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Disability is interpreted in relation to what is considered normal functioning, which can vary based on the context, age group, or even income group. For example, older persons may not selfidentify as having a disability, despite having significant difficulties in functioning, because they consider their level of functioning appropriate for their age.
But the data from all over the world states that over 1 billion people live with some form of disability: that is 15% of the world population.
There are many kind of disabilities but the most common one is
motor disability, that affects 1 in 7 adults.
The percentage is very high, reaching almost 35% of the total ones.
For example to realize this, it is enough to analyze the American situation.
The data don’t only concern wheelchair users but all people in general who find it difficult to get around or to perform manual tasks. We can talk of motor disabilities.
Approximately 39 million Americans have motor impairments, so physical impairment is actually the most common disability in the US. 1 in 7 adults, that is to say 13.7%, have difficulties getting around, walking or climbing stairs.
An other example is Australia, there are 4.4 million disabled people there, 79% of whom have physical causes
Approximately 20,800 Australians live with a spinal cord injury (SCI). Nearly a quarter (23%) of people with an SCI are under 35, and most are under 65. 58% of injured people suffer from paraplegia, where movement and sensation are impaired in the lower limbs. In Australia there is an average of 16 new cases per million per year, around 420.


In Italy there are 1,5 million people affected by motor disabilities. Approximately 70 thousand people with spinal cord injury outcomes, 2/3 of which are under the age of 60. Every year around 1,500-2,000 people become para- and quadriplegic in our country (at least four/five per day), with two-thirds of them under 60 years of age.

In Europe approximately 5 million people live with wheelchairs due to disabilities. The estimated number of people with SCI (Spinal cord injury) is 330,000. The cases registered annually are 16 per million, or approximately 12,000 new cases. 58% are affected by paraplegia. About half of these injuries are the result of traffic accidents and occur at a young age. The reported rates are: Denmark 9.2 per million, Finland 13.8 per million, France 19.4 per million, Germany 10.7 per million, Greece 33.6 per million, Greenland 26 per million, Iceland 20 per million, Ireland 13.1 per million, Italy 19 per million, Israel 15.9 per million, the Netherlands 7.5 per million, Norway 26.3 per million, Spain 12.1 per million, Switzerland 15 per million.

The annual incidence of spinal cord injury (SCI) is approximately 54 cases per million people, or approximately 18,000 new cases of SCI each year. The estimated number of people with SCI living in the United States is approximately 302,000 people, with a range of 255,000 to 383,000 people. 39.5% of subjects with spinal cord injury are considered paraplegic and 59.9% quadriplegic. Almost half (47.6%) of all injuries occur between the ages of 16 and 30 but the average age at the time of injury has increased from 29 in the 1970s to 43 since 2015. Approximately 79% of new SCI cases are male. SCIs occur disproportionately among African Americans, accounting for approximately 25% of injuries. Motor vehicle accidents are the most recent cause of injuries, followed by falls. Acts of violence (especially gunshot wounds) and sports/recreational activities are also common causes.

Averaged, the results indicate that the global incident rate is estimated at 23 SCI cases per million (179,312 cases per year). Males are most at risk in young adults (20-29 years) and in older age (70+). Women are most at risk in adolescence (15-19 years) and in old age (60+). Studies report male-to-female ratios of at least 2:1 among adults, sometimes much higher.
The data, which can be stated with less certainty, are available for Central Asia (25 per million), Southern Asia (21 per million), the Caribbean (19 per million), Latin America, Andean (19 per million), Central Latin America (24 per million), South Latin America (25 per million), Central Sub-Saharan Africa (29 per million) million), Sub-Saharan-East Africa (21 per million). It is estimated that globally there would be between 133 and 226 thousand cases of SCI. The proportion of cases resulting from land transport is decreasing/stable in developed countries but increasing in developing countries due to trends in transport mode, inadequate infrastructure and regulatory challenges. Low-fall SCI among older adults is increasing in developed countries with aging populations.

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