thailand, Togo, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Tuvalu, Uganda, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States of America, Uruguay, Vanuatu, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Yemen, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. In the past, Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Comoros, Nigeria, and the Turks and Caicos Islands have also participated.

Current non-governmental organizations include: Humanity & Inclusion (HI: formerly Handicap International), Higher Council for Affairs of Persons with Disabilities, Inter-American Institute on Disability, International Labour Organization (ILO), Latin American Network of Non-Governmental Organizations of Persons With Disabilities and their Families (RIADIS), Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), National Disability Authority-Ireland, Inter-American Development Bank (IADB), International Development Project, Rehabilitation International (RI), United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), United Nations Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (UN ECLAC), United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UN ESCAP), United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (UN ESCWA), United Nations Economic Commission of Europe (UN ECE), United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), United Nations Statistics Division (UNSD), World Bank, and World Health Organization (WHO).

Governmental organizations, including public disability entities: Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), European Disability Forum, Eurostat, the German The Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ), Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), United Kingdom Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO, formerly DFID)Coordenadoria Nacional para Integração da Pessoa Portadora de Deficiência (CORDE) in Brazil, Secretaria Nacional para la Integración de las personas con Discapacidad (SENADIS) in Panama, and Disabled Organization for Legal Affairs and Social Economic Development (DOLASED) in Tanzania.

Report of the Twenty first meeting (WG-21): 8-10 November 2021

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the in-person meeting scheduled to be hosted by the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics was postponed. In lieu of the in-person meeting, a shortened virtual meeting, organized by the WG Secretariat (WGS) and the Steering Committee, was held via Zoom. To account for regional time differences, the WG-21 was divided into two session tracks: one to accommodate participants from the Americas, Europe, Africa and the Middle East and another for participants from countries in the Asia and Pacific regions. Approximately 120 participants from over 50 countries representing national statistics offices, ministries of health, academia, international and non-government organizations, and organizations representing persons with disabilities attended the two session tracks combined. The meeting was conducted in English and included interpretation in French.

The objectives of WG-21 were:

  • • To share what has been accomplished since the May 2021 mid-year meeting and present plans for the year to come.
  • • To provide feedback to the workgroups and regional groups on their accomplishments and their workplans and discuss next steps.
  • • To learn about applications of the WG tools in different contexts by WG partners.
  • • To share experiences on disability data collection in administrative records and plans for the 2020 census round.

Innovations and WGS updates

In response to comments received following WG-20 and the May 2021 mid-year meetings, two innovations were introduced in WG-21: breakout sessions to discuss regional workgroup updates and experiences on using the WG tools in the 2020 census round and polls to elicit feedback from participants on the substantive content of the meeting and perspectives on next steps and activities. These two innovations were well received by participants as a way to promote interaction and to exchange views on the topics under discussion. The WGS announced a new grant from the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) of Germany that will support the work of two Regional Disability Statistics Groups in Africa (Brazzaville Group comprised of French-speaking African countries and the South and East Africa Group comprised of English-speaking African countries). The grant generously provided funds for French interpretation services during WG-21. This grant, which will extend through October 2022, will be administered by the University College London. The WGS also shared its plans to create short videos in collaboration with the Center for Inclusive Policy to increase the accessibility of information addressing the most frequent requests for information received by the WGS.

Accomplishments and activities since WG-20

The WGS updated members on accomplishments and activities since the 20th Annual Meeting. Among these was the organization of three trainings, one in July 2021 for the Namibia Statistics Agency on the implementation of the Washington Group Question Sets ahead of their census held in conjunction with UNFPA and UNDP; one in August 2021 at the request of the Disabled People’s Organisation of Denmark with participation of OPDs from Ghana, Nepal and Rwanda; and one in September 2021, convened by the WGS on experiences using the CFM-TV (more on this activity below). The WGS has also provided technical assistance to seven National Statistical Offices and other public entities since WG-20 (Gambia Bureau of Statistics; National Rehabilitation Center for Persons with Disabilities of Japan; Maldives National Bureau of Statistics; National Public Health Institute of Finland; National Institute of Statistics and Geography of Mexico; Statistics New Zealand; United States Agency for International Development). Finally, the WGS has responded to requests for information and translations of WG tools, presented at conferences and seminars, and contributed comments and inputs to partner consultations and documents, including those of the Global Action on Disability (GLAD) Network and the World Bank.

