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21st anniversary of International Day of People with Disability
– Have we made progress?
To mark International Day of People with a Disability, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) is highlighting the critical data it collects and the importance of this information for policy makers, people with a disability and the community in general.
So what has changed in the last 21 years for people with a disability?
Labour force participation rates for people with disability haven't improved. In 2012, there were 53 per cent of people with disability participating in the labour force compared with 83 per cent of people without disability. In 1993, 55 per cent of people with disability were participating in the labour force compared to 77 per cent of people without disability.
Head of Health and Disability Branch at the ABS, Michelle Marquardt, said “In the last 20 years, there has been very little change in labour force participation by people with disability, and there remains a large gap compared with people without disability.
“We have seen an increase in participation in social activities over the last 20 years, with people with disability more likely to be visiting family and friends, dining out or playing sport.
“ABS has been leading the world by conducting specialist disability surveys for more than 30 years. Ground-breaking for its time, the Survey of Handicapped Persons conducted in 1981 reported 13.2 per cent of people reporting a disability.
“Introducing significant enhancements has resulted in more people being identified with disability, with 18.5 per cent reported in the 2012 Survey of Disability, Ageing and Carers (SDAC).
“The most recent disability rate has remained steady, despite the ageing of the population. This is due to reductions in prevalence of disability in middle-aged people.
“Nearly one in five Australians reported a disability, with the highest prevalence rates in Tasmania and South Australia reflecting their older populations. Northern Territory, Australian Capital Territory and Western Australia had the lowest prevalence of disability,” said Ms Marquardt.
Of those people with disability living at home, around 60 per cent needed assistance with an everyday activity. “The SDAC results indicate that there are many challenges for Australia in improving the lives of people with disability, particularly given community expectations about enhancing services and support,” said Ms Marquardt.
“There are significant gaps in every state and territory for labour force participation, educational attainment and household income, if you compare the circumstances of people with disability, with people without disability.
“More than 1.1 million people with disability aged 5 years or more indicate that they do not leave home as often as they would like, with nearly half stating the main reason was their own disability or condition,” said Michelle Marquardt.
More information is available in Disability, Ageing and Carers, Australia: Summary of Findings, 2012 (cat. no. 4430.0), and Disability, Ageing and Carers, Australia: Additional Data Cubes (cat. no. 4430.0.55.009).
Media Note: When reporting ABS data you must attribute the Australian Bureau of Statistics (or the ABS) as the source.
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