Scotland: Health

Scotland's population size is 5,295,403

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  1. Learning disabilities
  2. Autism

People with learning disabilities experience significant health inequalities compared with other people, and have inequalities in accessing health care and services. We found that people with learning disabilities have as many health conditions at age 20 and over, as the rest of the population aged 50 and over. The most commonly experienced heath conditions of people with learning disabilities differ from the rest of the population. We found that people with learning disabilities live 20 years less than other people, and the leading causes of deaths differ: some of these may be preventable. The causes of these inequalities are complex and multiple, and we need a better understanding to improve this.

The Scottish learning disabilities strategy, ‘The keys to life’ emphasises the need to address the major health inequalities experienced by people with learning disabilities. The keys to life implementation framework has "a healthy life" as one of its four priorities for 2015-2018.

Health status

All people
Health Female Male Total
Very good 1,401,965 51.0% 1,376,516 54.0% 2,778,481 52.0%
Good 814,949 30.0% 760,051 30.0% 1,575,000 30.0%
Fair 351,772 13.0% 293,109 11.0% 644,881 12.0%
Bad 121,574 4.0% 104,580 4.0% 226,154 4.0%
Very bad 37,699 1.0% 33,188 1.0% 70,887 1.0%
Total 2,727,959 100.0% 2,567,444 100.0% 5,295,403 100.0%
All people
Health Female Male Total
Very good 1,401,965 1,376,516 2,778,481
Good 814,949 760,051 1,575,000
Fair 351,772 293,109 644,881
Bad 121,574 104,580 226,154
Very bad 37,699 33,188 70,887
Total 2,727,959 2,567,444 5,295,403
People with learning disabilities
Health Female Male Total
Very good 1,555 13.9% 2,454 16.2% 4,009 15.2%
Good 3,855 34.4% 5,352 35.3% 9,207 34.9%
Fair 3,930 35.1% 5,043 33.3% 8,973 34.1%
Bad 1,223 10.9% 1,555 10.3% 2,778 10.5%
Very bad 637 5.7% 745 4.9% 1,382 5.2%
Total 11,200 100.0% 15,149 100.0% 26,349 100.0%
People with learning disabilities
Health Female Male Total
Very good 1,555 2,454 4,009
Good 3,855 5,352 9,207
Fair 3,930 5,043 8,973
Bad 1,223 1,555 2,778
Very bad 637 745 1,382
Total 11,200 15,149 26,349

Health status

People with learning disabilities rate their health as

4,009

very good


9,207

good


8,973

fair


2,778

bad


1,382

very bad


Health status

People with learning disabilities rate their health as

4,009

very good


9,207

good


8,973

fair


2,778

bad


1,382

very bad


Health status by age group

Other specific health conditions

Other specific health conditions (number)

People with learning disabilities report the following conditions

3,439

visual impairment


3,265

hearing impairment


5,709

autism


5,706

mental health condition


8,583

physical disability


9,507

other health condition


Other specific health conditions (proportion)

Number of other conditions

Number of other conditions

Number of other conditions people with learning disabilities report (limited to small range of conditions collected in the census)

7,511

no condition


6,816

one condition


5,486

two conditions


6,536

3 or more conditions


Number of other conditions

Health limitations

Health limitations

People with learning disabilities who say their day-to-day activities are limited due to health problems

16,296

limited a lot


6,761

limited a little


3,292

not limited


People with learning disabilities with good/very good health

Local Authority

Health Board

  1. Local Authority
  2. Health Board

Summary information

15.2% of people with learning disabilities rate their health as very good, compared with 52.5% of all people


  • Good/very good health ratings ranged from 41.4% to 61.8% for people with learning disabilities and from 77.7% to 87.0% for all people across local authorities


  • 21.7% of people with learning disabilities have additional mental health conditions compared with 4.3% of people without learning disabilities


  • Good/very good health ratings for people with learning disabilities were lowest in Glasgow (41.4%) and highest in Moray (61.8%)


  • 21.7% of people with learning disabilities have autism compared with 0.5% of people without learning disabilities



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