Global trends in disability and ageing 

The demographic trends common to both developed and developing countries are beginning to have a profound social and economic impact in many countries. United Nations data on worldwide demographic trends show that:

  • 11% of the global population is now more than 60 years old;
  • By 2050, this figure is expected to be 22%; rising from 700 million people in 2009 to 2 billion;
  • The number of people aged over 80 is growing at 4% per annum; the population as a whole is growing at 1% per annum.

The Link between Age and Disability

It is also clear that there is a strong correlation between age and disability. There is evidence that:

  • About 10% of the world’s population has a disability;
  • About one third of older people have a disability and in some countries as many as two thirds of disabled people are also elderly.

It is important to recognise in a transport context that it depends largely of the environment to which extent travellers with a disability and reduced mobility need assistance.

For example, people who are autonomous in their home situation might face problems at airports with very long distances.


 (Metz & Underwood, “Older, Richer, Fitter”)