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Survey: Disabled Population Rising
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A new survey has offered the clearest picture to date of the number of disabled people in China, putting the group at 83 million people, 6.34 percent of the total 1.3 billion population.


The new figure is an increase of 31 million over the 1987 survey, which was attributed to an ageing population and rapid industrialization and urbanization, according to the Second China National Sample Survey on Disability, which was released on Friday in Beijing.


People over 60 accounted for 11 percent of the nation's population in 2005, rising from 8.5 percent in 1987.


The disability rate tends to be high among elderly people due to a high incidence of ill health.


The survey found that 44.16 million disabled people are over 60 years old.


The figure is an increase of 23.65 million on 1987, accounting for 75.5 percent of the newly increased disabled population.


Deng Pufang, chairman of China Disabled Persons' Federation, told a press conference about some of the other causes.


"Industrial injuries, traffic accidents, sports injuries and environmental pollution were also to blame for the dramatic increase in the number of physically disabled people," he said.


Deng, also head of the Leading Group of the Second China National Sample Survey on Disability, pointed out that there is a link between the disabled population and socio-economic development.


As economies develop and industrialize, people are more likely to run the risk of getting injured in factories, on construction sites or doing mechanical work, he explained. "In an agricultural society, people are engaged in safer, simpler farming work," he said.


Disability classifications have been revised and expanded, with disability criteria brought into line with international standards and other social and environmental factors taken into account, the survey said.


The survey was conducted in all 31 provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities on the Chinese mainland by 16 government organizations including the National Statistics Bureau, the Ministry of Civil Affairs, the Ministry of Health and the China Disabled Persons' Federation from April 1 to May 31, 2006.


The 738 survey teams quizzed 2.5 million people in more than 750,000 households.


(China Daily December 2, 2006)

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