The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has explored outcomes for disabled people across a number of areas of life, through a series of bulletins. Other pages in this release include:
- Improving disability data in the UK
- Disability and education
- Disability and employment
- Disability and crime
- Disability, well-being and loneliness
- Disability and social participation
Aims of this work
This work aims to present comparable information that uses the Government Statistical Service’s (GSS’s) harmonised definition of disability and, as far as possible, presents UK analysis, alongside intersections with other protected characteristics.
Definition of disability
For the purposes of this analysis, a person is considered to have a disability if they have a self-reported long-standing illness, condition or impairment that causes difficulty with day-to-day activities. This definition is consistent with the Equality Act 2010 and the GSS harmonised definition. For further information on disability and impairment definitions see the Glossary.
Conventional analysis of tenure (the legal arrangements under which a person lives in a property) explores outcomes at the household level. The analysis presented here uses a different approach, exploring housing situation at the person level, facilitating a comparison between disabled and non-disabled people. This approach, which incorporates both tenure and relationship to household reference person (HRP - the person legally responsible for the household) has also allowed us to separate out those living with parents from tenure.
Using Annual Population Survey (APS) data, this bulletin explores the housing situation for disabled people aged 16 to 64 years, for the available years of 2014 to 2019.Back to table of contents
- Disabled people in 2019 were less likely to own their own home, with just 42.4% owning their own home, compared with 53.2% of non-disabled people.
- One-quarter (24.7%) of disabled people in 2019 rented social housing, compared with just 8.2% of non-disabled people.
- Young disabled people in 2019 (ages 16 to 24 years) were less likely to live with their parents (67.6%) than young non-disabled people (73.1%), but this pattern reverses for ages 25 to 54 years.
- Disabled people aged 16 to 64 years (in 2019) with severe or specific learning difficulties were the least likely to own their own home (of all main impairment types), with just 4.1% owning their own home, compared with 42.4% of disabled people overall in that age group.
Disabled people were more likely to rent social housing, with 24.7% of disabled people aged 16 to 64 years occupying property in this way. This compares with just 8.2% of non-disabled people aged 16 to 64 years, a difference of 16.5 percentage points.
In contrast, disabled people were less likely to own their own home than non-disabled people, with just 42.4% of disabled people owning their own home compared with 53.2% of non-disabled people.
Disabled people were less likely to live with their parents than non-disabled people, with 14.4% of disabled people living with parents compared with 18.3% of non-disabled people. Living with parents also includes students at boarding school, or those in halls of residence as it is considered that their parents’ home is their main residence and the student accommodation is temporary. The pattern varied by age group , as seen in Section 4
See Table 1 in the Disability and housing dataset for further information on the analysis of housing situation by disability.
The patterns shown for each of the sexes separately are similar to that seen for the population as a whole. This was true for all types of housing situation.
See Table 2 in the Disability and housing dataset for further information on the analysis of housing situation by disability and sex.Back to table of contents
Young disabled people (aged 16 to 24 years) were more likely to live away from their parents’ home than non-disabled people in the same age group. Over two-thirds (67.6%) of young disabled people lived with their parents (including students in halls of residence or boarding school) in comparison with almost three-quarters (73.1%) of non-disabled people in the same age group. Above age 24 years, this pattern reversed and disabled people were significantly more likely than non-disabled people to live with their parents up to age 54 years.
Above age 24 years, there was a significant drop in the proportion of both disabled and non-disabled people living at home. The reduction was larger for non-disabled people with only 24.1% living with their parents aged 25 to 29 years, in comparison with 28.8% of disabled people.
For both disabled and non-disabled people, the proportion of homeowners increased by age group. However, the proportion of homeowners increased more rapidly for non-disabled than disabled people up to age 40 to 44 years.
