Promising Practice

Statistical information system on disability

Since 2000, the Italian statistical institution, ISTAT, has been running the disability information system. This data hub integrates and systematises different data sources, thereby documenting the living conditions and level of social inclusion of people with disabilities.
Institutional and structural guidelines
Foster inter-institutional cooperation
Build up data hub
Facilitate effective use
Operational guidelines
Ensure comprehensiveness
Includes multiple / intersectional discrimination

Promising practice :

In this page:

Why was the practice needed?

The disability information system (SID) is aimed at monitoring the living conditions of people with disabilities compared to the rest of the population and at highlighting existing inequalities. It started as a project in 2000 following a formal agreement between the Welfare Ministry and ISTAT to apply article 41-bis of Law 162/98, which triggered the need to gather statistical data on disability. In addition, Article 31 of the UN Convention on the Rights of Person with Disabilities (UN CRPD) mandates State parties to collect statistical and research data to enable them to formulate and implement policies to give effect to the Convention.

The SID is designed to serve the needs of two different type of users:

  1. A data warehouse for expert users who need personalised elaboration of the data;
  2. Simple tables for non-expert users.

How was it implemented?

The SID provides information by integrating and coordinating official statistics produced by ISTAT and institutions within the National Statistical System on issues related to disability. It also develops new sources of data which aim to close current information gaps.

On the one hand, it implements new surveys on specific issues such as, social inclusion and living conditions, educational inclusion. On the other, it fills gaps with the help of administrative data, such as data on tax benefits or benefits in kind.

The indicators were selected, developed and calculated by ISTAT. The backbone of the SID is made up of about 300 indicators, which are broken down by disability, gender, age group and geographical areas.

Each indicator is disaggregated at the level of the smallest geographical area possible, depending on the data sources (administrative, census, sample).

Furthermore, each indicator is accorded metadata information (data sources, definition of disability, warning on data use).

The SID includes data collected using different definitions of disability and based on different conceptual models (impairment perspective, functional perspective, ecological perspective).

The different definitions are well documented in the metadata system.


  • The data of the SID are disseminated through a dedicated webpage, financed by the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy. The website has three main sections:
  1. Data access, which allows the user to browse, query and download the available data;
  2. Documentation and glossary which provides publications, background information and clarification of terminology;
  3. UN CRPD Indicators.
  • The website also provides links to national and international organisations relevant to the topics covered in the information system.

Key success factors

  • The website is used at the national level by all stakeholders at the political level, and by associations of people with disabilities.

Technical information

  • Data sources covered: Administrative data; Household or individual surveys.
  • Areas of life covered: Employment; Education; Health; Social Protection; Housing and living conditions; Access to good and services; Others: mobility, social participation.
  • Target audience: Public administrations, researchers, civil society organisations, and the general population
  • Duration: 2000 – present
  • Geographical scope: National
  • Leading institution: Italian National Institute for Statistics (ISTAT)
  • Other organisations involved/consulted: Ministry of Welfare; disability organisations, such as FISH and FAND, the two main national federations of disability associations, and the National Observatory on Disability
  • Financial & human resources: Budget: No information provided; Source of the budget: State (Ministry of Labour and Social Policy/ISTAT; Staff: No information provided


Italian National Institute of Statistics (ISTAT) / Istituto Nazionale di Statistica

Email: solipaca (at) istat (dot) it