Northern Ireland

Longstanding illness/disability

Graphs on this page:

Supporting information:

Key points

  • The proportion of people suffering from a limiting long-term illness rises with age – but is always much higher among those living in social rented accommodation than among those who are owner occupiers.
  • Among those aged under 45, 17% of individuals living in social rented accommodation reported such a condition in the 2001 Census, compared with 7% among owner occupiers.  Among those aged 45 to 59, the comparable figures were 53% and 22% respectively, while among those aged over 60, the figures were 68% and 47%.
  • Across the Northern Ireland districts, the proportion of working age people suffering from a limiting long-term illness ranged from 22% in Strabane to 13% in North Down.  The proportion in Belfast (20%) places it among those districts with the highest rates.
    In general, there is a pronounced east-west pattern to the prevalence of this condition, with almost all the western districts (the main exception being Fermanagh) having higher proportions than eastern ones.
  • The proportion of working-age people with a limiting long-term illness is higher in Northern Ireland than in most of Great Britain.

Definitions and data sources

Limiting long-term illness among people of working age is not only a potential cause of poverty but also a potential consequence of it. It can be a cause because someone with such a condition is both less likely to have a job and to have less choice about what job they do – and therefore what rate of pay they can achieve. It can also be a consequence if it arises as a result of repeated spells of worklessness or reduced opportunities.

The first graph shows the proportion of adults self-reporting a limiting long-standing illness by age band (under 35, 35-59 and 60+) and housing tenure.

The second graph shows how the proportion of working-age people self-reporting a limiting long-standing illness varies by local authority.

The third graph shows how the proportion of working-age people self-reporting a limiting long-standing illness in Northern Ireland compares with the regions of Great Britain.

The data source for all the graphs is the 2001 Census (tables so016 for England and Wales, S16 for Scotland and S016 and S316 for Northern Ireland).

Overall adequacy of the indicator: high. The question asked in the Census is the usually accepted way of measuring the prevalence of limiting long-standing illness.

External links

See the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety’s site on health inequalities.