4430.0.30.002 - Microdata: Disability, Ageing and Carers, Australia, 2015 Quality Declaration 
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 18/10/2016   
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  • Quality Declaration - Summary



The Survey of Disability, Ageing and Carers (SDAC) is released as a Confidentialised Unit Record File (CURF), TableBuilder and as a microdata product in the DataLab. Microdata files are released in accordance with the conditions specified in the Statistics Determination section of the Census and Statistics Act 1905. This ensures that confidentiality is maintained whilst enabling micro level data to be released. More information on the confidentiality practices associated with CURFs can be found on the About CURF Microdata page. More information on the confidentiality practices associated with TableBuilder can be found on the Confidentiality page of the User Manual: TableBuilder. More information on the confidentiality practices associated with microdata from the DataLab can be found on the Using the DataLab page.

For information on the institutional environment of the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), including the legislative obligations of the ABS, financing and governance arrangements, and mechanisms for scrutiny of ABS operations, please see ABS Institutional Environment.


The Survey of Disability, Ageing and Carers (SDAC) collects information to:

  • measure the prevalence of disability in Australia
  • measure the need for support of older people and those with a disability
  • estimate the number of and provide information about people who provide care to older people and people with disabilities
  • provide a demographic and socio-economic profile of people with disabilities, older people and carers compared with the general population.

In 2015, SDAC included detailed data on the following topics: need and receipt of assistance across common activities of daily living; aids used; specific impairments and underlying health conditions; education and employment restrictions; social and community participation; satisfaction with the quality and range of services received; self perception of health and well-being; patient experience; internet use; carer’s assessment of the impact of their caring role; and standard demographic, labour force and other socio-economic information.

Microdata from the 2015 Survey of Disability, Ageing and Carers (SDAC) is available as a Basic CURF, through a DataLab and in a TableBuilder product.

Detailed information about the data items available in each microdata product is provided in the data item lists, which can be accessed on the Downloads tab of this product.

Information from the SDAC will be used by a wide range of public and private sector agencies, in particular the Department of Health, Department of Social Services, Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, National Disability Insurance Agency, the Productivity Commission and state and territory government departments with responsibility for planning support services for people with a disability, older people and carers.


The most recent Survey of Disability, Ageing and Carers was conducted throughout Australia in two parts: the health establishment component, which ran from May to July 2015; and the household component, which was conducted from July to December 2015. The ABS has been conducting similar surveys on a three to seven year basis since 1981. The microdata products are released approximately 12 months after enumeration is completed.


The microdata generally contains data items at finer levels of detail than what is otherwise published in other formats, for example, in the publication Disability, Ageing and Carers, Australia: Summary of Findings, 2015 (cat. no. 4430.0). For more information on the level of detail provided, see the associated data item listings.

Steps are taken to confidentialise the data made available on the microdata files in a way that maximises the usefulness of the content while maintaining the confidentiality of respondents selected in the survey. As a result, it may not be possible to exactly reconcile all the statistics produced from the microdata with other published statistics. Further information about the steps taken to confidentialise the SDAC microdata is available through the following links:

Using the CURF
Using the TableBuilder
Using the DataLab


Results from the four previous household surveys on this topic were published in:
Data from the first three disability surveys (1981, 1988 and 1993) can be obtained by contacting the National Information and Referral Service on 1300 135 070.

Much of the content of the eight disability surveys conducted by the ABS in 1981, 1988, 1993, 1998, 2003, 2009, 2012 and 2015 is comparable. There are differences, however, as later surveys have attempted to obtain better coverage of disability, primary carers and specific tasks and activities that were previously considered too sensitive for a population survey. For the 2003 survey, the inclusion of questions relating to unmet need for, and receipt of, assistance with cognition or emotion provided a better perspective on assistance needs and requirements for both physical and psychological needs. Further enhancements to measuring unmet need were made in the 2009 survey. The 2012 survey included additional content to measure concepts such as barriers and costs to health care, feelings of safety at and away from home, and satisfaction with the quality and range of health services available. Additional content to measure accessibility to selected locations and facilities, discrimination, National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) participation and prevalence of dementia were included in the 2015 survey.

The Explanatory Notes section of the Disability, Ageing and Carers, Australia: Summary of Findings, 2015 (cat. no. 4430.0) publication provides detailed information on the difference between the 2012 and 2015 surveys.


The information within this product should be referred to when using the microdata. It contains information including survey methodology, file structure, using the CURF, using the TableBuilder and using the DataLab, conditions of use and the data item lists.

Further information can be found in the Disability, Ageing and Carers, Australia: Summary of Findings, 2015 (cat. no. 4430.0) publication. In particular, information to assist in interpretation of the data can be found in the Interpreting the Results section of the Explanatory Notes.


Microdata products are available to approved users. Users wishing to access microdata should familiarise themselves with information available via the Microdata Entry Page.

The 2015 SDAC can be accessed using a Basic CURF, the TableBuilder or DataLab .

Any questions regarding access to microdata can be forwarded to microdata.access@abs.gov.au or phone (02) 6252 7714.