4430.0 - Disability, Ageing and Carers, Australia: Summary of Findings, 2009 Quality Declaration 
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 16/12/2010   
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16 December 2010
Embargoed: 11.30 am (Canberra time)

Percentage of Australians disabled due to physical health conditions decreased

Four million Australians (18.5%) had a disability in 2009, according to findings from the 2009 Survey of Disability, Ageing and Carers released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

Since 2003, the prevalence of disability in Australia has dropped by 1.5 percentage points. The proportion of Australians disabled because of physical health conditions such as asthma and back problems declined. In 2003, 6.8% of Australians were disabled because of musculoskeletal disorders like arthritis and back problems, while only 6.5% reported such a disability in 2009. Asthma-related disability also declined, from 0.8% in 2003 to 0.5% in 2009. In particular, the proportion of children (aged 0 to 17 years) disabled by asthma almost halved since 2003, from 0.9% to 0.5%.

Older people were more likely to have a disability, affecting almost nine out of ten (88%) of those aged 90 years and over, compared to only 3.4% of those aged four years and under. Males and females were similarly affected by disability.

The percentage of Australians involved in caring for a person with a disability or an older person also declined since 2003, in line with the decrease in disability prevalence. In 2009, 12% of people (living in households) were carers who provided assistance to someone requiring help because of disability or old age; down from 13% in 2003.

Just under one third of carers (29%) were primary carers; that is, they provided the majority of the informal help needed by a person with a disability or an older person. In 2009, just over two thirds of primary carers were women (68%).

Further details are in Disability, Ageing and Carers, Australia: Summary of Findings, 2009 (cat. no. 4430.0).

Media note: When reporting ABS data you must attribute the Australian Bureau of Statistics (or the ABS) as the source.