Fewer over-90s in Wigan living with a disability
The Office for National Statistics said the decrease in older people stating they have a disability when the census took place in March 2021 could be due to the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The ONS figures show about 985 people aged 90 and older in Wigan said they had a very limiting disability – accounting for 47.7 per cent of the age cohort.
It was down significantly from 72.4 per cent when the previous census took place in 2011.
A further 400 over-90s (19.4 per cent) said they had a disability that was a little limiting, down from 21.5 per cent a decade earlier.
Across England, 44.3 per cent of the oldest age cohort said they had a disability that limited them a lot – a fall from 66.5 per cent in 2011.
The proportion of older people saying they had a disability that limited them a little also fell from 24.2 per cent in 2011 to 20.1 per cent in 2021.
The ONS noted a change in the wording of the census question may also account for differences.
It said for older age groups, the visible prompt in the previous census question “include problems related to old age” was removed in the 2021 version, with the possible result this might have reduced the proportion of older people who considered they had a condition or illness.
Julie Stanborough, deputy director of data and analysis for social care and health at the ONS, said the drop in older people who are disabled “may seem surprising”.
Ms Stanborough added: “Sadly, many disabled people died in the Covid-19 pandemic, which may be one of the reasons."
The census figures also show more women had a disability in Wigan than men. About 35,605 women (21.2 per cent) said they had a disability in 2021 and 30,270 men (19.1 per cent) said they did.
In England, 18.7 per cent of women and 16.5 per cent of men were disabled in 2021.