About Australians with disability

Demographics

People with disability are diverse – they come from all demographic and socioeconomic groups, they have different types and severities of disability, and have varying needs for assistance.

The number of people with disability in Australia is increasing.

  • In 2018, there were 4.4 million people with disability (up from 4.3 million in 2015) [5]
  • Of all people with disability, 1.9 million were aged 65 years and over (up from 1.8 million in 2015). [5]

Statistics

  • 1 in 5 Australians has a disability (over 4.4 million people).
  • 1 in 6 Australians are affected by hearing loss. There are approximately 30,000 Deaf Auslan users with total hearing loss [1]
  • 1 in 2 (51%) of Australians aged 65 and over have a disability
  • 1 in 10 Australians has Dyslexia [Source: Dyslexia Australia].
  • Over 357,000 people in Australia are blind or have low vision [Source: Vision Australia]
  • 45% of the Australians will experience a mental health disorder during their lifetime
  • Every week, 5 Australians sustain a spinal cord injury [2]
  • Every week 10 – 15 Australians sustain a severe brain injury [2]
  • Every 15 hrs, a child is born with cerebral palsy [2]
  • A child is diagnosed with autism almost every 2 hours (over 12 children per day) [4]
  • People with autism are dying at twice the rate of the general population [3]
  • 45% of those with a disability in Australia are living either near or below the poverty line, more than double the OECD average of 22% [2]
  • People with disability are twice as likely to be in the bottom 20% of gross household incomes.

Autism

  • Autistic people like/prefer being referred to as autistic people rather than people with autism.
  • More often than every 2 hours, a child will be diagnosed with autism [2]
  • People with autism are dying at twice the rate of the general population [source: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/aur.2086]
  • autistic people have very low education and employment outcomes which cannot be attributed to physical or intellectual impairment [4]
  • 2 in 3 autistic people have severe or profound disability [4]
  • about 9 in 10 autistic people have difficulty in school [4]
Of the one in five Australians with disability:
 * 1 in 2 (49%) of people with disability are female
 * 1 in 3 (32%) have severe or profound disability
 * 1 in 3 (29%) need help with health care
 * 1 in 4 (27%) need help with property maintenance
 * 1 in 4 (24%) need help with household chores
 * 1 in 2 (48%) aged 5 and over have a schooling or employment restriction (2015).

 

Sources: Except where stated otherwise, data is taken from the AIHW Report 2019: Australians with Disability.  [1] VicDeaf.  [2] Price Waterhouse Coopers, 2011 ‘Disability expectations – investing in a better life, a strong Australia.’  [3] https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/aur.2016.  [4] Autism Aspergers Advocacy Australia (A4).  [5] Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) 2018 Survey on Disability, Ageing and Carers, Australia