4430.0 - Disability, Ageing and Carers, Australia: Summary of Findings, 2003  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 15/09/2004   
   Page tools: Print Print Page Print all pages in this productPrint All

Disability, Ageing and Carers: Final Survey Results from ABS

One in five people (20%) in Australia had a disability in 2003, unchanged from five years ago (after age standardising), according to final results released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

The disability rate steadily increased with age from 4% of 0-4 years olds to 41% of 65-69 years old to 92% of people 90 years and older.

Just over half (51%) of people aged 60 years and over had a disability. Most of these people (59%) did not need any assistance to manage health conditions or cope with everyday activities. For those who did, the most commonly reported needs were help with property maintenance, health care and transport.

There were 2.6 million carers who provided some assistance to others who need help because of disability or age. Just over half (54%) of all carers were women. Women were also more likely to be primary carers (71%), that is people who provided the majority of informal help to a person with a disability.

The proportion of people who needed help with self care, mobility and/or communication activities (i.e. profound or severe core-activity limitation) was 6.3% which was much the same as in 1998 (after age standardising).

The rate of profound or severe disability increased with age from 3% of 0-4 year olds to 10% of 65-69 year olds to 74% of people 90 years and over.

Other key findings from the 2003 Survey of Disability, Ageing and Carers include:
  • The overall disability rates for males (19.8%) and females (20.1%) were almost identical.
  • People with disability had a lower labour force participation rate (53%) than those without a disability (81%) and those with a profound or severe core-activity limitation had an even lower participation rate (15%).
  • Of people who reported needing assistance due to disability, 60% reported that their needs were fully met, 35% reported their needs partly met and 5% not met at all.
  • One in 10 people in Australia used equipment or an aid to help them cope with their condition or manage their everyday life.
  • Partners, sons and daughters were the most common providers of help to older people.
  • Primary carers had a lower labour force participation rate (39%) than people who were not carers (68%).

Further details are in Disability, Ageing and Carers: Summary of Findings, Australia, 2003
(cat. no. 4430.0).