BEIJING - The number of people with disabilities in China could exceed 100 million by the end of 2015, predicted a researcher here on Wednesday.
Based on a population with disabilities of 83 million, as documented in the 2007 census, China might see an annual increase of up to three million disabled citizens in the next five years, according to Chen Gong with a research institute at Peking University.
Chen attributed the rapid growth to China's aging society, accelerating migration of the population and environmentally adverse factors.
Living standards of people with disabilities in China have improved over the past year, according to a report released by the China Disabled Persons' Federation (CDPF) Wednesday.
Further, compared with previous statistics, the annual disposable income per capita of city and township residents with disabilities increased by 9.2 percent. The figure for rural residents with disabilities rose 16.6 percent, the report said.
Last year saw an increase in the average housing area and reduction of registered unemployment rates of those with disabilities, according to the report.
But the report also revealed relatively lower statistics concerning access to rehabilitation services and integration into communities.
Two major census on people with disabilities in China were conducted in 1987 and 2007. The number of disabled citizens in the 1987 census was 51.6 million, and it grew to 83 million after two decades, which accounted for 6.34 percent of China's total population then.
A worldwide disability rate was estimated at 10-12 percent by the World Bank in 2009.