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4430.0 - Disability, Ageing and Carers, Australia: Summary of Findings, 2009 Quality Declaration 
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 01/03/2011   
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MEDIA RELEASE
1 March 2011
Embargo: 11.30 am (Canberra Time)
28/2011

Disability rates in decline: state and territory data now available

The overall fall in the Australian disability rate in the six years to 2009 is reflected in the disability rates for Victoria, Queensland, Western Australia and South Australia, according to figures released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

Between 2003 to 2009, the largest reduction in the disability rate at the state level occurred in Queensland, which dropped from 22.1% to 17.9%. Victoria, Western Australia and South Australia also had significant declines during this period. Victoria dropped from 20.0% to 18.4%, WA dropped from 20.6% to 17.4% and South Australia dropped from 23.8% to 20.9%.

Since 2003, the proportion of Australians disabled because of physical health conditions such as asthma and back problems declined. The four states with significant declines in disability rates were:
  • Queensland - disability caused by physical conditions dropped from 18.3% to 14.7% including significant decreases in disability caused by arthritis (dropping from 3.2% to 2.3%), asthma (0.7% to 0.4%) and back problems (3.4% to 2.8%). Disability caused by mental and behavioural disorders also dropped, from 3.8% to 3.1%.
  • Western Australia - disability caused by physical conditions dropped from 16.8% to 14.5%, including a significant decrease in disability caused by asthma (dropping from 0.8% to 0.4%). Disability caused by mental and behavioural disorders also dropped, from 3.9% to 2.9%, including a significant drop in disability caused by psychoses and mood affective disorders (1.3% to 0.8%).
  • South Australia - disability caused by physical conditions dropped from 20.0% to 17.5%.
  • Victoria - disability caused by physical conditions dropped from 16.8% to 15.4%, including a significant decrease in disability caused by asthma (dropping from 0.9% to 0.5%).

Four million Australians (18.5%) had a disability in 2009 and over a million Australians had a profound or severe core activity limitation (5.8%). Rates of profound or severe core activity limitation were highest in Tasmania (6.8%), South Australia (6.4%) and Victoria (6.2%), and lowest in the Northern Territory (4.0%) and the Australian Capital Territory (4.5%) reflecting the age structure of these regions.

Find out more in (Disability, Ageing and Carers, Australia: Summary of Findings, 2009 (cat. no. 4430.0)), available at www.abs.gov.au.

Media notes:
A profound core activity limitation is where the person is unable to do or always needs help with communication, mobility or self-care tasks. A severe core activity limitation is where the person sometimes needs help with communication, mobility or self-care tasks.

When reporting ABS data you must attribute the Australian Bureau of Statistics (or the ABS) as the source.


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