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Measuring disability with EU data

Policy details

Metadata item Details
Publication date:25 June 2019
Author:William Perks
Approver:Harmonisation
Who this is for:Members of the Government Statistical Service
Contact:

william.perks@ons.gov.uk

Introduction

The following guidance sets out how to collect and report information about disability to ensure statistics about this topic are as comparable as possible across the Government Statistical Service (GSS).

This guidance sets out how to measure disability on social surveys and administrative sources. It is based on the criteria used by different organisations or legislation to classify a person as disabled. The harmonised principles have been developed through consultation and workshops with key stakeholders including the devolved administrations.

This guidance shows the classifications designed for EU-SILC (EU Survey of Income and Living Conditions) of long-lasting health conditions or illnesses and disability measurement by extent of activity restriction. These measures are for cross-country comparisons and for estimates designed to benchmark with a European average.

This method defines disability for EU-SILC based on the UK harmonised disability questions. It produces similar results to the Eurostat global activity limitation (GALI) question which is used in the European Health Interview Survey (EHIS) and in EU-SILC by Member States who don’t have their own equivalent questions.

There are two different classifications:

  • if a person has a long-standing illness or health problem
  • if a person is hampered in their daily activities

It is important to note that the responses to the two harmonised principles on Long-Lasting Health Conditions and Illnesses and Activity Restriction need to be combined to determine if a person is classified as disabled. How these are combined depends on the definition of disability.

This section provides guidance on the survey questions to use when collecting information about disability. These questions have been designed to harmonise the collection of data across surveys.

Dependent on your answers to the three sets of questions you may be classified as having a ‘long-standing illness/ health problem’, ‘severely hampered in daily activities’ or ‘hampered in daily activities to some extent’.

The responses detailed below are based on the EU definitions of disability and should be used for data delivered to the EU as part of EU-SILC.

EU-SILC classification: long-standing illness/health problem

Question Response options
Do you have any physical or mental health conditions or illnesses lasting or expected to last 12 months or more? Yes

 

EU-SILC classification: severely hampered in daily activities

Question Response options
Do you have any physical or mental health conditions or illnesses lasting or expected to last 12 months or more? Yes
Does your condition or illness\do any of your conditions or illnesses reduce your ability to carry-out day-to-day activities? Yes, a lot
For how long has your ability to carry-out day-to-day activities been reduced? Between 6 months and 12 months
12 months or more

 

EU-SILC classification: hampered in daily activities to some extent

Question Response options
Do you have any physical or mental health conditions or illnesses lasting or expected to last 12 months or more? Yes
Does your condition or illness\do any of your conditions or illnesses reduce your ability to carry-out day-to-day activities? Yes, a little
For how long has your ability to carry-out day-to-day activities been reduced? Between 6 months and 12 months
12 months or more

 

This section provides guidance for outputting the survey questions to use when collecting information about disability. The following table shows the suggested output categories for long-standing illness/health problem:

  Nominal Scale
Severely hampered in daily activities Numeric 1
Hampered in daily activities to some extent Numeric 2
Not hampered in daily activities Numeric 3
Refusal -9

More information on the two classification questions:

Long-lasting health conditions and illness

Activity Restriction

Other health harmonised principles:

General Health

Impairment

Contact

We are always interested in hearing from users so we can develop our work. If you use or produce disability statistics, or are interested in comparing them, get in touch: gsshelp@statistics.gov.uk.

Review frequency:

This guidance is reviewed every two years.

Updates

Date Changes
25 June 2019

This document was updated to simplify explanation of how to use the questions– there is no change in measurement. This replaces the archived statistical measures of disability page.

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