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2 May, 2016

Report: Half of older Australians living with disability

Canberra, Australian Bureau of Statistics Media Release, 29 April 2016 – Just over half (50.7 per cent) of Australians aged 65 and over reported living with disability in 2015, compared to one in 8 (12.5 per cent) aged under 65, according to new data published today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

First results from the 2015 Survey of Disability, Ageing and Carers show that almost 4.3 million (18.3 per cent) Australians reported having disability. This is an increase of nearly 56,000 people since the survey was last conducted in 2012.

“While in line with expectations due to population growth, this increase in the number of Australians living with disability has important implications for service provision,” said Justine Boland, ABS Program Manager of Health and Disability Statistics.

These first results also paint a picture of the labour force status of people with disability – of the 15.4 million Australians of working age, there were more than 2.1 million with disability.

The rate of participation in the labour force for persons with disability (53.4 per cent) has remained steady since 2012 (52.8 per cent). This is considerably lower than those without disability (83.2 per cent in 2015 and 82.5 per cent in 2012).

“Lower proportions of persons with disability were employed full-time (27.0 per cent) compared with those without disability (53.8 per cent),” said Ms Boland.

“Australians with disability were more likely to be unemployed (10.0 per cent compared with 5.3 per cent). This trend has remained stable since 2012, where the rates were 9.4 per cent compared with 4.9 per cent, respectively.”

Ms Boland said the ABS survey collected information on disability and discrimination for the first time.

“One in five (20.5 per cent) young people with disability (aged 15 to 24 years) reported experiencing discrimination in the previous 12 months because of their disability,” Ms Boland said.

Results released today from the Survey of Disability, Ageing and Carers 2015 are a snapshot of the more comprehensive results that will be published in the latter half of 2016.

Further information is available in Disability, Ageing and Carers, Australia: First Results (cat. no. 4430.0.10.001).

Survey notes

  • The Survey of Disability, Ageing and Carers 2015 defines disability as any limitation, restriction or impairment which restricts everyday activities and has lasted, or is likely to last, for at least six months.
  • Labour force figures are for persons aged between 15 and 64 living in households.