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Notes on the Major Statistics of the 2nd China National Sample Survey on Disability

China Disabled Persons' Federation

 December 1, 2006

Compared with the results of 1987 China National Sample Survey on Disability, the major statistics of the Second China National Sample Survey on Disability indicate that the total disabled population has increased, its proportion to the total national population has risen and the disability category composition has changed.

A preliminary analysis shows that there are four factors leading to these changes:

First, the growth of the Chinese population. According to 1987 Survey, the proportion of disabled people to the total national population was 4.9 percent. If this figure stood unchanged in 2006 national population, the disabled population in 2006 would have been 64.16 million, an increase of 12.52 million over 51.64 million in 1987.

Second, the ageing of the Chinese population. The population aged 60 years and over reached 11 percent in 2005 from 8.5 percent in 1987. The disability rate tends to be high among elderly people, because of the high morbidity rate caused by cerebrovascular diseases, arthropathy, dementia and other senile diseases. It is found in the present Survey that 44.16 million disabled people are over 60 years old, 23.65 million more than the figure in 1987, accounting for 75.5 percent of the newly increased disabled population all over the country.

Third, the revision of the disability classification and the criteria of disability identification in accordance with the latest international standard and the current situation of China. It is inadequate to conduct disability identification and classification with the focus on physiological structure of individuals alone. Attention should be given to functional barriers and social adaptability. The classification of limb and body impairment (physical disability) has been appropriately revised in light of the disability classifications currently used in China.

Fourth, the effect of other social and environmental factors. In the accelerated process of industrialization and urbanization, more massive floating population, faster work tempo, increased accidents in production and traffic, and environment pollution have posed higher disability risks.

In the past two decades, the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party and the State Council have adopted a series of major actions to promote the work for persons with disabilities. As a result of economic development, social progress, and improvement of medical treatment and services, notable successes have been scored in the field of disability prevention and rehabilitation. Poliomyelitis and some other conventional diseases for disabilities have been put under control and morbidity of some disabilities has been effectively prevented through the programs of "healthy birth and sound care", planned immunization, iodine supplement and intervention on newborn defects. Since 1988, about 6 million blind people have regained their eyesight by cataract operations and more than 5 million disabled persons have gained rehabilitation in various degrees through orthopedic surgery, mental illness prevention, treatment and rehabilitation, hearing and speech rehabilitation for deaf children, and other rehabilitation programs.

Compared with other countries, particularly the developed countries, China has adopted quite stringent disability identification criteria. Therefore, the disability rate in China is comparatively lower.At present, it is commonly accepted by the international community that disabled population is around 10 percent of the world population.

(China Development Gateway December 1, 2006)

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