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There is a strong correlation between socioeconomic status and
severe disability in capital cities, according to a report released
today by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare.
But which causes what is unclear -whether disability contributes
to economic disadvantage, or whether the reverse applies.
The report, The geography of disability and economic
disadvantage in Australian capital cities, focused on people
aged under 65, thereby excluding much of the disability related to
Report author, Dr Louise O'Rance, said that the figures clearly
showed that disability among people aged under 65 was more common
in communities where residents had fewer economic resources.
'For example, 3.1% of people living in the most disadvantaged
fifth of local areas had severe disability compared to 1.3% of
those who lived in the most advantaged fifth of local areas.'
Some city-specific examples included:
Of all Australian capital cities, Hobart had the highest rates
of severe disability among people aged 0-64 years (2.8%), while
Perth, Darwin and Canberra had the lowest (1.9%).
Dr O'Rance said that the relationship between disability and
economic disadvantage 'works both ways'.
'Socioeconomic disadvantage can contribute to disability and
vice versa. People with disability often have lower average incomes
than people without disability, and their disability can impose
extra costs on individuals and their families.'
'On the other hand, risk factors for many chronic diseases are
higher among socioeconomically disadvantaged people, and people
working in lower status jobs can face greater occupational hazards
(such as serious workplace injury) that in turn contribute to
higher rates of disability', Dr O'Rance said.
Wednesday 1 April 2009
Further information: Dr Louise O'Rance, AIHW,
02 6244 1102 or mobile 0418 271 395.
For media copies of the report: Publications
Officer, AIHW, tel. (02) 6244 1032.
Availability: Check the AIHW Publications area
for the availability of The geography of
disability and economic disadvantage in Australian capital