Although the WHO estimates that approximately 15% of the world’s population has some type of disability, it is often difficult to access good data on the international realities and needs of this population. One excellent resource is 2011 World Report on Disability, a joint project of the WHO and the World Bank. You can find additional facts and figures on the UN Enable Factsheet on Persons with Disabilities. These are both excellent companions to the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Here is a list of the Convention’s current ratifiers and signatories. The U.S. remains conspicuously absent.
For a more personal look at disability in the daily lives of people around the world, check out “Global Development Voices: Living with Disabilities,” a fantastic interactive project by The Guardian. Stay tuned for additional links and other suggested resources.