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Developmental disabilities among Canadians aged 15 years and older, 2012

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Released: 2015-12-03

Data from the 2012 Canadian Survey on Disability revealed that about 3.8 million Canadians aged 15 years and older, or 13.7% of the population, reported having a disability and 160,500 (0.6% of Canadian adults) were identified as having a developmental disability. The most prevalent underlying developmental conditions reported on the survey were autism, cerebral palsy and Down syndrome.

The occurrence of developmental disability was highest among those between the ages of 15 and 24 at 1.2% and decreased with age to 0.4% among those 65 and older.

Developmental disabilities frequently co-occurred with other types of disabilities. More than 9 in 10 of those with a developmental disability also reported at least one other type of disability.

Adults with a developmental disability had overall lower levels of educational attainment than those who did not have any disability. Among Canadians aged 15 to 64 who were not in school, adults with a developmental disability were four times more likely to have not completed high school compared with those without disabilities (53.6% versus 13.1%).

The employment rate of working-age adults aged 15 to 64 with a developmental disability was 22.3%, less than one-third of the rate for people without a disability (73.6%), and the lowest employment rate of any disability type. Even when employed, this group had a lower median employment income compared with those who did not report any disability. Those with a developmental disability were more likely than those without any disability to rely on government transfers as their major source of income (71.9% versus 18.7%).


The study "Developmental disabilities among Canadians aged 15 years and older, 2012," which is part of the publication Canadian Survey on Disability, 2012 (Catalogue number89-654-X), is now available from the Browse by key resource module of our website under Publications.

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