What is Disability?
A disability is any condition that restricts a person's mental, sensory or mobility functions. It may 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.
Over 4 million people in Australia have some form of disability. That's 1 in 5 people.
19% of men, and 18% of women have disability.
43% of people over 55 years have one or more disabilities.
2.2 million Australians of working age (15 – 64 years) have disability.
People with disability are twice as likely to be in the bottom 20% of gross household incomes.
Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics, Survey of Disability, Ageing and Carers 2012.
Types of Disability
1 in 6 Australians are affected by hearing loss. There are approximately 30,000 Deaf Auslan users with total hearing loss .
Vision Australia estimates there are currently
357,000 people in Australia who are blind or have low vision .
An estimated 10% of the population has dyslexia. That’s more than two million Australians (Source: Dyslexia Australia).
45% of the population will experience a mental health disorder during their lifetime.
Employment of People with Disability
People aged between 15 and 64 years with disability have both lower participation (53%) and higher unemployment rates (9.4%) than people without disability (83% and 4.9% respectively).
Australia’s employment rate for people with disability (47.75% in 2012) is on par with developed countries like Canada (49% in 2011), United Kingdom (48.9% in 2012), Luxembourg (48% in 2011), New Zealand (45% in 2013), Denmark (43.90% in 2013), Norway (43% in 2013).
The countries reporting the highest employment rates of people with disability are Switzerland (69% in 2011), Austria (67% in 2011), Sweden (62% in 2008), France (53% in 2012), Germany (52% in 2009).
Graduates with disability take longer to gain fulltime employment than other graduates .
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.
39% of complaints lodged with Australian Human Rights Commission are against businesses and related to disability (Source: Australian Human Rights Commission).
Source: except where stated otherwise, data is taken from Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2012, Survey of Disability, Ageing and Carers (SDAC).
 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.
 Vision Australia projects that the number of Australians who are blind or have low vision will grow to 564,000 by 2030. (Refractive error not included).
 Grad Stats Dec 2011, Graduate Careers Australia