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Kidney disease

Contains key statistics and information about kidney disease prevalence in Australia

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Key statistics

  • 237,800 Australians had kidney disease.
  • Males and females had similar rates of kidney disease (both 1%), with the prevalence increasing with age.
  • 20,851 deaths had kidney disease as being a contributory factor.

Kidney disease is a chronic disease in which a person's kidney function is reduced or damaged. This affects the kidney's ability to filter blood and therefore control the body's water and other hormone levels, leading to increased fluid and waste within the body. The increase in these fluids can cause high blood pressure, anaemia and uremia. Kidney disease is also often associated with other chronic diseases such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease. If kidney disease is detected early enough, the progress of the disease can be slowed and sometimes prevented[1]. In 2017, there were 20,851 deaths where kidney diseases were certified as being a contributory factor to mortality, accounting for 13.0% of all deaths[2].


Chronic kidney disease has a number of stages, ranging in severity from Stage 1 to Stage 5, with the early stages often showing no symptoms. An individual's kidney function can improve or regress during the early stages of the disease but once Stages 4 and 5 are reached, kidney function is severely reduced and unlikely to improve. A person with end stage kidney disease is generally reliant on kidney replacement therapy in the form of dialysis or kidney transplant[3]. The National Health Survey does not collect information regarding the different Stages of chronic kidney disease.

Data on kidney disease presented here refers to persons who reported having been told by a doctor or nurse that they had kidney disease and that it was current and long-term; that is, their kidney disease was current at the time of interview and had lasted, or was expected to last, 6 months or more.

Who had kidney disease in 2017-18?

In 2017-18, 1.0% of Australians (237,800 people) had kidney disease. The prevalence of kidney disease has remained relatively stable since 2011-12 (0.8% of the population or 181,900 people). 

Males and females had similar rates of kidney disease (both 1.0%), with the prevalence increasing with age. In 2017-18, the proportion of people with kidney disease was less than 1% up to age 54, then increases to 2.4% for people aged 65-74 years and 4.6% of people aged 75 years and over.


2011-12 biomedical information

In 2011-12, biomedical information was collected for the first time by ABS, including tests measuring aspects of kidney function. Results were used to determine indicators of chronic kidney disease and its Stages. Around 1.7 million people (10.0%) aged 18 years and over had indicators of chronic kidney disease based on these tests. 

Of these people, only 6.1% had reported having kidney disease. This suggests that a large proportion of people with indicators of chronic kidney disease were unaware that they had the condition. However, it is possible that not all those people whose tests provided an indication of chronic kidney disease had the condition, as tests at a single point in time cannot provide a diagnosis for kidney disease and could indicate the presence of an acute kidney condition or infection instead. Kidney disease can only be confirmed if indicators are persistent for at least three months[4].

For more information see Australian Health Survey: Biomedical Results for Chronic Diseases, 2011-12 (cat. no. 4364.0.55.005).

Data downloads

Table 1: Summary health characteristics, 2001 to 2017–18 - Australia

Table 2: Summary health characteristics, 2017–18 - 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 by 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

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  1. Better Health Channel, Kidney disease, 2018; last accessed 19/10/2018
  2. Australian Bureau of Statistics, Causes of Death, Australia, 2017's%20leading%20causes%20of%20death,%202017~2; last accessed 07/11/2018
  3. Kidney Health Australia, Kidney Disease; last accessed 01/11/2018
  4. Kidney Health Australia, Defining chronic kidney disease, 2018; last accessed 04/12/2018

Previous catalogue number

This release previously used catalogue number 4364.0.55.001.