Application of the WG Tools Around the Globe: Results from the Country Report Forms

As is done annually, the WG prepared and disseminated a brief questionnaire ahead of WG-21 to better understand disability measurement practices and plans, including the use of the WG tools, among its members. For WG-21, the form was streamlined and converted to an Excel format to facilitate completion among members. Fifty-nine countries completed and returned the country report form. Based on the information that was provided, and taking a cumulative count including country report forms that were submitted over the past decade, between 2009 and 2020, 111 countries have applied the WG-SS in a census or survey. Thirty-four countries responded that they will use the WG-SS in a census or survey taking place in 2021 and 2022. In terms of other data collections, eight countries reported that they will carry out stand-alone disability surveys (Argentina, Australia, Canada, the Gambia, Kenya, Qatar, Peru and Samoa). The vast majority of countries that completed a country report form (n=47/59) collect disability data in administrative records, most often in disability registries, or in relation to social protection allowances, education or health services. Finally, few countries (n=9/59) reported awareness of COVID-19 related disability data collection.

Workgroup updates

Mental health and psychosocial functioning

The group is proceeding with cognitive testing of additional psychosocial questions to assess mental health functioning. Previously, testing has been conducted in the U.S. and in South Africa. Current activities are in preparation for testing to occur in Costa Rica in early 2022. Interviewer training materials have been prepared, translated and finalized, with assistance provided by the U.S. National Center for Health Statistics, the Secretaría Nacional para la Integración de las personas con Discapacidad (SENADIS) of Chile, and members of the WG Buenos Aires Regional Disability Statistics Group. Discussion are being held with the Interagency Standing Committee’s subgroup on inclusion of persons with disabilities in humanitarian contexts about possibilities of conducting cognitive and field testing within their projects. Countries interested in conducting some cognitive interviewing and/or some field-testing are invited to contact the WGS and/or the working groups leaders.

Environment & Participation

The group has held one meeting, during which it was decided to advance towards developing questions that can be used to assess accessibility in transportation. To advance further, the group chair requested that WG members send examples of questions they may have applied in surveys or other data collection instruments on this topic.


Following discussions held during the May 2021 mid-year meeting, the WG membership agreed to the creation of a workgroup on age-adjustment. The Age-adjustment workgroup is comprised of representatives from INDEC Argentina, DANE Colombia, INEGI Mexico, Statistics New Zealand and the WGS. The group held its first meeting in September 2021 and it was decided that the group will prepare a guidance document on age adjustment in the context of disability data collection. An initial outline of this document is circulating among group members and one of the group members (INEGI) has sent an input for consideration.

Regional disability statistics group updates

There are six active regional disability statistics groups: the Brazzaville group (French-speaking African countries), the Buenos Aires group (Latin American countries), the Casablanca group (Arabic-speaking countries of the Middle East and Northern Africa), the Kathmandu group (South Asian countries), the Pacific group (small island Pacific countries), and the South/East Africa group (English-speaking African countries). In order to facilitate a regional discussion and to help overcome the challenge of not having interpretation in many of the languages represented, the regional workgroup updates were organized in breakout sessions according to region/language. The chairs of the regional groups subsequently reported back in plenary on the main points that were discussed. The South/East Africa group discussed modalities for coordinating the group between Statistics South Africa and the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics. The group has draft Terms of Reference that will be shared with other NSOs to agree on a work plan and activities, some of which will be supported by the BMZ grant. The Buenos Aires group heard updates from its three workgroups and on progress towards hiring a consultant who will prepare a report with recommendations on the collection of disability data in the context of education administrative records in the region. The Kathmandu group discussed country plans for the 2020 census round, the organization of a second meeting of the Kathmandu group and decided to create an expert directory that can be drawn from to conduct trainings and other capacity-building initiatives. The Pacific group indicated that it has submitted a grant proposal to DFAT to mobilize some resources to support group activities and that the proposal has been received favorably. The Brazzaville Group plans to schedule a series of virtual meetings in lieu of in-person meetings given financial considerations, to identify focal points in the NSOs in the region and to finalize the Terms of Reference. A meeting was also held for countries and partners not affiliated with a regional group. The attendees from South East Asia were interested in starting a group for that region. The WGS will follow-up with these countries. Attendees from other countries saw advantages in continuing to meet to discuss and address common interests.

