There are 1.5 million people with a learning disability in the UK.

The figures on this page have been calculated using learning disability prevalence rates from Public Health England (2016) and population data from the Office for National Statistics (2019).

For more details, please see our references page.

Graphic showing statistics for 1.5 million people with a learning disability in the UK and 1.2 million people with a learning disability in England.

The big picture

  • There are approximately 1.5 million people with a learning disability in the UK.
  • Approximately 1.2 million of those people with a learning disability are in England.

How common is learning disability in the UK?

Adults

Approximately 2.16% of adults in the UK are believed to have a learning disability.

Children

Approximately 2.5% of children in the UK are believed to have a learning disability.

 

Graphic showing that there are approximately 1,130,000 adults with a learning disability in the UK; approximately 951,000 in England, approximately 54,000 in Wales and approximately 31,000 in Northern Ireland.

Adults with a learning disability

There are approximately:

  • 1,130,000 adults with a learning disability in the UK.
  • 951,000 adults with a learning disability in England.
  • 54,000 adults with a learning disability in Wales.
  • 31,000 adults with a learning disability in Northern Ireland.

Adults of working age with a learning disability (18-64)

There are approximately:

  • 869,000 adults of working age with a learning disability in the UK
  • 731,000 adults of working age with a learning disability in England
  • 40,000 adults of working age with a learning disability in Wales
  • 25,000 adults of working age with a learning disability in Northern Ireland.
Graphic showing that there are approximately 351,000 children with a learning disability (aged 0-17) with a learning disability in the UK; approximately 299,000 in England, approximately 16,000 in Wales and approximately 11,000 in Northern Ireland.

Children with a learning disability (0-17)

There are approximately:

  • 351,000 children with a learning disability (0-17) with a learning disability in the UK
  • 299,000 children with a learning disability (0-17) with a learning disability in England
  • 16,000 children with a learning disability (0-17) with a learning disability in Wales
  • 11,000 children with a learning disability (0-17) with a learning disability in Northern Ireland.

Children with a learning disability (0-5)

There are approximately:

  • 118,000 children with a learning disability (0-5) with a learning disability in the UK
  • 101,000 children with a learning disability (0-5) with a learning disability in England
  • 5,000 children with a learning disability (0-5) with a learning disability in Wales
  • 4,000 children with a learning disability (0-5) with a learning disability in Northern Ireland.
 

Research references

Here you'll find full referencing for the Mencap research and statistics pages.

Research references

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