The Most Popular Disability: A Ranking of Commonly Experienced Challenges

Choose the disability you think is the most popular!

Author: Gregor Krambs
Updated on Apr 14, 2024 07:01
Welcome to StrawPoll, where your opinion matters! We're excited to present our latest ranking: "What is the most popular disability?" As a platform hosting thousands of engaging polls and rankings, we strive to cover diverse topics that spark curiosity and discussion. Our goal is to create an inclusive space where everyone's voice is heard. In this unique ranking, we invite you to vote for your favorite disability or suggest a missing option. Your participation will help raise awareness and understanding of different disabilities, foster empathy, and contribute to an important global conversation. So, join us now and let your voice be heard! Together, let's explore the world of disabilities and celebrate the strength and resilience of the human spirit.

What Is the Most Popular Disability?

  1. 1
    Visual Impairment
    National Institute of Health · Public domain
    According to the World Health Organization (WHO), approximately 253 million people live with vision impairment worldwide.
    Visual impairment refers to a wide range of conditions that result in a decreased ability to see or perceive visual information. These conditions can vary in severity and affect people differently, from partial loss of vision to complete blindness. Visual impairment can be caused by various factors including eye diseases, injuries, or conditions that affect the visual processing centers in the brain.
    • Prevalence: Visual impairment affects an estimated 285 million people worldwide (World Health Organization).
    • Categories: Visual impairment can be categorized as partial sightedness, low vision, legal blindness, and total blindness.
    • Causes: Visual impairment can be caused by conditions such as cataracts, glaucoma, macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, optic nerve disorders, or eye injuries.
    • Assistive Devices: People with visual impairment often use assistive devices such as magnifiers, screen readers, braille displays, white canes, or guide dogs to enhance their independence and access to information.
    • Accessibility: Visual impairment may require modifications and accommodations to ensure accessibility in various environments, including the use of accessible formats, tactile cues, and auditory information.
  2. 2
    Hearing Impairment
    Thomas.haslwanter · CC BY-SA 3.0
    Around 466 million people worldwide have hearing loss, according to WHO.
    Hearing Impairment is a common disability that affects an individual's ability to perceive sounds. It can range from mild to profound and may include difficulty in understanding speech, distinguishing sounds, or experiencing a complete lack of hearing. Hearing impairment can occur in one or both ears and can be present from birth or acquired later in life due to various factors.
    • Prevalence: Approximately 466 million people worldwide have disabling hearing loss, which accounts for around 5% of the global population.
    • Types: There are different types of hearing impairment, including conductive, sensorineural, and mixed hearing loss.
    • Causes: Hearing impairment can be caused by factors such as genetic conditions, aging, exposure to loud noises, certain medications, infections, or diseases.
    • Communication Challenges: Individuals with hearing impairment may face difficulties in communicating, especially in noisy environments or when interacting with people who do not understand their needs.
    • Assistive Devices: Many individuals with hearing impairment use assistive devices like hearing aids, cochlear implants, or assistive listening systems to enhance their hearing abilities.
  3. 3
    This includes conditions that affect movement, such as paralysis, cerebral palsy, and multiple sclerosis. WHO estimates that 15% of the world's population lives with some form of disability, and mobility impairment is one of the most common types.
    Mobility Impairment refers to a condition that affects an individual's ability to move around independently or perform physical tasks. It can arise from various causes, such as neuromuscular disorders, spinal cord injuries, limb loss, or conditions affecting the musculoskeletal system. People with mobility impairments often rely on assistive devices and technologies to enhance their mobility and accessibility.
    • Wheelchair Use: Many individuals with mobility impairments use wheelchairs for mobility and independence.
    • Walkers and Canes: Some individuals may use walkers or canes for improved stability while walking.
    • Prosthetic Limbs: People with limb loss may use prosthetic limbs to regain mobility and perform daily activities.
    • Mobility Scooters: Motorized mobility scooters provide increased mobility for individuals with limited strength or endurance.
    • Accessible Transportation: Mobility-impaired individuals often require accessible transportation options, such as wheelchair-accessible vehicles or public transportation with ramps or lifts.
  4. 4
    This includes conditions that affect cognitive functions such as memory, learning, and problem-solving. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 6.5 million people in the US have an intellectual disability.
    Cognitive Disabilities refer to a diverse category of disabilities that affect cognitive processes such as thinking, learning, memory, and problem-solving. People with cognitive disabilities may experience difficulties in understanding and processing information, communication, and social interactions. The severity and specific areas affected can vary widely among individuals.
    • Cognitive Impairment: Cognitive disabilities can result from various conditions, including but not limited to intellectual disabilities, developmental disorders, traumatic brain injuries, dementia, and learning disabilities.
    • Impacted Cognitive Functions: Cognitive disabilities may affect different cognitive functions such as attention, memory, executive functioning, problem-solving, language skills, and processing speed.
    • Communication Challenges: People with cognitive disabilities can struggle with expressing and understanding verbal and written language, as well as interpreting non-verbal communication cues.
    • Learning Difficulties: Cognitive disabilities often present challenges in acquiring new knowledge, skills, and concepts, making traditional learning methods less effective.
    • Assistive Technologies: Assistive technologies like communication boards, cognitive aids, personal digital assistants (PDAs), and specialized software can help individuals with cognitive disabilities in various aspects of their daily lives.
  5. 5
    This includes conditions such as depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder. According to WHO, around 450 million people worldwide live with a mental or neurological disorder.
    Mental Health Conditions refer to a broad range of disorders that affect a person's thinking, emotions, mood, and behavior. They can vary in severity and can cause significant impairment in daily functioning, relationships, and overall quality of life.
    • Prevalence: Approximately 1 in 4 people globally
    • Types: Depression, anxiety disorders, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, ADHD, OCD, PTSD, eating disorders, etc.
    • Causes: Combination of genetic, biological, psychological, and environmental factors
    • Symptoms: Varies according to specific condition, but can include mood swings, sadness, worry, irritability, changes in appetite or sleep patterns, difficulty concentrating, etc.
    • Treatment: Combination of medication, psychotherapy, counseling, support groups, lifestyle changes, and self-care practices