Experiences using the Child Functioning Module – Teacher Version (CFM-TV)

During WG-21, the WGS shared information on efforts to advance knowledge sharing on ongoing testing of the CFM-TV. The WGS had received multiple requests for information on the testing and use of the CFM-TV in a range of contexts, including humanitarian and emergency contexts. As evidence on the CFM-TV is still limited, the requestors were planning or undertaking evaluations of the CFM-TV. The WG Secretariat convened a meeting in September 2021 to promote an exchange of knowledge among partners regarding their experiences with the CFM-TV and plans for evaluations. The objectives of this meeting were to provide a space to share information, to establish connections among partners, and to explore future activities. Participants were invited to provide a brief intervention on their experiences and/or planned activities using the CFM-TV, followed by an open discussion of the presentations and a discussion of next steps. Invitations were extended to those who requested information and access to the CFM-TV from the WGS and the following entities participated in the meeting: Education Cannot Wait; Humanity and Inclusion; Save the Children International; Save the Children Norway; Sightsavers; UNICEF; USAID; and World Vision. During the meeting, participants requested that the WGS continue to convene meetings so that they can share progress on their respective projects and to develop a document that summarized the different planned evaluation strategies, as well as a statement of cross-cutting issues that would be addressed in evaluations of the CFM-TV. Participants suggested that the group consider sharing experiences in some to-be-determined format during the Global Disability Summit. GLAD was also raised as possible dissemination entry-point. Two partners that participated in the CFM-TV informational meeting (HI and UNICEF) presented during the WG-21 and shared their experiences.

The use of the WG tools in humanitarian crises and emergencies

The WGS has received inquiries and requests for information and technical guidance on the use of the WG tools in the context of humanitarian crises and emergencies. In view of this, a session on this topic was included in WG-21 so that WG members can learn of the application of the WG tools in these settings. A representative from UNHCR presented on the work this entity is doing to advance disability data collection in humanitarian crises and emergencies, including modifications to their information systems and the inclusion of WG questions in their registrations. A partner from Education Cannot Wait (ECW) shared information about this entity and their work in providing education in emergency contexts and their efforts to ensure that learners with disabilities are considered in these settings. They noted a joint project between ECW, HI and the WG to evaluate the use of the CFM-TV in emergency settings.

The use of the WG tools in administrative records

During WG-21 presentations were made on the use of the WG tools in administrative records in South Africa, Rwanda, and Costa Rica. Harmonization across administrative and statistical data collections was the focus of the South African presentation; for Rwanda the presentation focused on the GIZ-supported Disability Management Information System (DMIS); and for Costa Rica, the presentation centered on the Costa Rican System on Information about Disability project which is now in its operational stage. Despite convincing arguments for the harmonization of disability data collection across administrative records in public entities, common challenges were identified including the complex nature of the concept of disability; the lack of a uniform definition of disability across entities; different purposes for data collection; and the limited amount of space to ask about disability. The distinction between disability identification and eligibility determination was also discussed.

Brief partner presentations

The WGS welcomed the participation of three partners (UN ESCWA, Save the Children International and the Stakeholder Group of Persons with Disabilities (SGPD)) during the WG-21. Each provided an overview of recent activities and future planned initiatives. A representative from UN ESCWA briefed the WG membership on their regional disability data programme and plans to advance the development of a model disability stand-alone survey. The role the WG will play in this initiative will be explored. The representative from Save the Children International provided a summary of a study they conducted on the COVID-19 pandemic and its impacts on children with disabilities and their families. Colleagues from SGPD shared information on their Disability Data Toolkit prepared to promote the use of data for disability advocacy and other planned activities, including reports and workshops in the Pacific region.

UNICEF launch event

During the last day of WG-21, UNICEF launched its Global Report on Children with Disabilities and Centre of Excellence on Data for Children with Disabilities. The launch event featured keynote statements, presentations of the report’s key findings, the Centre’s activities and goals as well as a dialogue among stakeholders on promoting the rights of children with disabilities through inclusive data. Two representatives from the WGS participated in the event.

