Census 2027 should collect appropriate data relating to disability so that there is better evidence to inform policies that improve disabled people's lives - DFI

January 30 2023, 12:42pm

DFI Submission to CSO re Census 2027

The Disability Federation of Ireland (DFI) has today published its submission to the Central Statistics Office in reponse to the Census 2027 Public Consultation. 

The Census is an important source of statistical data on disability in Ireland. The data provided by the Census on disability has many important uses including analysing population trends, and planning health and social care, housing, education and other services in line with demographics.

It is important that the data collected in Census 2027 continues to allow for this type of evidence to be extracted. There are also areas where more information would be useful in providing a more comprehensive picture of the lives of disabled people in Ireland. Sometimes a lack of more detailed and specific data can cause challenges to those working to make policies on a range of issues, including disability. Such data can support disability and equality proofing of policy decisions and actions. The UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, in their most recent report on Ireland in 2017, highlighted this concern, noting that “the Committee is concerned at reports of the lack of data disaggregated by sex, gender, ethnicity, disability and age.” The UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights made a number of requests for data
disaggregated by disability in their list of issues (March 2022) for the fourth report on Ireland.

This submission outlines some areas where further evidence relating to disability could be collected. We also support the submissions of other disability organisations, including DFI members and other national umbrella organisations. We recommend that the CSO convene a specific discussion with disability organisations to further tease out, discuss and refine priority areas where there are data gaps collectively.

The main point of our submission is to highlight potential new Census questions/changes to Census questions to improve the data on disability in Census 2027. Some of the areas it highlights are: 

  • Article 31 of the UN CRPD requires state parties to “collect appropriate information, including statistical and research data, to enable them to formulate and implement policies to give effect to the present Convention.”
  • The process for completing the Census should be accessible to all and the Census form should be available in a variety of accessible formats. The results of the Census should be presented in accessible formats. 
  • The Census should collect specific data on deafblindness, mental health/psychosocial disability, use of wheelchairs and other mobility aids, and use of alternative and augmentative communication
  • The Census should collect data on the specific extra costs faced by those with disabilities to assist the government's policy response 
  • The Census should collect data on access to health and social care services
  • The Census should ask respondents to indicate if they are in receipt of personal support, either from a family member/friend or from a service (Personal Assistance, home support etc.). Currently there is only an option to indicate if you are providing personal support, but not that you are receiving support.
  • The Census should collect additional data on whether people are living in communal establishments including nursing homes, congregated settings and community group homes
  • The Census should allow people to indicate their level of satisfaction with their current housing situation, and whether (and for how long) they are on a waiting list for social housing
  • A question should be included on whether people have adaptations in their home. 

You can download a PDF of our submission here