  6. 6
    Autism Spectrum Disorder
    MissLunaRose12 · CC BY-SA 4.0
    This is a developmental disorder that affects communication and social interaction. According to the CDC, around 1 in 54 children in the US are diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder.
    Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a complex developmental disorder characterized by difficulties in social interaction and communication, along with restricted and repetitive patterns of behavior and interests. It is a lifelong condition that affects individuals differently, ranging from mild to severe.
    • Prevalence and Diagnosis: ASD is estimated to affect around 1 in 54 children globally. It is diagnosed based on a comprehensive evaluation of an individual's behavior and development, including observations, interviews, and assessments.
    • Early Signs and Symptoms: Signs of ASD can emerge within the first two years of life. Common early symptoms include delayed speech or language skills, reduced eye contact, repetitive movements, and difficulty with social interactions.
    • Communication Challenges: ASD can lead to difficulties in understanding and using verbal and nonverbal communication. Some individuals with ASD may be nonverbal or have limited speech, while others may have extensive vocabularies but struggle with social communication.
    • Social Interaction Difficulties: People with ASD often exhibit challenges in social interaction, such as difficulties with making and maintaining eye contact, understanding social cues, developing and maintaining friendships, and navigating social relationships.
    • Sensory Sensitivities: Many individuals with ASD experience sensory sensitivities, being either hyper- or hypo-sensitive to sensory stimuli. This can include sensitivity to noise, light, touch, taste, or smell, which can significantly impact their daily functioning.
    Autism Spectrum Disorder in other rankings
  7. 7
    This includes conditions that affect speech production, such as stuttering and apraxia. According to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, around 40 million people in the US have a speech, language, or swallowing disorder.
    Speech Disorders refer to a range of conditions that affect an individual's ability to produce or articulate speech sounds. These disorders can manifest in different ways, including difficulties with pronunciation, fluency, and voice quality. The severity and symptoms of speech disorders can vary widely among individuals.
    • Types: Speech disorders encompass various conditions such as articulation disorders, phonological disorders, apraxia of speech, stuttering, and dysarthria.
    • Causes: Speech disorders can be caused by various factors including developmental issues, neurological disorders, hearing loss, physical impairments, or trauma.
    • Symptoms: Symptoms may include difficulty pronouncing words, substituting sounds, repeating syllables or words, speaking in a monotone or slurred manner, hesitations or pauses while speaking, or struggling to find the right words.
    • Prevalence: According to the World Health Organization, approximately 4% of the world's population has a speech disorder.
    • Diagnosis: Speech disorders are diagnosed through assessments conducted by speech-language pathologists. These assessments may include speech and language evaluations, observation of speech patterns, and sometimes instrumental examinations.
  8. 8
    This includes conditions that affect learning, such as dyslexia and ADHD. According to the National Center for Learning Disabilities, 1 in 5 people in the US have a learning disability.
    Learning Disabilities refer to a group of neurological disorders that affect a person's ability to acquire, process, interpret, retain, or use information effectively. These disabilities typically impact skills related to reading, writing, math, and comprehension. Individuals with learning disabilities may have average or above-average intelligence but struggle with specific areas of learning.
    • Prevalence: Learning disabilities affect around 15% of the global population.
    • Types: There are various types of learning disabilities, including dyslexia, dyscalculia, dysgraphia, auditory and visual processing disorders, and non-verbal learning disabilities.
    • Diagnosis: Diagnosis of learning disabilities involves comprehensive evaluations by professionals, such as psychologists, educational diagnosticians, and speech-language pathologists.
    • Causes: The exact causes of learning disabilities are not known, but factors such as genetic and hereditary components, brain differences, and environmental factors may contribute.
    • Lifelong Condition: Learning disabilities are typically lifelong conditions, as they affect the way individuals process and retain information throughout their lives.
  9. 9
    This includes conditions that cause persistent pain, such as fibromyalgia and chronic back pain. According to the National Institutes of Health, around 50 million people in the US live with chronic pain.
    Chronic Pain refers to persistent pain that lasts for an extended period, typically exceeding three to six months. It can be caused by various factors such as injury, illness, or other underlying medical conditions. Unlike acute pain, which serves as a warning signal for an injury or illness, chronic pain persists long after the initial cause of pain has healed or resolved. It can significantly impact a person's physical and mental well-being, leading to limitations in daily activities and reduced quality of life.
    • Prevalence: Chronic Pain affects approximately 20% of the global population.
    • Causes: Chronic pain can be caused by various underlying conditions including musculoskeletal disorders, autoimmune diseases, nerve damage, surgery, or the presence of ongoing diseases.
    • Symptoms: Common symptoms of chronic pain include persistent or recurring pain, fatigue, sleep disturbances, mood changes, reduced mobility, and cognitive difficulties.
    • Treatment: Treatment for chronic pain involves a multidisciplinary approach that may include pain medication, physical therapy, occupational therapy, psychological support, lifestyle changes, and complementary therapies.
    • Impact: Chronic pain can significantly impact a person's daily functioning, mental health, relationships, and overall quality of life.
  10. 10
    This includes a range of conditions that affect development, such as Down syndrome and cerebral palsy. According to WHO, developmental disabilities affect around 1% of the world's population.
    Developmental Disabilities refer to a group of conditions that affect an individual's physical, cognitive, emotional, and social development. These disabilities typically emerge during childhood and persist throughout a person's lifespan. They may affect various areas such as learning, communication, behavior, and daily functioning.
    • Prevalence: According to the World Health Organization, an estimated 15% of the global population experiences some form of developmental disabilities.
    • Diverse Conditions: Developmental Disabilities encompass a wide range of conditions, including intellectual disabilities, autism spectrum disorders, cerebral palsy, and genetic disorders.
    • Onset During Development: Developmental Disabilities typically originate before the age of 22, often evident during infancy or early childhood.
    • Impacts Multiple Domains: These disabilities impact various areas of a person's life, such as language and communication, motor skills, self-care, and social interaction.
    • Lifelong Challenges: Individuals with developmental disabilities often face lifelong challenges and may require ongoing support and interventions to optimize their potential.

