Currently 18.5% of the population has a disability while the disability rate for Australians aged 15-64 years, those of ‘prime working age’, is 15%. The likelihood of living with disability increases with age. In 2009, the disability rate among 15-24 year olds was 6.6% and the rate was higher for successively older age groups, with 18% of 45-54 year olds, and 31% of 55-64 year olds living with disability in 2009. (ABS 2009).
Types of Disabilities:
3.4 million (15%) have a physical disability - including respiratory disorders (e.g., asthma), neurological disorders (e.g., MS, cerebal palsy or epilepsy), musculoskeletal disorders (e.g., arthiritis or spinal injuries), immunological disorders (e.g.,HIV/AIDS) diabetes, kidney disease or cancer.
Over 700,000 Australians have an intellectual or developmental disability.
Around 300,000 Australians have substantial vision impairment, with around 20,000 being totally blind.
- ABS statistics show that overall incidence of blindness and vision impairment for Australians growing from the current number of 292,700 to 421,600 people in the next 15 years.
Deafness has been defined as the second biggest health issue facing Australia today, with an estimated 1 in 6 Australians affected by hearing loss. There are approximately 30,000 deaf Auslan users with total hearing loss.
- 90% of people born with hearing impairment are born into hearing families.
- By 2050, it's projected to be one in every four Australians who will have hearing loss.
More than 90,000 people have a mental health disorder.
- Mental health problems and mental illness are among the greatest causes of disability, diminished quality of life, and reduced productivity. People affected by mental health problems often have high levels of morbidity and mortality, experiencing poorer general health and higher rates of death from a range of causes, including suicide.
Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2009, Survey of Disability, Ageing and Carers (SDAC).
Deafness & Hearing Impairment – CATS, http://www.adcet.edu.au/Cats/Specific_Impairments/Deafness_and_Hearing_Impairment.chpx
Deafness & Mental Health, Queensland Government, Queensland Health, 2001.
Access Economics: Listen Hear! The economic impact and cost of hearing loss in Australia, February 2006