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1370.0 - Measures of Australia's Progress, 2010  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 15/09/2010   
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Health

Profound or severe disability by relative disadvantage of area(a)(b) - 2007-08
Graph Image for Profound or severe disability by relative disadvantage of area(a)(b) - 2007-08

Footnote(s): (a) People with a profound or severe disability as a proportion of the population aged 15 years and over living in each SEIFA quintile. (b) Q1 is the most disadvantaged quintile and Q5 is the least disadvantaged quintile.

Source(s): ABS data available on request, 2007-08 National Health Survey

Selected long-term health condition by relative disadvantage of area(a)(b) - 2007-08
Graph Image for Selected long-term health condition by relative disadvantage of area(a)(b) - 2007-08

Footnote(s): (a) People with selected condition as a proportion of the population aged 15 years and over living in each SEIFA quintile. (b) Q1 is the most disadvantaged quintile and Q5 is the least disadvantaged quintile.

Source(s): ABS data available on request, 2007-08 National Health Survey

Self-assessed health by relative disadvantage of area(a)(b) - 2007-08
Graph Image for Self-assessed health by relative disadvantage of area(a)(b) - 2007-08

Footnote(s): (a) People with each self-assessed health status as a proportion of the population aged 15 years and over living in each SEIFA quintile. (b) Q1 is the most disadvantaged quintile and Q5 is the least disadvantaged quintile.

Source(s): ABS data available on request, 2007-08 National Health Survey

SOCIOECONOMIC DISADVANTAGE

Australians who live in areas with poorer socioeconomic conditions tend to have worse health than people who live in other areas. Previous analysis has shown that Australians living in the most disadvantaged areas have higher levels of health risk factors, and a lower use of preventative health services than others (ABS 2010b). However, the relationship between health and socioeconomic disadvantage is not straightforward, and the direction of causality is unclear. For example, low income can negatively impact housing standards or reduce access to medical services. However, people with chronic conditions may have a reduced ability to earn income and may, as a consequence, move to disadvantaged areas to access lower cost housing.

In 2007-08, 24% of people (aged 15 years and over) living in the most disadvantaged areas rated their health as fair or poor, compared with 10% of people living in the least disadvantaged areas. Chronic conditions were more prevalent amongst people living in the most disadvantaged areas as follows:

  • 24% of people living in the most disadvantaged areas had arthritis, compared with 15% of those in the least disadvantaged areas
  • 16% of people living in the most disadvantaged areas had mental or behavioural problems, compared with 11% of those in the least disadvantaged areas
  • 8% of people living in the most disadvantaged areas had diabetes, compared with 3% of those in the least disadvantaged areas
  • 6% of people living in the most disadvantaged areas had ischaemic heart disease, compared with 2% of those in the least disadvantaged areas
In addition, in 2007-08, there were higher proportions of people with a disability living in the most disadvantaged areas compared with those living in the least disadvantages areas. The proportion of people with a profound or severe disability decreased with declining levels of disadvantage. Of people living in the most disadvantaged areas, 7% of people aged 15 years and over had a profound or severe disability, compared with 3% of people living in the least disadvantaged areas.

Health risk factors also varied across areas of socioeconomic disadvantage. In 2007-08, people aged 15 years and over, and living in the most disadvantaged areas, were more likely to be current smokers (30%) compared with those living in the least disadvantaged areas (13%). Similarly, around one third (32%) of people living in the most disadvantaged areas (aged 15 years and over) were categorised as obese, compared with under one fifth (18%) who lived in the least disadvantaged areas. However, the trend was reversed for the proportion of people who consumed alcohol at a level considered risky to their health - being slightly less common in the most disadvantaged areas (10%) compared with the least disadvantaged areas (13%).

Poor health among the socioeconomic disadvantaged population may have flow on consequences for mortality. A study of socioeconomic status and overall mortality (for 1998-2000) found that there was a relationship between death rates and levels of socioeconomic status. This resulted in a life expectancy gap of four years for males and two years for females between the highest and lowest socioeconomic groups (AIHW 2010b).

 

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