Missing your favorite disability?


Ranking factors for popular disability

  1. Prevalence
    The total number of individuals affected by a particular disability in a given population. A higher prevalence indicates more individuals are affected by the disability, making it more popular or common.
  2. Incidence rate
    This refers to the number of new cases of a disability occurring within a defined time period. A higher incidence rate indicates that more individuals are at risk and developing the disability.
  3. Severity
    The level of impact that a disability has on an individual's physical, emotional, and social well-being. Disabilities with higher severity might garner more awareness and be perceived as more popular due to their significant impact on individuals and their families.
  4. Public awareness
    The level of understanding and visibility within society of a particular disability. Increased awareness and representation can lead to a perception of the disability's popularity.
  5. Social stigma
    The degree of negativity or discrimination that people with the disability experience in societal interactions. Disabilities that face significant stigma may be more recognized and therefore perceived as more popular.
  6. Accessibility to services and support
    The availability of resources, such as specialized healthcare, education, and community services, for individuals with a particular disability. The more accessible these resources are, the more visibility the disability might have within society.
  7. Advocacy and research
    The amount of support, funding, and research dedicated to a particular disability can influence its popularity. Disabilities with strong advocacy organizations or widespread research efforts tend to have more visibility and public awareness.
  8. Cultural and geographical factors
    The prevalence and recognition of a particular disability may be influenced by cultural or geographical factors, making it more popular in certain regions or among specific populations.

About this ranking

This is a community-based ranking of the most popular disability. We do our best to provide fair voting, but it is not intended to be exhaustive. So if you notice something or disability is missing, feel free to help improve the ranking!


  • 177 votes
  • 10 ranked items

Voting Rules

A participant may cast an up or down vote for each disability once every 24 hours. The rank of each disability is then calculated from the weighted sum of all up and down votes.


More information on most popular disability

Disability is a term used to describe any physical, mental, or cognitive condition that limits a person's ability to perform everyday tasks. According to the World Health Organization, over 1 billion people worldwide live with some form of disability. In the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that around 61 million adults have a disability, which amounts to about 26% of the population. Disabilities can range from mobility impairments to visual or hearing impairments, and can be the result of a variety of causes including genetic conditions, accidents, or chronic illnesses. As society becomes more aware of the needs and rights of people with disabilities, it's important to understand which disabilities are most common and how they impact individuals and society as a whole.

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