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When is counting important?

Gwynnyth Llewellyn and Eric Emerson describe why it is important to count disability at national and global scales, and how this data can be used.

In this video, several expert researchers explain why it is important to count disability, and why it matters how disability is classified.

Of course, statistics are about more than individuals. National data can help countries to better support the disabled members of their population. In fact, for countries that have ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons of Disabilities, there is an obligation to gather information about people with disabilities:

Article 31. 1.
States Parties undertake to collect appropriate information, including statistical and research data, to enable them to formulate and implement policies to give effect to the present Convention.
Statistics tend to be “top-down” — that is, they are about finding out the underlying patterns behind large numbers and the general evidence that this provides. But being counted is also something that happens to many of us all the time — whether through automated monitoring of social media usage, email surveys or customer feedback.
In some cases, disability is “taken notice” of, and sometimes ignored. But this may mean that services are poorly designed for people with disabilities.

Talking points

  • When is it important for data about individuals to be recorded?
  • Who should make the decisions around what data is recorded and how?

Some additional resources are provided in the See Also section below.

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Disability and a Good Life: Thinking through Disability

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