2008.0 - Census of Population and Housing: Nature and Content, Australia, 2016  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 20/08/2015   
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This topic identifies people who, because of a disability, long term health condition or the effects of old age, report a need for assistance in their daily lives with at least one of the core activities of self care, mobility or communication. Data on people who need assistance due to a severe or profound disability is required for developing federal and state government policies and community-based programs, and for program and service delivery funding allocation.


Questions relating to disabilities of respondents were included in the 1911, 1921 and 1933 Censuses. Respondents were asked to indicate whether they were deaf, dumb or blind. A more general question on the effect of disabilities was asked in 1976. However, the quality of data obtained from this question was poor and no results were released.

The ABS established a Census Consultative Group on Disability in 1995 to seek user input and to identify user requirements for these data, research international practices and develop and test disability questions which might provide acceptable and accurate data. Disability questions were not included in the 1996 and 2001 Censuses as the questions developed proved unsuitable for a self-enumerated form.

An Advisory Group on Disability was again established in 2003 to develop a suitable question for the 2006 Census and review the concepts these questions were attempting to measure. The Advisory Group agreed that for the 2006 Census the questions on disability should be based around the concept of 'profound or severe core activity limitation' using criteria similar to those applied in the ABS Survey of Disability, Ageing and Carers. Testing of the new questions indicated that the data would be of an acceptable quality for use as an indicator of the target population. These changes were retained for subsequent Censuses.


While this topic is based on the criteria used in the ABS Survey of Disability, Ageing and Carers, the population measured is different as a result of the collapsed question format and different collection methodology. On this basis, data for this topic should be taken as an indication of the characteristics of people who report a need for assistance, due to a disability, long-term health condition or old age, not as the total population prevalence of people with a 'profound or severe core activity limitation' as represented in the survey data.


The following questions are from the paper 2016 Census Household Form.

Image: questions 20, 21, 22 and 23 from the paper 2016 Census Household Form