Key agreements of WG-21 and next steps

At the conclusion of the meeting, the following next steps were agreed upon to: share the psychosocial test questions; send examples of questions on transportation to the Environment and Participation work group; finalize the development of a guidance document on age-adjustment; continue to facilitate spaces to share experiences on the CFM-TV; develop guidance on the evaluation of CFM-TV; determine the role of WG in disability survey development including the formation of a work group on disability surveys; determine the role of WG in addressing the use of WG tools in humanitarian contexts and disasters including the development of a guidance document on use of WG tools in these contexts; and continue to make progress in advancing the plans of the regional work groups.

In keeping with UN guidelines, issues of gender bias and other potential sources of bias will be a consideration of all WG work.

Links to the recordings and copies of the presentations from each of the sessions are available on the WG's website: Twenty-first Annual Meeting was held virtually November 8-10, 2021 - The Washington Group on Disability Statistics (


Proceedings from the meetings (presentations and papers), reports to the UN Statistical Commission, final meeting reports, and information on upcoming meetings can be accessed through the Washington Group website

Reporting to the UN Statistical Commission

Appendix: Past meetings/major outcomes

First meeting (WG-1): Washington, D.C., 18-20 February 2002

Agreement was reached on the following: 1) it is important and possible to craft a short set/s of internationally comparable disability measures; 2) short and long set(s) of measures that are inter-related are needed; 3) the ICF model will be used as a framework in developing disability measures; and 4) census questions are the first priority.

Second meeting (WG-2): Ottawa, 9-10 January 2003

A link was established between the purpose/s of a short measure on disability and aspects of measurement. A conceptual matrix was developed linking the purpose of a short disability measure with conceptual definitions and question characteristics. An empirical matrix was developed evaluating the characteristics of short set(s) of disability measures currently in use according to the dimensions of the conceptual matrix. Both matrices helped the WG to identify gaps in disability measurement.

Third meeting (WG-3): Brussels, 19-20 February 2004

Since disability is multidimensional, it is not possible to ascertain the single "true" disabled population. Different purposes are related to different dimensions of disability or different conceptual components of disability models. Equalization of opportunities was selected as the purpose for which an internationally comparable short disability measure would be developed. A work group was designated to generate a draft set of questions related to this purpose. In addition, two other work groups were formed to propose methods for implementing the short set and to propose an approach for developing extended measurement sets related to the short set. Finally, a plan for WG governance was adopted.

Fourth meeting (WG-4): Bangkok, 29 September - 1 October 2004

Agreement was reached on the following: Conceptual agreement on a draft set of questions for the general disability measure, but wording revisions were required prior to pre-testing; a new workgroup operating in conjunction with a consultant to develop six implementation protocols for pre-testing the short set of disability measures was formed; agreement to start development of the first extended measurement set was reached; and a new workgroup on methodological issues was formed.

Fifth meeting (WG-5): Rio de Janeiro, 21-23 September 2005

Revisions were suggested for the short measurement set, the accompanying rationale, and the implementation protocols. A new work group was formed to plan and implement analyses of the WG pre-tests. All results pertaining to the six WG questions will be considered by the new workgroup including the WG sponsored pre-tests, the WHO/ESCAP test, and other testing activities.

Sixth meeting (WG-6): Kampala, 10-13 October 2006

Based on the outcomes of the pre-tests, the WG endorsed the six question set (WG-SS) for use in censuses. The set comprises questions on four core functional domains (seeing, hearing, walking, and cognition) as well as two additional domains desired by member countries (self-care and communication). The methodological workgroup and the data analysis work group merged to continue the detailed analysis of the pre-test data. The workgroup on extended measures was charged with drafting a position paper on the first extended set.

Seventh meeting (WG-7): Dublin, 19-21 September 2007

The workgroup on the short set addressed the use of the WG-SS as a screener and presented an alternative (optional) question on upper body function. The combined workgroup on data analysis and methodological issues provided further analyses of the pre-test data presented at WG-6. A large part of WG-7 was dedicated to a discussion of work being done on the extended set of disability questions for surveys and survey modules. The extended set workgroup would coordinate its work with the work of the Budapest Initiative Task Force on Measuring Health Status (BI), Eurostat, and UN ESCAP.

Eighth meeting (WG-8): Manila, 29-31 October 2008

Work on the extended set continued by expanding upon the set of domains already covered in the WG-SS, and adding supplementary questions within domains (cause, age at onset, duration). Development of the extended set/s was to be done in collaboration with the BI, Eurostat, and UN ESCAP. Methodological issues were raised concerning the development of questions for children and institutionalized populations and the use of proxy respondents. WG representatives from Canada and France volunteered to look at the work being done in the areas of children and institutionalized populations.

