4364.0.55.001 - National Health Survey: First Results, 2017-18  
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 12/12/2018   
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Chronic conditions are conditions that contribute to premature mortality and morbidity. Persons diagnosed with one or more types of chronic conditions often have complex health needs, have poorer quality of life and die prematurely[1]. In this publication, 'selected chronic conditions' consist of the following:
    • arthritis
    • asthma
    • back problems
    • cancer
    • chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
    • diabetes mellitus
    • heart, stroke and vascular disease
    • kidney disease
    • mental and behavioural conditions
    • osteoporosis

Estimates for 'Number of selected chronic conditions' count multiple conditions that belong to the same condition type (e.g. Mental and behavioural conditions) as the one condition. For example, a person with anxiety and depression (and no other chronic condition) is counted as having one chronic condition.


In 2017-18 just under half (47.3%) of Australians had one or more chronic conditions, an increase from 2007-08 when two-fifths (42.2%) of people had one or more chronic conditions.

Females aged 15 years and over were more likely than males to have one or more chronic conditions (56.5% compared to 50.8%), however, for children (0-14 years old) boys were more likely than girls to have one or more chronic conditions (24.2% compared to 15.9%). The prevalence of chronic conditions increased with age, with four in five (80.0%) people aged 65 years and over having one or more chronic conditions.

Graph Image for Proportion of persons with one or more chronic conditions, 2017-18

Source(s): National Health Survey: First Results, 2017-18

Around one in nine (11.5%) people had two chronic conditions in 2017-18, while 8.7% had three or more chronic conditions. One in five Australians (20.1%) reported mental health and behavioural conditions, which was the most commonly reported chronic condition in 2017-18 for both males and females. Back problems (16.4%) and Arthritis (15.0%) were the next most commonly reported chronic conditions in 2017-18.


1 Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 'Australia's Health 2018, 3.3 Chronic Conditions' <https://www.aihw.gov.au/getmedia/6bc8a4f7-c251-4ac4-9c05-140a473efd7b/aihw-aus-221-chapter-3-3.pdf.aspx>; last accessed 31/10/2018