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Life opportunities survey

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  • Release date: 5 January 2011
  • Period covered: 2010
A report, produced by the Office for National Statistics, which explores disability in terms of social barriers to participation.

The Life Opportunities Survey (LOS) is a major new national survey of disability in Britain. The survey is being carried out by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) on behalf of the Office for Disability Issues (ODI).

LOS is a longitudinal survey meaning it will track the experiences of disabled people over time to assess transitions through key life stages, such as moving from childhood to adulthood or in and out of work. Non-disabled people are also taking part in the survey. This means that the life opportunities of disabled and non-disabled people can be compared.

LOS is the first major government survey to explore disability in terms of social barriers across Britain (England, Scotland and Wales) and also collects information on disability according to the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) definition.

Survey topics include work and learning, health, transport, community and social life, leisure, use of key services, caring and domestic life, hate crime and discrimination, income and benefits.

LOS has a sample of 37,500 households across Britain, including 1,875 in Wales and includes both disabled and non-disabled households. The baseline survey started in June 2009 and will take two years to complete.

Key points

  • In Wales, 31 per cent of adults had impairments. This was slightly higher than for England (28 per cent) and Scotland (29 per cent).
  • In Wales, 28 per cent of adults had a Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) defined disability. This was slightly higher than for England (26 per cent) and Scotland (27 per cent).
  • The mean Participation Restriction Index (PRI) score for Wales was 2.0 for people without impairments and 3.0 for people with impairments. This was the same as the score for Great Britain. On LOS, an adult has a participation restriction if they experience at least one social barrier to taking part in at least one life area. The Participation Restriction Index (PRI) is a score of between zero and eight that is calculated for each respondent as the sum of their participation restrictions across eight life areas. For example, if an individual was restricted in the work that they could do, and in the learning opportunities they could take part in, their PRI score would be two.


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