Disability Statistics in Australia [updated: 2023]

Disability can affect directly and indirectly many people. It can impact a person’s daily life in different forms and ways at different life stages. To know the severity of the damage, we need to check some statistical data on how disability plays a substantial role in our Aussie society.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, by 2023, over 5 million Aussies will be living with a disability. Disability prevalence is comparatively higher among older individuals. Almost half of them aged 85 and over reported a disability. The number will be even higher in the coming years when the population ages.

What Are The Different Types Of Disability?

  • Physical Disabilities: The most common type of disability in Australia is a physical disability. 40% of all disabled persons have physical issues, which is 40% of the total. Arthritis, back problems, and chronic pain are the leading causes of physical disabilities.
  • Intellectual disabilities: Around 10% of the total are suffering from intellectual disabilities, which include Down syndrome and autism.
  • Sensory disabilities: 8% of all types of disabilities have sensory disabilities, which include blindness, low vision, deafness, and hard of hearing.
  • Mental health conditions, such as depression and anxiety, account for around 20% of all reported disabilities.
  • Neurological conditions such as multiple sclerosis and acquired brain injury comprise the remaining percentage of all types of disabilities.

One can have more than one disability. So the total percentage can go higher or lower than 100%. The stats may also vary on how we define and measure disability.

Statistical Analysis

Here are some of the statistical data collected from the AND (Australian Network on Disabilities) and the  AIHW (Australian Institute of Health and Welfare):


  • Approximately half of all individuals with disabilities, or 44.5%, are aged 65 and over, which equates to 1.9 million people.
  • About 2.1 million Australians between 15 to 64 who are of working age live with a disability.
  • 8.9 million households or 35.9% of the total population, have someone living with disability in the house.

Types of Disability

  • According to the statistics, 76.8% of disabled persons have physical disabilities, which is three-fourths of the total. The most prevalent physical disorder is musculoskeletal disorder (29.6%), which includes conditions such as arthritis and related disorders (12.7%) and back problems (12.6%).
  • According to a study by Vision Australia, there are currently 357,000 individuals in Australia who are blind or have low vision. It is anticipated that the number will reach 564,000 by 2030. (Excluding refractive error).
  • About 45% of the population between 16-85 experience a mental health condition at some point in their life.

Disability in Employment Sector

  • According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, the employment rate is 48% among disabled people. In contrast, the employment rate is 80% for people without disabilities.
  • Almost one in five (18.9%) people with a disability aged 15-24 experienced discrimination in their workplace. In almost half of those instances, the discrimination was from an employer.

Disability in Customer Service

  • Individuals with disabilities are often mistreated. The percentage is 36% who experience discrimination compared to those without disabilities.
  • 1 in 3 individuals with disabilities reports dissatisfaction with customer service where they complain that their need is unmet.

Disability affects a big chunk of the population in Australia. The Australian Bureau of Statistics reported that by 2023, over 5 million Australians would live with a disability. As the population ages, the number will increase exponentially, with a higher prevalence of disability among older Aussies. These statistics highlight the importance of growing awareness and ensuring adequate support for individuals living with disabilities.


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