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About the Disability Survey

Since 1996, the New Zealand Disability Survey has been carried out in the same year as the Census of Population and Dwellings. It is the official source of information on disability prevalence in New Zealand.

Disability is experienced by people with impairments when they are limited in carrying out everyday activities, or are restricted in accessing places, that others take for granted.

These limitations may be due to the physical characteristics of the environment in which disabled people live or the attitudes they encounter. Disabled people may be seriously disadvantaged by exclusion, and unable to participate in society on an equal basis with others.

The Disability Survey allows us to compare disabled and non-disabled people across selected social and economic outcomes. Understanding these aspects of the lives of disabled people is fundamental to New Zealand’s commitment, under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, ‘to promote, protect and ensure the full and equal enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms by all persons with disabilities, and to promote respect for their inherent dignity’ (United Nations, 2006).

This report updates information from earlier surveys on disabled people’s labour force participation, personal income, and educational achievement. The 2013 Disability Survey provides data on a range of social outcomes not collected in earlier surveys and, as a result, information in this report includes:

  • participation in leisure activities
  • contact with family and friends
  • feelings of loneliness
  • experience of crime victimisation and discrimination
  • self-assessed health and well-being.

A set of Excel tables on our website accompanies this report and provides more detailed data.
See 2013 Disability Survey: Social and economic outcomes tables

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