4443.1 - Disability, New South Wales, 2001  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 25/09/2001   
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September 25, 2001
Embargoed: 11:30 AM (AEST)
One in five people in NSW has a disability

Almost one in five people in NSW had a disability in 1998, according to a report released jointly by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) and the NSW Department of Ageing, Disability and Home Care today. This translates into 1.2 million people or 19 per cent of the NSW population living with a disability. The rate of disability increased with age from 4 per cent of people aged 0-4 years to 83 per cent of people aged 85 years and over.

With support and assistance most people with a disability are able to stay in their own home and keep their independence. Only 6 per cent (69,300) lived in cared accommodation, most of whom (87 per cent) were aged 65 years and over.

The regions with the highest rates of disability (25 per cent) were the South Eastern Statistical Division (SD) (including Goulburn, Lower South Coast and Snowy) and Central West SD (extending from Bathurst-Orange to the Central Western Plains). This compares with 14 per cent in the Northern SD (including the non-coastal parts of northern NSW around Tenterfield, Armidale, Tamworth and Narrabri). The rate for Sydney SD was 18 per cent. Within Sydney the highest rates were 23 per cent in Outer Western Sydney Statistical Subdivision (SSD), Inner Western Sydney SSD and Canterbury-Bankstown SSD. The lowest rate was 11 per cent in the Eastern Suburbs SSD.

Family and friends were the main source of care for people with disabilities. Approximately 1 in 8 people (798,300) were carers, more than half were women (57 per cent), and approximately 3 in 10 had a disability themselves.

According to the survey, 1 in 40 (162,200) people were primary carers who gave the most help with personal activities to people with a disability. Half of them provided assistance for 20 hours or more per week. Nearly three quarters (73 per cent) of primary carers were women. Just over half of all primary carers who lived with the person they helped were partners (52 per cent), and a quarter (24 per cent) were parents. Primary carers who lived elsewhere were usually sons and daughters (64 per cent).

People of working age (15-64 years) with a disability were less likely to be in the labour force (50 per cent) than people without a disability (80 per cent). Almost 28 per cent of working age people with a disability were permanently unable to work.

Reflecting the older age structure of people with a disability more than half (58 per cent) depended on a government pension or benefit as their main source of income. The median gross weekly income of people with a disability ($190) was less than half that of people without a disability ($390).

The report and also includes information about education, activities and lifestyle, and transport and mobility.

Further details can be found in Disability, New South Wales, 2001 (cat. no. 4443.1). If you wish to purchase a copy of this publication contact the ABS Bookshop in your capital city.