How are data on disability collected in Italy?

Statistical data on people with disabilities are collected mainly through surveys conducted by ISTAT, some on its own initiative, others on behalf of EUROSTAT. In addition to these surveys, data from the Ministry of Education (MIUR), the National Social Security Institute (INPS) and the Local Health Authority (ASL) are integrated.

Here are the main surveys that collect data on disability in Italy (on behalf of the country and Europe):

Survey Period Source Author Areas
Aspetti della vita quotidiana Yearly Disabilità in cifre ISTAT Multiple
Reddito e condizioni di vita (EU-SILC) Yearly Eurostat ISTAT Living conditions
Indagine Europea sulla Salute (EHIS) Every 6 years Eurostat ISTAT Health care
Integrazione alunni con disabilità nelle scuole Yearly Report PDF ISTAT Education

Di seguito invece le indagini irregolari:

Survey Period Source Author Areas
EHSIS 2012 Eurostat Company Health
LFD 2011 Eurostat ISTAT Work
Sicurezza delle donne 2014 I.STAT ISTAT Gender-based violence

What is ISTAT doing about improving the estimation and production of statistics on people with disabilities?

There seems to be a turning point in the survey of persons with disabilities in Italy. In December 2020, ISTAT started the creation of a new 'Register on Disability' with the aim of facilitating the estimation of the prevalence of disability and the characterisation of the social inclusion of persons with disabilities. The Register was presented in March 2021 by the President of the National Institute of Statistics Prof. Gian Carlo Blangiardo at the ISTAT hearing at the Technical Scientific Committee of the National Observatory on the Condition of Persons with Disabilities

At the hearing, Prof. Gian Carlo Blangiardo announced that the Register would have three purposes: "the identification of the collective of individuals with significant health deficits; the production of statistical information needed to monitor inclusion policies and the respect of the rights of persons with disabilities under the UN Convention; the creation of an accurate sampling base for the design of ad hoc statistical surveys on disability."

Do you have additional information on the timing of the register? Write to us here and we will check and supplement your report, quoting you.

How often is the data updated, and how often do new statistics come out?

The data on the site are updated frequently, but the inclusion of new statistics depends on the release of updated public data by the databases used. To date, many of the surveys used to estimate and survey the living conditions of people with disabilities require approximately one or two years of reworking before the public release of data. For example, as of September 2022, the latest available statistics on the number of persons with disabilities in Italy are from 2019.

On this site, do I find everything on ISTAT or EUROSTAT?

Disabled Data reports only some of the statistics and subject areas on ISTAT and EUROSTAT. The editorial process by which the thematic areas and individual statistics were chosen follows the results of a public survey, carried out in June 2022, with the aim of understanding the areas of main interest in the community and for its allies. We envisioned Disabled Data as a dynamic platform that will gradually be enriched with new indicators, such as school, health, and the world of work, as they become available.

Why is the data sometimes from ISTAT sometimes from EUROSTAT?

To facilitate and improve the consultation of data on a specific subject area, we have compared the data available on ISTAT and EUROSTAT. The statistics on Italy reported by EUROSTAT often come from the same surveys reported by ISTAT on Disabilityincifre; however, the depth of the data (the presence of regional and demographic variables), the statistical reworking of the survey itself, and the temporal continuation of the data differ between the two platforms. To create as complete a picture as possible, we have chosen the best tables between the two platforms. Other times, however, a subject area is only present on the EUROSTAT database, or only on Disabilitàincifre.

What is the definition of disability?

In part, the difficulty in statistically recording disability stems from the very nature of the phenomenon: impairments that in negative interaction with the environment lead to disability include a wide group of physical, psychomotor, sensory, or cognitive conditions. Moreover, disability may be a permanent or temporary condition, dictated by injury, sudden diagnosis, or physical difficulties emerging with advancing age. But the presence of health deficits is not enough to decree the presence of disability. It is in fact the negative interaction between health deficit and social environment that generates disability - a conceptualisation at the heart of two important concepts:

The definition of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities describes how persons with disabilities "... have enduring physical, mental, intellectual or sensory impairments that in interaction with barriers of various kinds may hinder their full and effective participation in society on an equal basis with others".

The UN Convention's definition of disability as an umbrella term encompassing social and environmental impairments and limitations is linked to the ICF classification, created by the WHO in 2001, and which took over as the new standard for classifying the state of health and illness from the previous classification ICIDH, or International classification of impairments, disabilities and handicaps. An innovative part of the ICF conceptualisation concerns the consideration of barriers external to the individual as a fundamental part of the disability condition. The ICIDH was created in the 1980s by the UN and was the first development of an international classification system based on the consequences of diseases. The ICIDH distinguishes between impairment, disability and handicap. Specifically, disability describes the disadvantage experienced on a personal level due to the impairment, and handicap the social disadvantage of the person with a disability. The need to introduce the ICF classification emerged over the years as a result of the identification of various limitations, including the fact that the ICIDH does not consider disability to be possible even in a temporary form, and that only pathological factors are considered, without placing social and environmental factors in the individual's limitation.

How is the negative interaction between impairments and barriers detected?

On a practical level, detecting the interaction between impairments and barriers results in the inclusion of specific questions in statistical surveys. In Europe, and in Italy, the presence of limitations in daily activities for a period of at least six months (p.10, Conoscere il Mondo della Disabilità), is the minimum condition for the statistical inclusion of the person in the statistical survey of people with disabilities. This survey is mainly carried out by means of a single question called the Global Activity Limitation Indicator (GALI), which surveys people who report having limitations, due to health problems, in performing usual and ordinary activities. There are additional sets of questions, which can be read in Knowing the World of Disability.