EUGLOREH project
THE STATUS OF HEALTH IN THE EUROPEAN UNION:
TOWARDS A HEALTHIER EUROPE

FULL REPORT

PART II - HEALTH CONDITIONS

8. DISABILITIES

8.1. OVERALL DISABILITY DATA AND POLICIES

8.1.3. Data Presentation

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8.1.3. Data Presentation

 

Prevalence of limitations and disabilities

 

On the basis of the LFS results of self-reported conditions, it is estimated that about 16% of men and women aged 16-64 in the EU have a long standing health problem or disability (LSHPD). About one third of persons affected by such condition reports not to have difficulties in working or other everyday activities. More than half of people affected by LSHPD indicated they experience limitations in the kind or amount of work they can do, while about one third reported to suffer restrictions in the mobility to and from work. Since these problems may occur simultaneously in the same individual, altogether restrictions related to work are experienced by 10% of men and women aged 16-64.

 

Table 8.1. Proportion of people aged 16-64 with a long-standing health problem or disability (LSHPD)

 

The occurrence of restrictions in work ability due to LSHPD increases with age: reported prevalence was less than 4% in the age group 16-24, 9% in the age group 25-54 and about 20% (those considerably restricted were about 12%) in the age group 55-64. Chest and breathing problems as well as mental nervous and emotional problems were more frequent, while circulatory problems and back and neck problems were less frequent, in the age group 16-24 years compared with older age groups. Among people with considerable restrictions related to work, 42% indicated limb, neck or back problems, 24% indicated diabetes, chest, heart, and stomach problems, 4% reported sight, hearing, speech and skin problems.

 

Among people suffering from sight, hearing, speech and skin problems, almost 60% reported no restrictions in work activities. Considerable restrictions with regard to work were reported by 60% of those affected by mental problems or epilepsy; by about 30% of those affected by diabetes, chest, heart and stomach problems; and about 44% of those with limb, neck or back problems and by persons suffering from progressive diseases and other problems.

 

Slightly more women than men result limited in their everyday activities while the opposite appears with respect to work activities. This difference may result from a different attitude of women with limitations, compared with their male counterpart, to be involved in .

Differences among countries vary widely, but these data may be affected by differences in self-perception of the health and disability status.

 

Access to education

 

Participation to education and training among those aged 16-19 was 63% for persons with considerable restrictions in the ability to work and 75% for persons that were restricted to some extent, against 83% for those not restricted. In the age group 20-24, this proportion was 23% for persons with considerable restrictions and 36% for those limited to some extent, compared to 43% for those with no restrictions. These differences are also reflected in the attainment of educational qualifications beyond compulsory schooling. Moreover, reduced participation in education and training is more evident in women than men with considerable limitations.

 

Employment rates

 

The age-standardized employment rates of people in the age group 16-64 were 28% among those with considerable limitations and about 62% for those with limitations to some extent, as compared with 68% in those with no limitations. Among people aged 16-24 with considerable limitations, such proportion was 27%, compared with 45% in people with no restrictions; in the age group 55-64 years, such proportion was reduced to 15% as compared to 45% in unrestricted people of corresponding age.

 

Support provided and needed

 

Broad differences exist in the provision of support to people with limitations in the ability to work: provision of support ranges from more than 50% to less than 10% of persons with considerable limitations across the EU Member States. In all EU Member States these proportions were much smaller with regard to people with limitation to some extent, with the exception of Belgium and the Netherlands, which provided support to about 42% of persons with partial limitations.

 

Support is mainly provided with regard to the kind of work (40%), amount of work (17%), general support and understanding (12%) and assistance with mobility (10%). People with considerable limitations hold help in transfer to and from work more important than help in the kind of work, while those with limitations to some extent considered support with the kind and amount of work more important than that in transport.

 

Income

 

The earnings of people with considerable limitations were 22% lower than those of people without limitations. The wage gap between men and women is also apparent here: earnings of men with strong limitations are 12% lower, while those of women considerably limited are 28% lower, than those of people (both genders) with no limitations. Differences in earnings reflect differences in educational and occupational achievements.

 

In 2003 the proportion of men in working age (16-64 years) with income below the poverty line was 20% among those considerably limited and about 17% among those limited to some extent. Among women of working age, about 16% of those with considerable limitations and about 14% of those limited to some extent had income below the poverty line. These figures compare with just under 11% of women and 10% of men, who were not limited and had income below the poverty line.