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Health: Census

Information on long-term health conditions

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Key statistics

The 2021 Census insights include:

  • Over 8 million people reported having a long-term health condition.
  • 4,791,516 people had one of the selected long-term health conditions.
  • 1,490,344 people had two of the selected long-term health conditions.
  • 772,142 people had three or more of the selected long-term health conditions.

(a) Count of people who reported that they have been told by a doctor or nurse that they have one or more of the following selected long-term health conditions: arthritis, asthma, cancer (including remission), dementia (including Alzheimer's), diabetes (excluding gestational diabetes), heart disease (including heart attack or angina), kidney disease, lung condition (including Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease or emphysema), mental health condition (including depression or anxiety) and stroke. This count excludes 'Any other long-term health condition(s)'.

(b) Based on place of usual residence. Excludes overseas visitors.

Access Census data

Health data summary

Tables in this download:

  1. Type of long-term health condition by age by sex
  2. Count of selected long-term health conditions by age by sex
  3. Type of long-term health condition by state and territory
  4. Type of long-term health condition by country of birth of person
  5. Type of long-term health condition by household composition
  6. Type of long-term health condition by total personal income (weekly) by sex
  7. Type of long-term health condition by core activity need for assistance by sex

Health data summary


Articles providing additional information related to this topic include:

Census data tools

Search Census data provides a simple way to understand an area at a glance.

  • QuickStats provides a summary of an area including demographics and tables on key characteristics of the people living in the area, their families and their dwellings.
  • Community Profiles provide a comprehensive statistical picture of an area in an Excel spreadsheet, delivering data relating to people, families, and dwellings. 

Data Explorer is an interactive web browser where you can view, query and download data.

DataPacks contain comprehensive data about people, families and dwellings for all Census geographies ranging from Australia down to Statistical Area Level 1. 

Other ABS surveys

Explore other ABS data on health including:

  • The National Health Survey provides detailed data about the health status of the population. This includes long-term health conditions and health risk factors such as smoking, Body Mass Index, diet, exercise and alcohol consumption.
  • The National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Survey (NATSIHS) provides information on a range of health-related issues. This includes long-term health conditions, disability, lifestyle factors, physical health and use of health services. It enables the monitoring of trends in the health of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population over time.
  • The National Study of Mental Health and Wellbeing (NSMHW) is a component of the Intergenerational Health and Mental Health Study (IHMHS). It aims to help understand the mental health of Australians, including their use of services and their social and economic circumstances.

Key questions in 2021 Census

This data is informed by responses to the following questions:

  • Has the person been told by a doctor or nurse that they have any of these long-term health conditions?

More information: Census of Population and Housing: Census dictionary - Health

How Census data is used

Learn how Census data helps community groups, businesses and governments make important decisions.

Cancer Council ACT uses Census data to tailor its SunSmart programs

Striving to achieve its vision of a cancer-free future, Cancer Council ACT uses Census data to target the right demographic groups with education and prevention initiatives.

Cancer Council ACT provides a variety of services for people in the region affected by cancer. This includes advocacy, local cancer research funding, access to its information and support phone line, and prevention programs like SunSmart.

The SunSmart program uses age, education and ancestry data from the Census to target settings where it can have the most impact on reducing future skin cancer rates in Canberra. This includes places like childcare centres, schools and workplaces.

Cancer Council ACT Chief Executive Officer Sandra Turner said skin cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in Australia. At least two in three people are diagnosed before the age of 75.

“While anyone can develop a skin cancer, including a deadly melanoma, and everyone needs sun protection, the risk appears to be significantly higher among certain demographic groups,” Ms Turner said.

“Census age and ancestry data offers us a better understanding of the age breakdown and ancestry of the Canberra population so we can tailor our SunSmart Program.

“2016 Census data tells us there are more than 90,000 Canberrans aged 55 plus. We know many have had years of sun exposure, making them very susceptible to UV-related skin damage and skin cancer, including melanoma.

“Early detection is so important and skin cancer is the most preventable type of cancer. 

“We need to reach a large cohort of Canberrans to share a very simple but important early cancer detection public health message.”

Similarly, Ms Turner said the SunSmart Early Childhood and School Programs are critical components in early intervention efforts to reduce future skin cancer rates in the ACT.

“According to the 2016 Census, roughly one in five Canberrans are aged under 14 years, and there were approximately 38,500 children attending a pre-school or primary school every day in the ACT.

“Preventing skin cancer starts early in life. By rolling out our early intervention and detection awareness to early childhood services and primary schools, 38,500 young Canberrans are being SunSmart at least five days a week from about the age of one to 12 years. This significantly reduces the risk of skin cancer.

“The Census gives us a snapshot every five years to help plan future programs, assess needs, and ensure we work with the right people, in the right places, at the right time,” she said.