Complex disabilities in the UK research: Methodology

How we measured complex disabilities in the UK

Sense worked with the National Centre for Social Research to estimate how many people with complex disabilities live in the UK. Our study also provided regional and demographic insights, as well as a projection of complex disability in the future.

These estimates have been developed using the data collected in the Department for Work and Pensions’ annual Family Resources Survey (FRS) from 2012/13 to 2019/20. The FRS is a leading data source on disability in the UK.

In these surveys, data is collected on all members of each sampled household. FRS respondents are asked to provide information on their financial circumstances, living arrangements and their health. The latter touches on both physical and mental health, including long-term illness and health conditions and the impact these have on people’s lives.

Information collected in these surveys was coupled with official UK population estimates, allowing us to identify the number of people living with complex disabilities and their demographic profiles.

Estimating population numbers for smaller sub-groups, geographic areas and future projections was done with a modelling approach. For these calculations, we used data collected in previous waves of the FRS as well as information on the historic and future make-up of the UK population.

It’s important to note that our ethnicity estimates are based on data collected from small numbers of people from different ethnic minority backgrounds. The modelling and data used to estimate these figures mean that they do not always add up to the same total and they should be interpreted with caution, particularly in smaller geographic areas.

Get in touch

Please contact [email protected] if you have any questions, or would like localised data for your area.