K4D Helpdesk Report

Disability prevalence and trends

Published on 25 August 2017

This report provides a rapid review of the evidence that exists regarding the global trends and disability prevalence. The evidence included was found using a desk-based internet search. Additional sources were suggested by a number of experts, who were consulted as part of the process. All of the evidence included was written in English. This report was written in five days. The author recognises that the theme of disability is broad and that the time assigned does not reflect the importance of the topic. This report was designed to provide a brief overview of the key issues, and a summary of pertinent evidence found within the time permitted. The author recognises that the review process was non-systematic and non-exhaustive.
There is clear scope for further work on this topic. It is recommended that follow up work focuses on the known drivers of disability and the established trends for those drivers for the next decade in various contexts. The structure of the current report, as defined by the question and limited by the terms of the helpdesk service, did not allow for detailed analysis of this nature. There was some cross over noted between sections. Due to time restrictions, analysis of trends relevant to various themes was not possible. For example, it would be interesting to investigate the impact on disability of conflict and age, or the impact on disability of geographic factors and chronic illness.

Cite this publication

Thompson S. 2017. Disability prevalence and trends. K4D Helpdesk Report. Brighton, UK: Institute of Development Studies.

Publication details

published by
Institute of Development Studies
Thompson, Stephen


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