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DUBLIN CITY IS home to people with the worst health in Ireland, while Dún-Laoghaire-Rathdown is the area with the best health rates in the country, according to the Central Statistics Office (CSO).
In 2016, a total of 89.9% of people in Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown said their health was very good or good – this was the highest rate in the country.
It was followed by Meath (89.6%) and Kildare and Cork County, both at 89.5%. Meanwhile, Dublin City had the lowest percentage at 82.8%, with Cork City and Longford the next lowest at 83.6% and 85.3% respectively.
These statistics are contained in the latest Health, Disability and Carers report from the CSO.
Last year, 87% of the population felt they had good or very good health, down slightly from 2011 when it was 88.3%.
Nearly six in 10 (59.5%) of men felt their health was very good, compared to 59.3% of women.
Meanwhile, the report found a significant increase in the number of people with a disability in Ireland.
There were a total of 643,131 people who said they had a disability in April 2016, accounting for 13.5% of the population. This represented an increase of 47,796 people (8%) on the 2011 figure of 595,335.
Up to one in 10 people between the age of 45 had a disability, rising to 20% by the age of 60.
The report showed that rates increased sharply above the age of 70, with 27.7% of females aged 70-74 having a disability and 73.3% of females older than 84.
While the rate of disability fell for all categories above 45 years old, the increase in the number of older people means the actual number of people with a disability over 65 has increased by 20,319 over the five years, from 204,069 in 2011 to 224,388 in 2016.
Between 2011 and 2016, the numbers of people with different disabilities increased across all categories. The largest increase was among those with a psychological or emotional condition, which rose by 28.7% from 27,511 to 123,515 over the five year period.
Those with a vision impairment increased by 6% to 54,810.
Education and employment
Educational achievements among people with disabilities were much lower than that of the general population at all levels.
Among those aged 15 to 50, 13.7% had completed no higher than primary level education, compared with 4.2% of the general population.
Of those with a disability aged 15 and over in April 2016, just 22.3% were in work, compared with 53.4% of the overall population in that age group.
A total of 26.3% of people with a disability were unemployed in 2016, more than double the 12.9% rate for the population as a whole.
Rehab, an Irish charity for people with disabilities, has called on the government to tackle the unemployment rates among people with disabilities.
“While these figures are not shocking, they are unacceptably high. Every day in our services throughout the country we support people into employment, and we speak people who can want to work, but the supports are simply not available,” Kathleen O’Meara, spokesperson for Rehab said.
The government needs to take proactive steps to ensure there are enough jobs for people with disabilities.
“We hear from the government that unemployment levels have dropped significantly since the recession in 2008, but people with disabilities are not feeling any of this recovery,” O’Meara said.