• Print

All diabetes

An estimated 917,000 (5.4%) Australian adults aged 18 years and over had diabetes in 2011–12, based on self-reported and measured data, from the ABS 2011–12 Australian Health Survey. This includes people with type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes, and type unknown but excludes gestational diabetes.

Approximately 1% of the adult population did not report that they had diabetes, which may indicate they were unaware that they had the condition, compared with 4% who were aware of it and reported their diabetes.

In 2011–12, the prevalence of diabetes (based on measured and self-reported data):

  • was higher in men (6%) than in women (4%)
  • increased rapidly with age up to age 75, with rates among 65–74 year-olds (16%) 3 times as high as for 45–54 year-olds (5%) and almost double the rate for 55–64 year olds (9%) (Figure 1).

Figure 1: Prevalence of diabetes, by age and sex, 2011–12

Diabetes prevalence fig 1: prevalence by age & sex PNG

Note: Based on biomedical (HbA1c) and self-reported data.

Source: AIHW analysis of ABS Microdata: Australian Health Survey, Core Content—Risk Factors and Selected Health Conditions, 2011–12. Data table.

Inequalities

In 2011–12, the prevalence of diabetes (based on biomedical and self-reported data) in Australian adults ranged from 5.3% in Major cities, to 5.5% in Inner regional areas and 6.1% in Outer regional and remote areas combined (Figure 2).

Australian adults in the lowest socioeconomic group (9.4%) were over 3 times as likely to have diabetes (based on measured and self-reported data) as those in the highest socioeconomic group (2.6%) (Figure 2).

Figure 2: Diabetes prevalence, by remoteness and socioeconomic group, 2011–12

Diabetes prevalence fig 2: prevalence by remoteness & socioeconomic group PNG

Note: Based on biomedical (HbA1c) and self-reported data.

Source: AIHW analysis of ABS Microdata: Australian Health Survey, Core Content—Risk Factors and Selected Health Conditions, 2011–12. Data table.

Trends

There are currently no national measured data for monitoring trends in diabetes prevalence. The number of Australians who self-reported having diabetes more than doubled from 1.5% in 1989–90 to 4.2% in 2011–12, however the rate has remained stable since 2007–08.

Several factors may have contributed to the rise in self-reported diabetes during this period, such as: increased incidence of type 2 diabetes, increased public awareness, better detection of disease, improved survival leading to people living longer with diabetes and an ageing population.

Type 1 diabetes

There are currently no national data that capture the prevalence of type 1 diabetes at all ages, but there are estimates for children—over 6,000 children aged 0–14 had type 1 diabetes in 2013.

Note: measured data from the ABS Australian Health Survey can detect signs of diabetes, but it cannot be used to estimate the prevalence of type 1 or type 2 diabetes.

The National (insulin-treated) Diabetes Register (NDR) is the most reliable source of information on the incidence (new cases) of type 1 diabetes in Australia.

In 2014, there were 2,509 new cases of type 1 diabetes in Australia, equating to 11 cases per 100,000 population.

The incidence rate for type 1 diabetes:

  • is higher in males than females (13 compared with 9 per 100,000 population).
  • peaked at age 10–14 years (33 per 100,000 population). Almost 2 in 3 (63%) new cases of type 1 diabetes were among children and young people under 25 years.

Figure 3: Incidence (new cases) of type 1 diabetes, by age and sex, 2014

Vertical bar chart showing (male, female); age group years (0-4 to 75 plus) on the x axis; number per 100,000 population (0 to 40) on the y axis.

Source:AIHW analysis of 2014 National (insulin-treated) Diabetes Register (NDR). Data table.

Trends in type 1 diabetes

From 2000 to 2014, there were 36,117 cases of type 1 diabetes diagnosed. This was around 2,400 new cases of type 1 diabetes each year—an average of 7 new cases per day.

The incidence of type 1 diabetes remained relatively stable between 2000 and 2014, with 11 to 13 new cases per 100,000 population each year.

  • The incidence rate for 0–14 year olds remained up to 2 times as high as for young people aged 15–24, and up to 4 times as high as for adults aged 25 and over during this period (Figure 4)

Figure 4: Trends in incidence of type 1 diabetes, by age group, 2000–2014

Stacked horizontal line chart showing (0-14, 15-24, 25 plus years); year of diagnosis (2000 to 2014) on the x axis; number per 100,000 population (0 to 35) on the y axis.  

Note: Year of first insulin use is a proxy for year of diagnosis.

Source: AIHW analysis of 2014 National (insulin-treated) Diabetes Register (NDR). Data table.

Inequalities

In 2014, the incidence rate of type 1 diabetes was:

  • 7 cases per 100,000 population in Remote and very remote areas and ranged from 11–14 per 100,000 population in other areas of Australia (Figure 5).
  • 9 cases per 100,000 population for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and 11 cases per 100,000 population for non-Indigenous Australians.
  • similar across all socioeconomic groups.

Incidence rates of type 1 diabetes may be influenced by the lower capture of Indigenous Australians and people living in Remote and very remote areas on the primary data sources of the National (insulin-treated) Diabetes Register. For more information, please refer to the National (insulin-treated) Diabetes Register 2014 Data Quality Statement.

Figure 5: Incidence of type 1 diabetes, by selected population characteristics, 2014

Horizontal bar chart showing; number per 100,000 population (0 to 14) on the x axis; selected population characteristics on the y axis.

Note: Age-standardised to the 2001 Australian Standard Population.

Source: AIHW analysis of 2014 National (insulin-treated) Diabetes Register (NDR). Data table.

Type 2 diabetes

Information on the number of adults with type 2 diabetes is only available from self-reported information from the ABS 2011–12 Australian Health Survey. This is likely to underestimate the number of Australians with type 2 diabetes, as many cases remain unreported, due to survey participants either not knowing or accurately reporting their diabetes status.

In 2011–12, an estimated 849,000 adults aged 18 years and over (4.7%) reported that they had type 2 diabetes. Rates were:

  • higher among men (5.4%) than women (4.2%) (Figure 6)
  • similar across Major cities (4.8%), Inner regional (5.5%) and Outer regional and Remote areas (5.3%)
  • twice as high in the lowest socioeconomic group (7.2%) compared with the highest socioeconomic group (3.2%).

Information about insulin use by people with type 2 diabetes is available from the National (insulin-treated) Diabetes Register (NDR). The NDR reported that 19,390 people with type 2 diabetes began insulin treatment in 2014.

Gestational diabetes

In 2012–13, around 24,100 hospitalisations for women who gave birth were recorded with either a principal or additional diagnosis of gestational diabetes.

In 2009–11, according to the AIHW National Perinatal Data Collection, 5.8% of women who gave birth and who did not have pre-existing diabetes were diagnosed with gestational diabetes.

Women who gave birth in 2009–11
Pre-existing diabetes Gestational diabetes No diabetes Total
Number of mothers 4,282 37,877 608,157 650,316
% of mothers 0.7 5.8 93.5 100.0

Notes:

  1. Total excludes 57 women who gave birth and had missing or not stated diabetes in pregnancy status (2) or missing age (55).
  2. Data from this period were not supplied from Victoria and incomplete from Tasmania.

Source: AIHW National Perinatal Data Collection. Data table

According to the National (insulin-treated) Diabetes Register, 6,625 women with gestational diabetes began using insulin in 2014.

For more information, see Cardiovascular disease, diabetes and chronic kidney disease: Australian facts: prevalence and incidence, Prevalence of type 1 diabetes among children aged 0–14 in Australia 2013 and Incidence of insulin-treated diabetes in Australia 2014.


Data table