Across all age groups (25 to 64 years), disabled people were less likely to own their own home. The greatest disparity between disabled and non-disabled people owning their own homes was seen for the 40 to 44 years age group, where 69.2% of non-disabled people owned their home compared with 44.2% of disabled people, a difference of 25 percentage points.
Disabled and non-disabled people showed similar proportions of private renting within each age group. Up to the peak within the 25 to 29 years and 30 to 34 years age bands, the proportion of both disabled and non-disabled people private renting increased as the age groups increased.
The proportions of disabled people who were private renters was 27.0% aged 25 to 29 years, and 28.6% aged 30 to 34 years. Similar proportions of private renting were seen for non-disabled people in these age groups at 29.3% and 27.8% respectively. For ages 35 to 64 years, the proportions of both disabled and non-disabled people private renting reduced as age increased.
The proportion of disabled people of all ages (16 to 64 years) who rent social housing is higher than for non-disabled people. The greatest disparities are seen for those aged 40 years and over where the difference remains around 20 percentage points up to age 64.
See Table 3 in the Disability and housing dataset for further information on the analysis of housing situation by disability and age.Back to table of contents
Of all impairment types, disabled people with severe or specific learning difficulties were least likely to own their own home.
The lowest proportion of homeownership for disabled people (when considering all impairments and health conditions) was for those with severe or specific learning difficulties (aged 16 to 64 years), with only 4.1% owning their own home. Disabled people with mental illness or other nervous disorders showed the second lowest proportions of homeownership at 17.5%, followed by those with epilepsy (24.2%).
The lower levels of homeownership for these groups meant higher proportions in other housing situations. Disabled people with severe or specific learning difficulties were most likely to live with parents (71.5%) when compared with other housing situations. Disabled people with mental illness or other nervous disorders, or those with epilepsy were most likely to rent social housing (34.9% and 36.0% respectively).
See Table 4 in the Disability and housing dataset for further information on the analysis of housing situation by main impairment.Back to table of contents
Across the UK, Scotland had the widest gap in homeownership between disabled and non-disabled people, with a difference of 16.4 percentage points. This is influenced by having the lowest proportion of homeownership for disabled people (40.0%), but the highest for non-disabled people (56.4%).
The disparity was smallest in England, because England has the smallest proportion of homeownership for non-disabled people (52.6%), but the second highest proportion for disabled people (42.6%).
See Table 5 in the Disability and housing dataset for further information on the analysis of housing situation by country.Back to table of contents
Disability and housing
Dataset | Released 2 December 2019
Housing outcomes for disabled adults, with analysis by age, sex, main impairment type and country using Annual Population Survey (APS) data.
To define disability in this publication we refer to the Government Statistical Service (GSS) harmonised “core” definition: this identifies “disabled” as a person who has a physical or mental health condition or illness that has lasted or is expected to last 12 months or more, that reduces their ability to carry-out day-to-day activities.
The GSS harmonised questions are asked of the respondent in the survey, meaning that disability status is self-reported.
An impairment is defined as any physical or mental health conditions or illnesses lasting or expected to last 12 months or more. Respondents were presented with a list of impairments and then asked to select all that apply and subsequently their “main health problem”. The commentary in this bulletin refers to the main health problem. Analysis is limited to those who are also defined as disabled and does not explore where disabled people experienced more than one impairment. For further details see Volume 3: Details of Labour Force Survey variables.
The impairments or condition categories compared in this bulletin relate to the categories within the question in the survey, the exception is speech impediment, which has been grouped with the "other" category because of low sample size.
Conventional analysis of housing tenure explores outcomes at the household level. The analysis presented here uses a different approach, defining housing situation for the person level. The article reviews housing situation of disabled people, incorporating both tenure (the legal arrangements under which a person lives in a property, for example, owner occupier, social rented housing or private rented housing) and relationship to the household reference person (HRP, the person legally responsible for the household).
The relationship to the HRP for the first three categories below (owner occupier, social renter housing, private rented housing) is either the HRP themselves, spouse, cohabitee, civil partner or same sex cohabitee.