Ninth meeting (WG-9): Dar es Salaam, 7-9 October 2009

The primary focus of WG-9 was the presentation and discussion of results from the cognitive tests and preliminary field tests results in South-East Asia. Preliminary results from the field tests in two of the participating UN ESCAP countries (Maldives and Sri Lanka) were presented. The overall conclusion was that further analysis of the field test data was required before a final decision could be made regarding the extended set of questions. It was concluded that it was beyond the scope of the WG to address the issue of dealing with institutionalized populations at that time. Two workgroups were constituted to look more closely at the measurement of child disability and the development of a set of questions on environmental factors as they relate to the measurement of disability. It was strongly recommended by the delegates, particularly those from African countries, that projects similar to the one funded by UN ESCAP in the Asia and Pacific region, also be established in other regions.

Tenth meeting (WG-10): Luxembourg, 3-5 November 2010

WG-10 was held in conjunction with the BI. The primary focus of the meeting was to review results obtained from the 2010 round of cognitive and field testing of the WG-ES that took place in Europe (Granada Group) and South-East Asia (UN ESCAP). In collaboration with the BI, a final version of a question set on health state (a subset of the WG-ES) was submitted to Eurostat for inclusion on the European Health Interview Survey (EHIS). It was determined that the workgroups were ready to begin developing question sets designed to measure disability for children and environmental factors.

Eleventh meeting (WG-11): Southampton, 14-16 November 2011

The WG began to monitor the use the WG-SS in national data collections (censuses and surveys). Preliminary analyses of data provided by countries using the WG-SS and of the WG-ES using data obtained from the NHIS were presented. The children's workgroup presented on the development of the extended set for children including a conceptual framework. A formal collaboration was arranged between the WG and UNICEF to work on the development of specific question modules designed to measure disability among children. The workgroup investigating environmental factors also presented their work consisting of a conceptual framework and related questions sets.

Twelfth meeting (WG-12): Bangkok, 23-25 October 2012

Results from further analysis of data provided by countries using the WG-SS in recent national data collections (censuses and surveys) and from a mixed-method approach to assess validity and cross-subgroup comparability of the WG-ES using data from the 2010 and 2011 NHIS were presented. The workgroup investigating environmental factors and participation provide an update on their work including a review of the conceptual framework and related questions sets. The workgroup (in collaboration with UNICEF) on the development of specific question modules designed to measure disability among children presented a review of the conceptual framework for question development and a proposed set of questions/p>

Thirteenth meeting (WG-13): Amman, 29-31 October 2013

Results from the continued analysis of data provided by countries using the WG-SS in recent national data collections (censuses and surveys) and analyses using data from the 2010 and 2011 US NHIS addressing how best to combine information from several questions per domain on the WG-ES and develop standards for determination of cut-points were presented.

TThe WG/UNICEF workgroup on the development of specific question modules designed to measure disability among children presented the results of cognitive testing that was completed in Oman, Belize, India, Montenegro and USA and the revised CFM.

The presentation on whether and how issues related to mental health could be incorporated into the work of the WG resulted in the creation of a workgroup to further address this. Interest was also expressed in having the WG look into the use of data registers in the compilation of disability statistics.

Fourteenth meeting (WG-14): Buenos Aires, 8-10 October 2014

Final results from the analysis of data provided by countries using the WG-SS showed that although countries continue to report disparate disability prevalence rates; with some exceptions, those that use the WG as intended, using a cut-off of least one domain that is coded as a lot of difficulty or cannot do it at all, have reported disability prevalence rates that are comparable - in the range 7 - 10%. Using 2010 and 2011 NHIS data, algorithms for combining multiple domain questions into single domain indicators of disability and developing standards for determination of cut-points using the WG-ES were presented. A small workgroup was formed to finalize the analysis. The WG/UNICEF workgroup on disability among children and inclusive education and the workgroup on mental health presented the work accomplished in the previous. Two representatives from the Saudi Disability Registry Group (SDRG) presented on their experience developing a national disability registry. The delegates agreed that the workgroup should continue its efforts and provide a status update at the next meeting.

