1136.0 - A Directory of Education and Training Statistics, 2009  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 24/03/2009   
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Health and Disability Section
Australian Bureau of Statistics, Canberra
Telephone (02) 6252 7430


The Survey of Disability, Ageing and Carers (SDAC) collects information on the number and demographic characteristics of persons, relating to three main population groups:

  • people with a disability;
  • people aged 60 and over; and
  • primary carers.

Disabilities can be broadly grouped depending on whether they relate to functioning of the mind or the senses, or to anatomy or physiology. Each disability group may refer to a single disability or comprise a number of broadly similar disabilities.

For carers, data are collected on the types of assistance provided, assistance received with the caring role and the effects of the caring role on their lifestyle. The survey also provides information on participation in economic and community activities, including education. Additionally, for people with a disability and for all people aged 60 years and over, information is collected regarding the need for and receipt of assistance, as well as participation in community activities.


The survey covered people in both urban and rural areas in all states and territories, except for those living in remote and sparsely-settled parts of Australia. People from both private and non-private dwellings were in scope; non-private dwellings included cared accommodation but excluded gaols and correctional institutions. The scope of the survey also excluded:
  • visitors to private dwellings;
  • certain diplomatic personnel of overseas governments, customarily excluded from the Census and estimated resident population figures;
  • overseas residents in Australia; and
  • members of non-Australian defence forces (and their dependants) stationed in Australia.

Reference Period

June to November 2003. The next SDAC is scheduled to be enumerated from April to December 2009.

Frequency of Collection

Six yearly.

Method of Collection

The survey has a household component and a cared accommodation component. For the household component, trained ABS interviewers were used to collect data. Detailed personal interviews were conducted with: all persons with a disability; persons aged 60 years or more; and people who were primary carers for people in one of these groups.

A subset of the data collected from the household component of the survey was obtained about people in cared accommodation using a mail-back form completed by an administrative staff member of the establishment. This collection identified disability status and assistance needs. The questions asked were similar to those included in the household component of the survey. In some cases minor modifications were made to make them relevant to cared accommodation facilities.


Release Schedule

Preliminary results for the 2003 survey were released in May 2004, and final results were released in September 2004.


Disability, Australia: Preliminary, 2003 (ABS cat. no. 4446.0)
Disability, Ageing and Carers, Australia: Summary of Findings, 2003 (ABS cat. no. 4430.0)
Disability, Ageing and Carers, Australia: User Guide, 2003 (ABS cat. no. 4431.0.55.001)
Information Paper: Basic Confidentialised Unit Record File: 2003 Survey of Disability, Ageing and Carers, 2003 (ABS cat. no. 4430.0.00.001)


Data are available for Australia, states and territories.

Data Service

Data from the 2003 survey are also available as related Data Cubes (see below), or available on request. Special tabulations are available on request, as a charged service.

Disability, Ageing and Carers: Disability and Long Term Health Conditions, Tables 1 to 11, 2003 (ABS cat. no. 4430.0.55.001)
Disability, Ageing and Carers: Disability and Long Term Health Conditions, Tables 12 to 19, 2003 (ABS cat. no. 4430.0.55.002)
Disability, Ageing and Carers, Australia: Caring in the Community, Tables 1 to 16., Jun to Nov 2003 (ABS cat. no. 4430.0.55.003)
Disability, Ageing and Carers, Australia: Caring in the Community, Tables 17 to 24., Jun to Nov 2003 (ABS cat. no. 4430.0.55.004)

A Confidentialised Unit Record File (CURF), Disability, Ageing and Carers, Australia, Basic Confidentialised Unit Record File (Reissue), 2003 (ABS cat. no. 4430.0.30.002) is available. CURFs are also available for the 1993, 1998 and 2003 surveys.


Education-related data items are listed below for relevant populations. A range of other data items is available relating specifically to those with a disability, or long-term restriction, as well as carers.

All households

Index of education and occupation deciles (SEIFA).

Educational attainment
Persons aged 5-20
  • School attendance
  • Whether attends primary or secondary school.

Persons aged 15 and over
  • Main field of highest educational attainment (ASCED)
  • Main field of highest non-school qualification
  • Level of highest non-school qualification
  • Highest year of school completed
  • Level of non-school qualification currently studying for (ASCED)
  • Level of post-school qualification
  • Age left school - categories
  • Current educational institution attended
  • Full-time or part-time study status
  • Level of qualification currently studying for (ABSCQ)
  • Whether completed year 12
  • Year completed highest non-school qualification.

Education - Impairments and restrictions
Persons aged 15 and over with a disability
  • Level of non-school educational restriction
  • Non-school educational restriction status
  • Whether completed non-school qualification before onset of main condition.

Persons aged 5 and over with a disability
  • Whether needs at least one day off from school each week because of conditions
  • Type of support or special arrangements provided at school or institution
  • Whether attends special school or classes, or receives other special support.

Persons aged 5-20 with a disability
  • Reason for not attending school
  • Schooling restriction status
  • Level of schooling restrictions
  • Whether attends special school because of condition.

Persons aged 5 and over
  • Type of difficulty experienced at school or institution because of condition(s).

Historical Data

The five surveys of disability conducted in 1981, 1988, 1993, 1998 and 2003 have much of their collected material in common. There are differences, however, as later surveys have attempted a better coverage of disability and of specific tasks and activities previously considered too sensitive for a population survey. From 1988, the scope of the survey was also expanded to collect information about informal carers of people with a disability.