The housing situation of the individual is defined as:
- Owner occupier – includes owned outright, buying with mortgage or loan, or part rent and part mortgage
- social rented housing – includes renting from local authority/council/Scottish homes, housing association, charitable trust or local housing company
- private rented housing – includes renting from employing organisation or individual employer, relative of household member, another private landlord, or another organisation
- living with parents – this category ignores tenure (except to exclude rent-free or squatting) and looks at the relationship to the HRP (all those with one of the following relationships to the HRP are included in this category: child, stepchild, foster child, grandchild or child-in-law; this includes adult children)
- other – this category ignores tenure, except to include rent-free or squatting and looks at the relationship to the HRP (all those with one of the following relationships to the HRP are included in this category: parent, stepparent, foster parent, parent-in-law, grandparent, brother or sister, stepbrother or stepsister, foster brother or sister, brother- or sister-in-law, other relation, other non-relative, or undefined)
Any changes or differences mentioned in this publication are “statistically significant”. The statistical significance of differences noted within the release are determined based on non-overlapping confidence intervals.Back to table of contents
The Annual Population Survey
Housing estimates are based on data collected from the Annual Population Survey (APS).
The APS is an annual survey based on data collected in Wave one and Wave five of the Labour Force Survey (LFS), combined with an annual local area boost sample run in England, Wales, and Scotland. The survey does not cover communal establishments, except for NHS staff accommodation. Those living in student halls of residence or boarding school are included as part of their family household.
The APS dataset contains approximately 300,000 individuals. The APS datasets are produced for four different overlapping 12-month periods: January to December, April to March, July to June and October to September. The analysis in this publication was conducted on the July 2018 to June 2019 period, as it provides the most up to date information.Back to table of contents
The analysis conducted is for the purpose of comparing the outcomes of disabled and non-disabled people. The analysis describes differences in these two populations but does not explore the cause of this difference. Further analysis, which is outside the scope of this article, is required to make judgements on causality. Please see Improving disability statistics in the UK for details of our future work plan.
The analysis has been carried out at the person level, meaning we can determine the living situation of the individual rather than just the housing tenure of a household that includes (or does not include) a disabled person. This is seen in particular in the category living with parents where we have focused on the relationship to the homeowner rather than tenure, allowing us to explore differences in disabled and non-disabled people living with parents. Please see the Glossary for the definition of each housing category.
Students living away from home or those in boarding school are included in the household. This is particularly important when considering the numbers living with parents.
Coverage and population
This analysis has been restricted to 16- to 64-year-olds because the Annual Population Survey (APS) does not collect data for people under 16 years, and the disability variable is not robust for those aged over 64 years. Disability status is only collected for people aged 65 years or older at their first contact, resulting in less data for this population. The weighting used does not account for the reduced sample size for this age group, making the data not fully representative of the population.
For our analysis, this means we are not capturing the housing situation of those aged 65 years or over, whether they are living independently or “living with” family, friend or other.
The surveys’ sampling methods exclude communal establishments. Therefore, the findings of this analysis are not representative of disabled people who reside in medical or residential care establishments.
Uncertainty and quality
The results in this bulletin are survey-based estimates so they are subject to a level of uncertainty as they are based on a sample rather than the whole population. Confidence intervals are provided around every estimate and give an indication of the range in which the true population value is likely to fall. The estimates in this bulletin are supported with confidence intervals at the 95% level. This means that if we repeated the sample, we would expect the true population value to fall within the lower and upper bounds of the interval 95% of the time (that is, 19 times out of 20).
Analysis by impairment is based on the “main impairment” as reported by the respondent. People often experience more than one impairment, but this analysis does not account for co-morbidities or the cumulative impact of living with more than one impairment simultaneously.Back to table of contents
Contact details for this Statistical bulletin
Telephone: +44 (0)1633 651953