Almost 600,000 people, or 13% of the total population, have a disability, according to the latest figures from Census 2011.

The most common disability involved difficulties with pain, breathing or other chronic illnesses.

Of the 595,335 people with a disability in April 2011, 48.7% were men and 51.3% were women.

Limerick city had the highest rate of disability at 18.2%, followed by Cork, Waterford and Dublin.

The lowest rate of disability was found in Fingal in Dublin.

Difficulties with pain, breathing or other chronic illness were experienced by 46%, while 41% experienced difficulties with basic physical activities.

Just over 56,000 of people with a disability aged 65 and over lived alone, and almost 36,000 of these people suffered from a condition limiting basic physical activities.

The Census found a lower level of education among people with a disability - 16.3% of people with a disability, aged between 15 and 49, had just a primary school education, compared with 5.1% of the general population.

One in five people with a disability was working, compared with half of the overall population.

In response to a new question on general health in the Census, 30% of people aged between 65 and 69 said they believed they were in good health, compared with 60% of those between the ages of 40 and 44.

Suburban life, living in a family environment, and being married all appeared linked to perceptions of personal good health.

In relation to carers, the Census found that 4% of the population were providing unpaid assistance to others, two thirds of whom were women, while more than 4,000 carers were children.

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