4446.0 - Disability, Australia, 2009  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 02/05/2011   
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Four million people in Australia (18.5%) reported having a disability in 2009, according to the results of the Survey of Disability, Ageing and Carers (SDAC). For the purposes of SDAC, disability is defined as any limitation, restriction or impairment which restricts everyday activities and has lasted or is likely to last for at least six months. Examples range from loss of sight that is not corrected by glasses, to arthritis which causes difficulty dressing, to advanced dementia that requires constant help and supervision.

This is a drop of 1.5 percentage points from the disability prevalence rate reported in the 2003 SDAC. Much of this decrease in the prevalence of disability between 2003 and 2009 is due to a decline in the proportion of Australians disabled by physical health conditions, such as arthritis and heart disease (see Section 2).

In this publication summary results relating to disability from the 2009 SDAC are presented thematically as follows:

  • Disability prevalence - provides an overview of disability prevalence in Australia, including: Age; Sex; Country of Birth; Remoteness of location; and State or territory of usual residence;
  • Main disabling condition - gives a summary of disabling conditions by age groups and States and Territories and how the prevalence of these conditions has changed since the 2003 SDAC;
  • Assistance - includes data on the need and receipt of assistance for those with disabilities, including the type of activity the assistance is need and received for and the extent to which the need for assistance is met;
  • Aids - gives a summary of the type of aids people with disabilities are using and modifications people have had to make to their homes to accommodate their disabilities;
  • Labour force participation and employment restrictions - contains information on the labour force participation and employment restrictions experienced by people with disabilities;
  • Educational attainment - examines data on the highest level of school completed and the highest qualification obtained by people with disabilities;
  • Computer access - looks at data relating to the computer usage of people with disabilities. It includes information about computers and Internet access;
  • Transport - examines data about transport usage by people with disabilities. This includes their mode of transport and reason for their most recent journey in the two weeks prior to interview. It also looks at whether people with disabilities can use public transport and the difficulties they experience when trying to use it; and
  • Living arrangements and housing tenure - contains information on the type of dwelling people are living in, their living arrangements and their housing tenure.

Tables in Excel spreadsheet format are provided to assist with the information noted above. These are available with this publication on the ABS website <www.abs.gov.au>.

Information about the survey design and methodology, the quality and interpretation of results are provided in the Explanatory Notes.