Life opportunities survey: interim results 2009/10

Document type
Office for National Statistics
Date of publication
1 December 2010
Disabled people, Social Policy
Social welfare
Material type

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The Life Opportunities Survey is a large-scale longitudinal survey of disability in Great Britain. It is the first major Office for National Statistics social survey in Great Britain to explore disability in terms of the social barriers to participation that people experience, rather than only measuring disability in terms of impairments or health conditions. The survey compares the experiences of people with and without impairments across a range of areas, including education and training, employment, transport, leisure, social and cultural activities, and social contact. The survey provides a robust data source for understanding the multi-dimensional and dynamic nature of disability. Impairments are defined as long-term characteristics of an individual that affect their functioning and/or appearance. Disability, however, is viewed as the disadvantage, or restriction of activity and participation, caused by aspects of society that take little or no account of the needs of people with impairments. The survey found that twenty-six per cent of adults in Great Britain were disabled, as defined by the Disabilities Discrimination Act, and twenty-nine per cent of adults in Great Britain had an impairment. Among the findings regarding restriction of activity and participation were that seventy-four per cent of adults with impairments experienced restrictions in using transport and eighty-three per cent of adults with impairments experienced a participation restriction in leisure, social and cultural activities.

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