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RE: Accessibility - Global Stats?

From: Manser, Erich W. <erich.manser@hp.com>
Date: Wed, 8 Apr 2009 14:01:07 +0000
To: Christophe Strobbe <christophe.strobbe@esat.kuleuven.be>, "w3c-wai-ig@w3.org" <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Message-ID: <A3F75756E43BD24B99B5B12AF0429977228ACDE205@GVW1144EXB.americas.hpqcorp.net>
This does help, a great deal - thank you!

Erich Manser
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-----Original Message-----
From: w3c-wai-ig-request@w3.org [mailto:w3c-wai-ig-request@w3.org] On Behalf Of Christophe Strobbe
Sent: Wednesday, April 08, 2009 6:57 AM
To: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
Subject: Re: Accessibility - Global Stats?


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
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Received on Wednesday, 8 April 2009 14:00:36 UTC

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