4450.0 - Supplementary Disability Survey, 2016 Quality Declaration 
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 30/06/2016  First Issue
   Page tools: Print Print Page Print all pages in this productPrint All



The age of a person on their last birthday.

Any Responsible Adult (ARA)

Refers to the adult who is selected to be interviewed for a survey. This adult may have also responded on behalf of others in the household. In the Supplementary Disability Survey (SDS), the ARA who was interviewed for the Survey of Disability, Ageing and Carers (SDAC) was also interviewed for the SDS.

Basic activity functioning

Refers to the following six functional activities or domains measured in the SDS: seeing, hearing, walking, cognition, self-care and communication. These functional areas represent those found by the Washington Group to most often limit independent participation in society.


Refers to accommodation within establishments, such as hospitals, nursing homes, aged care hostels, cared components of retirement villages, and other 'homes', such as group homes for people with disability. The accommodation must include all meals for its occupants and provide 24-hour access to assistance for personal and/or medical needs. To be included in this survey a person must be a resident, or expect to be a resident, of the cared-accommodation establishment for three months or more.

Difficulty (with an activity or task)

The difficulty a respondent experiences in undertaking or completing an activity or task was up to their own interpretation. A person might consider themselves to have difficulty with an activity or task if it takes them longer to complete than other people of the same age, causes pain or discomfort, or is harder for them to do because of their disability or old age.


In the context of health experience, the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF) defines disability as an umbrella term for impairments, activity limitations and participation restrictions. It denotes the negative aspects of the interaction between an individual (with a health condition) and that individual's contextual factors (environment and personal factors).

In the SDS, disability is determined by using the questions in the Washington Group Short Set on Functioning (or WG Short Set). The focus is on measuring people’s functioning in six core domains, in contrast to approaches that are based on impairments or bodily structures.

Using the WG Short Set, disability is determined by whether people have health related difficulties or limitations in the following six domains: seeing, hearing, walking, cognition, self-care and communication. People with disability include those who experience difficulty, even if the difficulties are alleviated by the use of assistive devices or living in a supportive environment for example. They are people who are at greater risk than the general population for experiencing restrictions in participation in education, employment and social and community life.


Refers to the core areas of functioning or activity. The 2016 SDS has six domains:

  • seeing
  • hearing
  • walking
  • cognition
  • self-care
  • communication.



A group of two or more related or unrelated people who usually reside in the same dwelling and who make common provision for food and other essentials for living; or a person living in a dwelling who makes provision for his or her own food and other essentials for living without combining with any other person. Thus a household may consist of:
  • one person
  • one family
  • one family and related individual(s)
  • related families with or without unrelated individual(s)
  • unrelated families with or without unrelated individual(s)
  • unrelated individuals.

Living in households

A person is included in the 'Living in households' population if they are part of a household and resided in a private dwelling, excluding health establishments.

Private dwellings

Houses, flats, home units, garages, tents and other structures used as private places of residence at the time of the survey. Includes self-care units in retirement villages.


A proxy is a person who answers the survey questions on behalf of someone who has been selected for interview. A proxy interview may be conducted:
  • when the selected person is less than 15 years of age
  • when the selected person is aged 15-17 years and parental consent to interview them personally has not been provided
  • due to the selected person's illness, injury or language difficulties.


The ABS has defined Remoteness within the Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS). Remoteness Areas (RAs) divide Australia into broad geographic regions that share common characteristics of remoteness for statistical purposes. There are six classes of RA in the Remoteness Structure: Major Cities of Australia, Inner Regional Australia, Outer Regional Australia, Remote Australia, Very Remote Australia and Migratory.

RAs are based on the Accessibility and Remoteness Index of Australia (ARIA) produced by the Australian Population and Migration Research Centre at the University of Adelaide. The Remoteness Structure is described in detail in the publication Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS): Volume 5 - Remoteness Structure, July 2011 (cat. no. 1270.0.55.005).

Washington Group

The Washington Group on Disability Statistics was established under the United Nations Statistical Commission to address the need for comparable data on disability cross nationally. Representatives from national statistical agencies work together in this City Group to promote and coordinate disability data collection tools for use in censuses and national surveys. For more information, see http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/washington_group/index.htm.

Washington Group Short Set on Functioning

A set of six questions developed by the United Nations Washington Group that can be used in censuses and sample-based surveys to measure disability prevalence rates in different countries. Consistent with the International Classification of Functioning, the WG Short Set of questions are intended to produce internationally comparable data. For more information, see http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/washington_group/index.htm.