Fifteenth meeting (WG-15): Copenhagen, Denmark 27-29 October 2015

Proposed guidelines for analyzing data obtained from the WG-ES were discussed. A small workgroup will finalize the analysis for the outstanding domains and present results at the next meeting.

Status reports were provided by the workgroups focusing on methodological issues concerning surveys: child disability, mental health, disability module for labor force surveys, and environmental factors & participation. The child disability workgroup presented findings from preliminary analyses of data collected in a Samoan Demographic and Health Survey. The workgroup also presented results from the cognitive tests of the module on inclusive education carried out in the United States. A review of the development of a proposed disability module intended for use in labor force surveys was provided. The workgroup investigating the development of measures specific to mental health presented the work accomplished in the previous year. The meeting also included a review of recent international activities in disability statistics including the use of outcome indicators for monitoring the UN Convention for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Sixteenth meeting (WG-16): Pretoria, South Africa 7-9 December 2016

The guidelines for analyzing data obtained using the WG-ES were finalized and approved by the delegates in attendance. The final version of the WG/UNICEF CFM was presented and formally adopted. Discussions included additional work in the development of the modules on barriers and facilitators to school participation (for children) and to employment (for adults). There was additional discussion of issues pertaining to measuring mental health. The next steps and future plans for the workgroups addressing these topics were discussed. The meeting also included special sessions devoted to the use of WG tools for disaggregation of the SDGs by disability status, and Disability Measurement in Africa.

Seventeenth meeting (WG-17): Sydney, Australia 31 October - 2 November 2017

An overview of the recently revised WG website was provided at the meeting. The sessions also included a review of the best practices when implementing the WG data collection tools. Guidelines for analyzing data obtained using the WG-ES were presented and approved. The guidelines including SPSS and SAS syntax are available on the WG website. Discussions included the further development of modules on barriers and facilitators to school participation (children) and to employment (adults) as well as issues pertaining to measuring psychosocial functioning. The meeting also included special sessions devoted to regional capacity building to improve the collection and analysis of disability statistics, disability in Australia and New Zealand and measuring Disability in Asia and the Pacific region.

Eighteenth meeting (WG-18): Rome, Italy 7-9 November 2018

A representative from the World Bank highlighted the organization’s commitment to disability inclusive development and outlined their plans to incorporate the WG-SS into their Living Standards Measurement Study (LSMS). A representative from Eurostat outlined plans to modernize the European Social Surveys, which included integrating a subset of the WG-SS into the European Union Statistics on Income and Living Conditions (EU-SILC) and a subset of the WG/UNICEF CFM into the EHIS. The analysis workgroup reported on developing mutually exclusive severity categories and measurement of disability across multiple domains at different cut-offs. The Child Disability & Inclusive Education workgroup outlined plans for further testing of the WG/UNICEF Inclusive Education Module (IEM) in countries with an identifiable population of ‘out of school’ children. The Mental Health & Psychosocial Functioning workgroup presented results from a scoping literature review on activity limitations, participation restrictions and environmental barriers commonly associated with common and severe mental disorders and proposed a draft module based on the results of the scoping review for future cognitive testing. Preliminary results from cognitive tests in Mongolia were presented by the Disability Module for Labor Force Surveys workgroup. The Administrative Data workgroup discussed the challenges with using administrative data for measuring disability prevalence and the associated WG blog.

Nineteenth meeting (WG-19): Buenos, Argentina 7-9 September 2019

The formal WG meeting was preceded by a pre-meeting session attended by a representative from ECLAC and WG representatives from Latin American and Caribbean countries. The goal of the session was to build on the increasing country and region-specific interest in utilizing the WG tools and lay the foundation for the establishment of a regional entity in Latin America and the Caribbean to collaborate on implementation activities and share best practices for the collection of disability data at the regional level. ECLAC and the WG country representatives from Brazil and Argentina agreed to take on leading roles in this group. The Mental Health & Psychosocial Functioning workgroup presented preliminary results from cognitive tests conducted in South Africa of the draft module presented at the previous year’s meeting. The workgroup on child functioning and disability introduced a draft of the CFM-Teacher Version (CFM-TV). The module is intended to be administered to teachers and school administrators. A representative from the ILO presented final results from field testing of WG/ILO Labor Force Survey Disability Module (LFS-DM) in Mongolia. At the conclusion of the presentation, the WG/ILO LFS-DM was endorsed by the meeting attendees. The Data Analysis & Dissemination workgroup provided an update on their work to address the determination of mutually exclusive severity categories using the WG-SS and presented examples of templates for standard tables for the reporting of results using the WG questions.

