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Re: Accessibility - Global Stats?

From: Christophe Strobbe <christophe.strobbe@esat.kuleuven.be>
Date: Wed, 08 Apr 2009 12:56:33 +0200
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To: <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>

At 16:13 31/03/2009, Manser, Erich W. wrote:
>Does anyone have data on what percentage of the world-population is 
>blind or visually-impaired to the degree accessibility typically addresses?

I'm responding to this old thread because it is a question that has 
been asked before a few times. The resources that Phil Jenkins [1] 
and Thomas Logan [2] referred to were limited to USA data. Global 
data are harder to come by because the citeria for determining 
blindness or other disabilities can differ from country to country.
I collected some links where one might find global data in a message 
from July 2005 [3].
The usefulness of global data (i.e. world-wide) in the context of web 
accessibility may be rather limited because there are many 
differences in prevalence of visual impairments and in ICT 
penetration between different economic regions.
In "Epidemiology of low vision" A. Jonathan Jackson [4] reproduces 
data and estimates on this. For example, in the "established market 
economies", an estimated 0.3 % of the population is blind, compared 
to 1 % in India and 1.4 % in Sub-Saharan Africa. The major causes 
also differ by region. In the established market economies, 
age-related macular degeneration accounts for 50 %, whereas in most 
other areas, the most common cause is cataract. In the developing 
world, blindness is also more strongly associated with preventable 
childhood blindness.

I hope this helps.
Best regards,


[1] <http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/w3c-wai-ig/2009JanMar/0134.html>
[2] <http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/w3c-wai-ig/2009JanMar/0133.html>
[3] <http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/w3c-wai-ig/2005JulSep/0049.html>
     Some URLs have changed since 2005, for example:
     - The study is now available at "Definitions of disability in 
Europe: A comparative analysis"
     - The Eurostate data on "disability-free life expectancy" have 
moved elsewhere, but
       you can search the eurostat site at <http://epp.eurostat.ec.europa.eu/>
     - EU data on prevalence of any chronic illness are available at
       but they're not very useful in this context because they are 
too general.
[4] Chapter 1 in "Low Vision Manual", ed. by A. Jonathan Jackson & 
James S. Wolffsohn. Butterworth Heinemann, 2007. ISBN 978-0-7506-1815-1.

Christophe Strobbe
K.U.Leuven - Dept. of Electrical Engineering - SCD
Research Group on Document Architectures
Kasteelpark Arenberg 10 bus 2442
B-3001 Leuven-Heverlee
tel: +32 16 32 85 51
Please don't invite me to LinkedIn, Facebook, Quechup or other 
"social networks". You may have agreed to their "privacy policy", but 
I haven't.
Received on Wednesday, 8 April 2009 10:57:30 UTC

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