Mon, Feb 14, 2011 - Page 2 News List

Disabilities rising across the nation

Staff Writer, with CNA

People with mental disabilities are on the rise in Taiwan, with an overall annual increase of 0.49 percent in the disabled population last year, Ministry of the Interior statistics showed on Saturday.

Among the 23 million people in the nation, 1,076,293, or 4.65 percent, were classified as disabled at the end of last year, the ministry said.

While more than 60 percent of the disabled population are people with physical disabilities, mostly concerning limbs, hearing or key organs, the ministry saw a bigger increase in mental disabilities.

The number of people with autism increased by 10.92 percent to 10,160 last year, followed by dementia, which grew by 6.45 percent to 32,580. People without key organ functions rose by 3.33 percent to 120,776.

Meanwhile, people with limb disabilities dropped by 2.34 percent to 387,369, while the number of visually impaired decreased by 2.33 percent to 55,603, the only two categories registering decreases.

The rise in chronic mental illness and dementia, the ministry said, was more prevalent among women than men last year. Although 57.3 percent of the disabled population are men, the gap between men and women continued to narrow, as 4,166 out of the 5,220 net increase last year were female.

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