Twentieth meeting (WG-20): virtual

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the in-person meeting scheduled to be hosted by the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics was postponed. In lieu of the in-person meeting, a shortened virtual meeting, organized by the WG Secretariat and Steering Committee, was held via Zoom from 22-24 September 2020. During this session, the WG officially launched an updated version of its website. The new and improved website provides the WG tools and information, guidance and support for all interested in the collection, dissemination, analysis and evaluation of disability statistics. A major objective of the redesign was to make the site user-friendly and easily accessible.

Sixteen countries reported COVID-related data collection activities that also include disability questions; three of which reported that the WG-SS (or subset) or WG-SS Enhanced were included in the data collection. There was agreement that the analytic guidelines for developing severity indicators using the WG questions and disability indicators created by combining information from multiple functional domains (e.g. vision-hearing and cognition-communication) prepared by the Data Analysis & Dissemination group would finalized and made available on the WG website. The Terms of Reference developed by the Environment and Participation was presented followed by agreement that the workgroup should continue its efforts. An update on the status of the module on Child Disability and Inclusive Education workgroup (in collaboration with UNICEF) designed to assess facilitators and barriers to school participation was presented. Testing planned for 2020, was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. . A draft of the CFM- Teacher Version (CFM-TV) was presented. The results from the test in Senegal were favorable, but additional testing is needed. The Mental Health & Psychosocial Functioning Workgroup shared preliminary results from cognitive tests of the draft module conducted in South Africa and in the United States. Next steps include finalizing the report, and revising the cognitive testing protocol based on the results of the South Africa tests and addition of alternative test questions. Several countries have expressed interest in testing the module including Brazil, Costa Rica, Israel, Russia, and Tunisia - in collaboration with HI. Regarding efforts to establish regional disability statistics entities, to date, four active regional groups have been established: 1) the Pacific Group on Disability Statistics (for countries in Polynesia, Melanesia, and Micronesia), 2) the Buenos Aires Group (for Spanish-speaking Latin America and Caribbean countries), 3) the Brazzaville Group (for French-speaking and West Africa countries), and 4) the Casablanca Group (for Arabic-speaking countries). Updates were provided from Samoa, Argentina, and the Republic of Congo on the status of the groups in their respective regions.

First mid-year meeting - 2021: virtual

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the first-ever mid-year meeting of the Washington Group on Disability Statistics was organized by the WG Secretariat and Steering Committee and held via Zoom on 26 May 2021. One hundred twenty-five representatives from 51 national statistical offices and 18 Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), including OPDs and academia, and multilateral organizations participated in the 2021 mid-year meeting of the Washington Group on Disability Statistics. The objectives of the 2021 mid-year meeting were to share WG updates since the 20th annual meeting held 20-22 September 2020; advance discussions around dissemination of disability data using WG tools; conduct a work session on age-adjustment; set up a new work group to develop age-adjustment best practices; revisit disability reporting using a standard template; share updates and work plans from the workgroups, regional disability statistics groups, and discuss plans for the 21st annual meeting. The WG Steering Committee welcomed its newest member, Riyaza Fathimath from the National Bureau of Statistics Maldives, who will serve as a regional member representing Asia and the Pacific. The Steering Committee also welcomed Heidi Ullmann, who came to the U.S. National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) in September 2020 and joined the WG Secretariat staff. In addition, Jennifer Madans announced her retirement from NCHS in December 2020. She will continue to serve as the Chair of the WG Steering Committee. Cordell Golden, WG Secretariat, has taken a two-year leave of absence from NCHS to pursue a degree in data science. During his absence, Heidi Ullmann and other members of the Secretariat will fulfil Cordell’s usual WG activities. During the mid-year meeting, several changes to the WG Governance document that were approved by the Steering Committee were announced. These include adding language about the WG Regional Disability Statistics Groups, adding the option for a vice-Chair position, expanding the Steering Committee to include the leaders of the Regional Disability Statistics Group leaders, editing and expanding preference for membership in the Steering Committee to maximize the participation of different members.

Last updated 17 November 2021