Persons with disabilities

Number of people with disabilities

Estimated number of people with disabilities
  Total With severe limitations
Private households    
Adults (age 16 and over) 1 1 494 000 283 000
Children (age 0–14 ) 2 132 000 21 000
Collective households    
Institutions for people with disabilities (without addiction or psycho-social problems) 3 44 308 44 308
… of whom as residents 4 25 512 25 512
Nursing home or home for elderly people: Age 0–64  3,5 5 651 5 651
Nursing home or home for elderly people: Age 65 and over 3,5 116 468 116 468
Other collective households (student halls, prisons, etc.) not known not known
Total (estimate, double counting possible) 1 792 000 470 000
1 SILC 2015, version 19.06.2017. Persons with disabilities as under the Disability Discrimination Act.
2 SHS 2012. According to the adult person interviewed.
3 SOMED 2015. All persons throughout the year (one person can appear as several clients).
4 SOMED 2014. With accommodation.
5 Only long-term residents.
Sources: FSO - Survey on Income and Living Conditions (SILC), Statistics on Medico-Social Institutions (SOMED), Swiss Health Survey (SHS)

According to different sources available, the number of people with disabilities is estimated at around 1.8 million. Among these, 26% can be considered as severely disabled. These are notably people who live in a residential home or specialised institution (approx. 2% of the resident population): an independent life at home no longer seems possible for them or at least very difficult.

Children and disability

It is difficult to give an accurate estimate of the number of children with a disability as this depends on the severity of the disability and how it is defined. It seems that some 20 000 children have a severe disability and around 130 000 a milder disability (figures from 2012). Their numbers increase with age and girls appear to be less affected than boys. 

Read more in the Demos publication (4/2010) that can be downloaded from our German or French pages.

Further information

Press Releases

Statistical sources and concepts


Federal Statistical Office Sections Health Services, Population Health
Espace de l'Europe 10
CH-2010 Neuchâtel



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