Experimental statistics

Disabled people in Iceland


The data on the disabled are based on the Population census of January 1, 2021, which was compiled from administrative records, and on data collected in the winter of 2021-2022 from six administrative institutions that provide financial assistance, support or services to disabled people. In addition, the annual reports of the municipalities' social services to Statistics Iceland from the years 2015-2020 were used.

This publication provides 19 tables covering the following themes: gender and age, foreign background, residence and regional distribution, marital status, family status, household status, education, schooling, employment, industry, income, housing conditions and type of residence.


The data now published provide importan information about disabled persons. The methods and format are, however, still in development and not fully tested. Because of the innovative nature of experimental statistics, the quality and reliability of the data and the statistics produced may be unclear. Users are encouraged to comment on and review the statistics project by sending their comments to upplysingar@hagstofa.is.

Disabled people in Iceland

Updated: 4 July 2024

With higher age disability increases. Many skill impairments first appear in adulthood or in old age. However, there is still a need for full knowledge about it, especially among the elderly.

The form of residence of disabled people is quite different from that of non-disabled people. Due to the different age distribution, there are proportionally more disabled people in nursing homes than those who live independently in normal housing, disabled people are more likely to live in rented housing than others.


Disabled people in Iceland 240704 (xlsx)


Disabled people, as found in administrative records, include those who receive a disability or rehabilitation pension, a wheelchair, a shower or toilet seat on wheels, or a computer for communication, or assistance from municipal social services due to disabilities, as well as children who have been assessed as disabled at the Counseling and Diagnosis Center. Furthermore, people with hearing loss of 50 desibil or more, visual acuity of 30% or less, or who had a valid disability assessment in the month before reaching 67th birthday.

One variable was entered into the census data, „Type of Disability“. The variable distinguishes both disabled people from others and classifies disabled people into 5 main types of disability according to skill impairment: motor, visual, hearing and cognitive impairment as well as mental impairment. For convenience, a special variable, „Type of housing“, was added, which is based on other variables in the census.

The data on disabled persons are assembled from eight different administrative sources. Some undercoverage of the elderly can be detected, as until 2022 old people in rest homes received wheelchairs, if needed, from the rest home but not the state institution. Dementia is also poorly registered. In addition, as reported in the annual report of the Counseling and Diagnosis Center 343 children were in 2020 on waiting lists for a formal disability assessment causing an undercount of disabled children.

Five classes of impairments are identified, motion, seeing, hearing, cognition and mental impairments, using data from the municipal social service who directly register these impairments, and extraction of impairments from ICD-10 codes, as well as implicit data from institutions servicing visually impaired persons, supplying hearing aids and wheelchairs and other significant aid devices to the disabled persons. This classification cannot be independently verified. There is, however, a high correspondance between the municipal data and other methods used to classify the type of impairment, when these overlap.

Administrative data on disabled people I: Data quality   - Statistical Series: Working paper (7th June 2024).


Use of these experimental statistics is free. Please quote the source.
For further information please contact+354 528 1100. E-mail: information@statice.is