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4429.0 - Profiles of Disability, Australia, 2009  
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 27/06/2012  First Issue
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27 June 2012
Embargoed: 11.30 am (Canberra time)

Four million Australians have a disability

In 2009, four million people in Australia reported having a disability (18.5%), according to new profiles released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

The main conditions associated with disability were back problems (15.6%), arthritis (14.8%), hearing loss (6%), leg damage from injury/accident (3%), depression (3%) and asthma (3%). Most (87%) people with disability had specific restrictions, meaning they had limitations in one or more of the everyday core activity areas of self-care, mobility and communication or that they had a schooling or employment restriction. The remainder (13%) had disability that was non-restricting.

Other key findings:
Most young people (92% or 260,000) with disability aged 15-34 years used internet in last 12 months.
Almost half (46% or 132,000) of young people with disability aged 15-34 years contacted family and friends via the internet at least once a day.
The prevalence of disability has decreased since 2003 from 20% to 18.5%.
An estimated 23,700 people in Australia, or around 1 in every 100,000 people, have Multiple Sclerosis.

Designed to further inform key policy issues surrounding disability in Australia, these are the first of many planned for future release across the domains of:
economic security
population groups and
conditions and impairments.

Further information is available in Profiles of Disability, 2012 ( 4429.0), together with Disability, Australia, 2009 (cat. no. 4446.0) and Disability, Ageing and Carers: Summary of Findings, Australia, 2009 (cat. no. 4430.0) which are available for free download from

Media Note:
  • The Survey of Disability, Ageing and Carers 2009 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.
  • When reporting on ABS data you must attribute the Australian Bureau of Statistics (or the ABS) as the source.

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