RESOURCE: Child Disability Statistics

Posted on 11 March 2008. Filed under: Children, Cross-Disability, Resources | Tags: , , , , , , , , |

Researchers, advocates, and other individuals who share an interest in children with disabilities around the world can locate relevant data at a new UNICEF web site on Child Disability.

In 2005, UNICEF impleneted a module in the Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS) to help countries identify children with congential and developmental disabilities. These results are being reported for the first time at the UNICEF Child Disability web site. Most results focus on children aged 2 to 9.

Countries have identified as few as 2 percent of their children as having disabilities (in Uzbekistan) or as many as 35 percent (in Djibouti). An overview of statistics is available at the web site.

DISABILITY ADVOCATES and community workers, take note! UNICEF says this: “Prevalence rates that fall significantly below 10 percent may indicate that severe and moderate disabilities are under-recognized or under-reported, which means that children with disabilities are missing in these statistics. They can also suggest high mortality both in utero and for children with disabilities who are under the age of five – deaths that are not captured in statistics.” (Quote taken from

Why should grassroots advocates care about these two sentences? Think about the next time you go to foundations or governments to look for money to support a project you care about. Funders usually want to see proof that there are enough people with disabilities to be worth a targeted project. If your country has already done a study claiming that disability is rare, they might be reluctant to commit funds to large-scale projects for disabled people. In this case, you could try pointing out to funders that experts, including UNICEF, think that surveys resulting in very low estimates may be under-reporting or missing children with disabilities. Use the above quote, and be sure to include the citation.

The web site also shares a listing of UNICEF publications on children with disabilities (under “Resources”); a list of relevant journal articles (under “References”); and a list of useful links.

Start exploring UNICEF’s Child Disability web site at:

You may also wish to explore other information, resources, and materials related to children with disabilities in developing countries by clicking on children under categories (right-hand navigation bar). Or click on the page entitled Research, Reports, Papers, Statistics (top navigation bar) if you’re looking for more data in general.

We Can Do learned about UNICEF’s Child Disability web site by exploring the World Bank’s Disability web site.

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