Arthritis and osteoporosis

This is not the latest release View the latest release

Contains key statistics and information about arthritis and osteoporosis, and its prevalence in Australia

Reference period
2017-18 financial year

Key statistics

  • 3.6 million Australians had arthritis.
  • Arthritis rates increase with age, particularly for females.
  • 924,000 Australians had osteoporosis.
  • Osteoporosis was more common amongst females than males (6% compared with 2%).


Arthritis refers to a range of musculoskeletal conditions where a person's joints become inflamed, which may result in pain, stiffness, disability or deformity. These symptoms can have a significant impact on a person's everyday functioning[1].

Who had arthritis in 2017-2018?

In 2017-18, one in seven Australians (15.0% or 3.6 million people) had arthritis. The prevalence was higher in females than in males (17.9% compared with 12.1%) and has remained constant since 2004-05.

Almost two-thirds (62.0%) of people who had arthritis had osteoarthritis (deterioration of cartilage inside a joint). One in eight people (12.7%) with arthritis had rheumatoid arthritis (an autoimmune disease in which the body is attacked by bacteria or viruses), and one third (32.7%) had an unspecified form. It is possible to have more than one type of arthritis, therefore proportions add to greater than 100%.

The prevalence of arthritis increases with age, particularly for females. The proportion of females under the age of 45 with arthritis in 2017-18 was 2.7%. By age 55-64, this had increased to 39.6% and to 57.3% for 65 years and over. For males, the rate for under the age of 45 was 2.3%, this steadily increased to 28.0% for 55-64 year olds and 39.9% for 65 years and over. 


Osteoporosis is a condition where a person's bones become fragile and brittle, with an increased risk of fractures. Fractures can result in chronic pain, disability or loss of independence[2].

Who had osteoporosis in 2017-2018?

In 2017-18, 924,000 Australians (3.8%) had osteoporosis. This was similar to 2014-15 (3.5%).

Similar to arthritis, osteoporosis was more common amongst females than males (6.2% prevalence compared with 1.5%), and more common in older age groups. The increase in older age groups was more apparent and began earlier in females than in males. For females, there was an increase in the proportion who had osteoporosis starting at the 45-54 year age group, with continuous increases with each successive age group. The first increase for males, in contrast, was in the 55-64 year age group, with no further increases until 75 years and over. Females aged 75 years and over were almost three times more likely than males to have osteoporosis (29.0% compared with 10.3%).

Data downloads

Table 1: Summary health characteristics, 2001 to 2017-2018 - Australia

Table 2: Summary health characteristics, 2017-2018 - States and territories

Table 3: Long-term health conditions - Australia

Table 4: Long-term health conditions by population characteristics - Australia

Table 5: Selected current long-term conditions health risk factors and health status - Australia

Table 19: Comorbidity of selected chronic conditions - Australia

Table 20: New South Wales

Table 21: Victoria

Table 22: Queensland

Table 23: South Australia

Table 24: Western Australia

Table 25: Tasmania

Table 26: Northern Territory

Table 27: Australian Capital Territory

All data cubes


Show all

  1. Arthritis Australia, 'What is arthritis?',; last accessed 30/11/2018
  2. Osteoporosis Australia, What you need to know about Osteoporosis - 4th Edition, June 2017; last accessed 30/11/2018

Previous catalogue number

This release previously used catalogue number 4364.0.55.001.

Back to top of the page