Australian Bureau of Statistics – Survey of Disability, Ageing and Carers (SDAC)


Collection frequency

3–4 yearly

Latest data



The SDAC is conducted by the ABS throughout Australia.

The survey collects information from three target populations:

  • people with disability,
  • older people (those aged 65 and over),
  • carers of people with disability or a long-term health condition or older people.

Disability is defined as having any limitation, restriction or impairment which restricts everyday activities and has lasted, or is likely to last, for at least six months. The SDAC distinguishes people with disability from people with non-disabling long-term health conditions.

Disability types

The SDAC identifies six disability groups based on particular types of disability:

  • sensory and speech
  • intellectual
  • physical restriction
  • psychosocial
  • head injury, stroke or acquired brain injury (ABI)
  • other.

People may have more than one type of disability. In reporting by disability groups, people could be counted more than once if they have disabilities from more than one disability group.

Severity of disability

The SDAC classifies disability according to the degree of limitation or impairment in core activities into profound, severe, moderate, and mild limitation. In addition, SDAC distinguishes people with disability who have no limitation in core activities but have schooling or employment restriction, and people with disability who have no specific limitation or restriction. The ADS OF reports on outcomes of people with severe and/or profound disability, as well as outcomes of people with other disability status (people with disability who have disability status other than severe or profound).

Age groups

Age refers to the age of a person on their last birthday.


Information on sex is collected for all persons as ‘Male’ or ‘Female’.

Indigenous status

Indigenous status is voluntarily self-reported based on the ABS Indigenous Status Standard.1 The term ‘First Nations people’ is used to refer to survey respondents who have identified as being of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander origin during the data collection process.

Definition of CALD

The SDAC collects information on country of birth, main language spoken at home, and (for those who mainly speak a language other than English at home) proficiency in spoken English. This information is used to derive Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) status for reporting against the ADS OF measures.

The CALD cohort includes people born in countries other than main English-speaking countries (Australia, New Zealand, the UK, the USA, Canada, Republic of Ireland, and South Africa), and/or those who mainly speak a language other than English at home. People born in main English-speaking countries who mainly speak English at home, and/or those who are nonverbal, mainly use Auslan at home, or mainly speak an Australian Indigenous language at home are included in the non-CALD cohort.

The CALD cohort can be further sub-divided according to proficiency in spoken English. Low English proficiency group includes people who mainly speak a language other than English at home with self-reported proficiency in spoken English of 'not well' or 'not at all'. High English proficiency group includes people who mainly speak a language other than English at home with self-reported proficiency in spoken English of 'well' or 'very well', and those who mainly speak English at home.

Geographic information

Remoteness is classified according to the 2016 Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS). Data source does not cover very remote areas and discrete Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.2


Data are available at the national level. State level data are available for New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland and Western Australia. Some data is available for other states and territories, but this may be limited due to standard error and confidentiality constraints.

Measures reported
  1. The ABS Indigenous Status Standard can be found at Indigenous Status Standard, 2014, Version 1.5 | Australian Bureau of Statistics (
  2. Further information on the geographic index used by this data source can be found at Remoteness Structure | Australian Bureau of Statistics (