Stats and Facts
Over 4 million Australians have a disability. That's 1 in 5 people.
1 in 3 people either has disability or is likely to be close to someone who has disability.
2.1 million Australians of working age (15 – 64 years) have a disability.
Types of Disability
3.4 million (15%) Australians have a physical disability.
1 in 6 Australians are affected by hearing loss. There are approximately 30,000 Deaf Auslan users with total hearing loss.
Around 300,000 Australians have a substantial vision impairment (i.e. not correctable by glasses), with around 20,000 being totally blind.
Over 700,000 Australians have an intellectual impairment.
10% of the population has dyslexia. That’s more than two million Australians.
More than 90,000 people have a mental health disorder.
Almost 90 per cent of disabilities are not visible.
Definition of Disability
A disability is any condition that restricts a person's mental, sensory or mobility functions. It could be caused by accident, trauma, genetics or disease. A disability may be temporary or permanent, total or partial, lifelong or acquired, visible or invisible. See our page What is Disability?
Employment of People with Disability
In 2009, 54.3% of people with a disability participated in the labour force compared to 83% of people without a disability.
Australia ranks 21out of 29 OECD countries for labour force participation of people with disability.
Graduates with disability take longer to gain full-time work than other graduates.
People with disability have an employment rate of 39.8%, compared to 79.4% for people without a disability.
Two-thirds of people with disability earn less than $320 per week, compared with one-third of the general population.
15% of Australians of working age (15-64 years) have a disability.
Other disability statistics
The likelihood of living with disability increases with age.
31% of 55-64 year olds are living with disability. Almost nine in ten people aged 90 and over (88%) have a disability.
78% of people with disability acquire their disability aged 16 years or older.
48% of complaints lodged with Australian Human Rights Commission are against businesses and related to disability
Australia ranks 27 out of 27 OECD countries for people with disability living in or near poverty (45% compared to 22% average).
Source: except where stated otherwise, data is taken from Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2009, Survey of Disability, Ageing and Carers (SDAC).
 Around 3.4 million Australians (15%) have a physical disability – such as respiratory disorders (eg asthma), neurological disorders (eg MS, cerebral palsy or epilepsy), musculoskeletal disorders (eg arthritis or spinal injuries, immunological disorders (eg HIV/AIDS), diabetes, kidney disease or cancer.
 Projections for 2050 indicate that one in every four Australians will have hearing loss. 90% of people born with hearing impairment are born into hearing families.
 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.
 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.
 Sickness, disability and work: Keeping on track in the economic downturn – Background paper. OECD. (2009).
[ Grad Stats Dec 2011, Graduate Careers Australia.
 Disability in Australia, Price Waterhouse Coopers, p.42.
 Ibid, p.16.
 Sickness, Disability and Work: Breaking the Barriers - A Synthesis of Findings across OECD Countries. OECD. (2010).