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Disability in Australia

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare publish a range of interesting statistics, painting a picture of the extent and prevalence of disability in Australia. These statistics help to highlight the importance of many issues of disability and the emphasis we need to place on eliminating the inequalities and vulnerabilities that people living with disability face.

People with disability still live with:

  • Poverty
  • Disadvantage
  • Human rights abuses

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples are at much higher risk of these problems.

 

HOW MANY PEOPLE LIVE WITH DISABILITY IN AUSTRALIA?

1 in 5, or 18% (4.3 million people) of people in Australia live with disability. 1 in 3 (32%) of these people have severe or profound disability (about 1.4 million). 1 in 5 (22%) people with disability, their main form of disability is mental or behavioural.

ABORIGINAL AND TORRES STRAIT ISLANDER PEOPLES

Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) 2015 Survey of Disability, Ageing and Carers (SDAC) revealed that these rates were higher amongst Indigenous Australians. Among those living in private households in 2015:

  • 24% (125,000 people) were living with disability (any limitation, restriction or impairment which restricts a person’s everyday activities, and has lasted, or is likely to last, for at least 6 months)
  • 7.3% (38,100) had severe or profound disability (sometimes or always needed help with daily activities related to self-care, mobility or communication) (ABS 2017).
AREAS OF CONCERN FOR PEOPLE WITH DISABILITY

 

ABUSE AND VIOLENCE

47% of adults with disability have experienced violence after the age of 15, compared with 36% without disability.

So, almost 1 in 2 people with disability have experienced violence after the age of 15. 21% by partner, 16% sexual.

 

DISCRIMINATION

42% of complaints received by the Australian Human Rights Commission are about disability discrimination

 

HOUSING

Non-dependent people with disability are more likely (24%) to live alone than people with disability (10%)

8.1% of specialist Homelessness Services clients a disability; 34% of these severe or profound.

 

HEALTH

32% of adults with disability experience high/very high psychological distress, compared with 8% without disability.

Adults with severe or profound disability are almost 12 times more likely as adults without a disability to experience a ‘very high’ level of psychological stress.

24% of adults with disability experience very good or excellent health, compared with 65% of without disability.

 

EMPLOYMENT

48% of working-age (aged 15–64) people with disability are employed, compared with 79% without disability.

Among Indigenous Australians living in households, 33% of those aged 15–64 with disability were employed, compared with 65% without disability (ABS 2017).

 

EDUCATION

32% of people aged 20 years and over with disability have completed Year 12, compared with 62% of those without disability

Among Indigenous Australians living in households, 46% of those aged 15 and over with disability had Year 10 or below as their highest level of education (compared with 36% without disability).

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