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For ABS purposes, a person has a disability if they report having a limitation, restriction or impairment, which has lasted, or is likely to last for at least six months and restricts everyday activities. This can range from loss of hearing, which requires the use of a hearing aid to incomplete use of hands, fingers and feet to long term mental illness which requires constant assistance.
The information in this article draws on data from the ABS Survey of Disability, Ageing and Carers (SDAC), conducted from June to November 2003 - the SDAC was last conducted in 1998. Summary information, which deals mainly with data at the national level, is available in Disability, Ageing and Carers, Australia (cat. no. 4430.0). Information at the state/territory level (excluding Northern Territory) is available in Disability, Ageing and Carers, Australia: Summary of Findings - State Tables (cat.no. 4430.0).
SEX AND AGE: PERSONS WITH A DISABILITY
In 2003, on an age standardised basis, 16% of Australian Capital Territory (ACT) residents had a reported disability, below the 20% reported nationally. In particular, the disability rate for ACT males (15%) was lower than the national rate for males, of 21%.
DISABILITY RATES, ACT AND AUSTRALIA-2003
In the ACT and Australia, disability rates increased with age, with the highest rates being achieved for those aged 80 and above. Rates in the ACT increased from 7% for the age group 0-14 to 70% for those aged 80 and above - the national rates tracked higher at all age groups than the ACT.
The main type of health condition for ACT people with a disability was a physical condition (84%); the remaining 16% had a mental and/or behavioural disorder. These proportions were consistent with what was reported nationally.
ASSISTANCE: PERSONS WITH A DISABILITY, LIVING IN HOUSEHOLDS
In the ACT 55% of those with a reported disability indicated they needed assistance to manage their health condition and cope with everyday tasks. Of these, 54% reported that their needs were fully met and 41% reported that their needs were partly met.
Eighty-six percent of ACT people with a reported disability, who needed assistance, received help from informal providers such as relatives and friends and 63% received help from formal providers, such as home-care workers.
EMPLOYMENT: PERSONS WITH A DISABILITY (AGED 15 - 64), LIVING IN HOUSEHOLDS
The labour force participation rate for ACT people aged 15-64, with a reported disability, was 67% - higher than the national rate of 53%, but lower than the overall labour force participation rate for the ACT (83%). New South Wales recorded the lowest participation rate for people with a reported disability, at 51%.
COMPUTER AND INTERNET USE: PERSONS WITH A DISABILITY (AGED 15 - 64), LIVING IN HOUSEHOLDS
In the ACT 59% of those aged 15 and over, with a reported disability, used a computer at home and 47% accessed the Internet at home. In both cases this was higher than the rates for any of the states. The lowest rate for computer use at home was in New South Wales (37%) and for access to the Internet, the lowest rate was in Tasmania (25%).
To find out more about the ACT and ACT Statistics see the ACT Theme Page.