PEOPLE WITH A DISABILITY
People with a disability generally experience lower levels of employment than other Australians. This can affect their self-esteem, their level of engagement with the wider community and can have a financial impact on individuals and their families.
In 2003, there were 4 million Australians with a disability, accounting for 20% of the total population. The rate of disability within the population was similar for men and women.
Among Australians aged 15-64 years in 2003, those with a disability had a lower labour force participation rate (53%), and a higher unemployment rate (8.6%) than other Australians of the same age (81% and 5.0%, respectively). Women with a disability were less likely to participate in the labour force (47%) than men (59%).
Overall, the participation rate of people with a disability remained steady from 1998 to 2003. However, there was a fall in the participation of people with a severe or profound core activity limitation, and an increase in the participation rate for others with a disability (see the glossary for the definition of severe or profound core activity limitation).
Some people with disabilities experience employment restrictions such as being unable to work, being restricted in the types or hours of work they can do, or needing special assistance in the workplace. People with disabilities who had an employment restriction were far less likely to participate in the labour force (45%) than those without an employment restriction (72%). In 2003, of the 1.5 million people who had a disability and an employment restriction, 39% reported being permanently unable to work.
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