Evidence from a variety of sources suggests that there has been an increase of around 1% per annum in the prevalence of learning disability (LD) in adults over the last 35 years, due mainly to increases in survival. This trend is likely to continue for at least another ten years. Ninety‐six percent of adults notified to the Leicestershire LD register have an estimated IQ below 50 or need supervision every day to remain safe. Three‐quarters have additional significant disabilities including behaviour problems, psychological symptoms, physical dependencies or epilepsy. In one quarter the behaviour problem poses a major challenge to the achievement of an ordinary life. Two‐thirds indicate a need for help from one or other specialist. Informal carers are actively providing care for nearly half the adults, but a quarter are not content with care‐giving. Carers Report 40% more limiting health problems than their counterparts in the general population, in particular depression in women and cardiovascular problems in men. The specific areas of unmet need among carers Reporting depression are for financial help, long‐term social support and medical advice. Resource allocation for this client group needs to be reviewed in the light of substantial and unrecognised increases in prevalence which are continuing to occur, and the need for long‐term support.