Our new research shows there are 1.6 million people with complex disabilities in the UK

Today is a really exciting day, as Sense is publishing some new research on how many people there are with complex disabilities in the UK. 

A group of people talking using hand-under-hand signing.

Knowing this number is really important. It means that we can tell the government why it matters that they listen to people with complex disabilities. It also means we can say why it’s so important that people help to raise money for Sense, or show their support by visiting a Sense charity shop.

As the policy research manager for Sense, my job is all about helping to find evidence and data to support our services and campaigns. Of all the projects I’ve done, I think that this is the most exciting as I really believe that it’s going to make such a difference to our work – and ultimately to the people who Sense supports.

So, what does the research tell us?  I thought I’d tell you my top three things that we’ve found out in this project and why they’re important:

  • There are 1.6 million people with complex disabilities living in the UK. This is the first time that we’ve had this number and it shows the true scale of complex disabilities.  This isn’t a small group of people, and we want to see how we can make sure they are able to live the lives they want to.
  • 1 in 10 disabled people have complex disabilities. It’s really helpful for us to have this number as it shows us how many disabled people have more complex needs. This helps us to tell health and social care services that they need to be designing services with people with complex disabilities in mind.
  • It is estimated that there will be two million people with complex disabilities by 2029. The number is growing and it shows us that our work at Sense is important, and that people need to listen to us as we’re not going away.

We’ve also got information on how the population of people with complex disabilities varies across the country. Did you know that in Wales there are 84,000 people with complex disabilities

Find out more about complex disabilities in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

We can also look at different regions, and the age, sex and ethnicity of people living there. So that means I can tell you that in Yorkshire and The Humber there are 24,139 children with complex disabilities. And that in the East Midlands there are 4,487 people with complex disabilities who identify as being Asian.

Interested in how many people with complex disabilities live in your area? Go ahead and have a look at the research to find out more. You can also read information about how we approached the research and our research partners too.