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Disability, Ageing and Carers, Australia: Summary of Findings

Media Release

24 October 2019

Embargoed: 11:30 am (Canberra time)

Mixed outcomes for people with disability


There have been improvements in some education outcomes for people living with disability, according to a new report released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

ABS Health and Disability Statistics Program Manager Justine Boland said the 2018 Survey of Disability, Ageing and Carers showed there was an increase in the proportion of people with disability aged 15 years and over with a higher education qualification.

“The survey showed that 16.1 per cent of people with disability over the age of 15 had a bachelor degree or above in 2018, up from 14.9 per cent in 2015," Ms Boland said.

"As well, more people with disability completed year 12 in 2018 (33.4 per cent) compared to 2015 (31.4 per cent).

However as a group, Australians with disability did not see improvements across all areas and experienced lower outcomes compared to those without disability.

”For example, the labour force participation rate for people with disability aged 15 to 64 (53.4 per cent) has remained stable since 2015 in contrast with increased participation rates for people without disability (84.1 per cent).

The 2018 survey found that barriers to employment remain for many people with disability, with one-quarter (25.0 per cent) of all people with disability of working age permanently unable to work, similar to 2015.

However, despite labour force participation outcomes for those with disability remaining lower than for those without disability, the survey results did show an increase in people of working age with a profound or severe disability working full-time (11.4 per cent in 2018, up from 7.9 per cent in 2015).

The survey also found that the overall rate of disability in Australia decreased in 2018 with 17.7 per cent of the population (4.4 million people) reporting living with disability, down from 18.3 per cent in 2015 and 18.5 per cent in 2012. This was driven predominantly by a decrease in females with disability and a decrease among people with disability aged 25 to 44 and 60 to 64 years.

Further information is available in Disability, Ageing and Carers, Australia: Summary of Findings, 2018 (cat. no. 4430.0).

Media Notes:

  • The Survey of Disability, Ageing and Carers 2018 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.
  • ‘Working age’ refers to people aged 15 to 64 years.
  • When reporting ABS data, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (or ABS) must be attributed as the source.
  • For media requests and interviews, contact ABS Media on 1300 175 070 (8.30am - 5pm Mon-Fri).
  • Subscribe to our email notification service and get media releases or products sent to you on release.

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