For the most up to date information on COVID-19 please visit the Department of Health Website.
Learn more about how the AIHW is assisting the COVID-19 response and our broader work on communicable diseases.
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare 2017. Australia's welfare 2017: in brief. Cat. no. AUS 215. Canberra: AIHW.
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. (2017). Australia's welfare 2017: in brief. Canberra: AIHW.
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. Australia's welfare 2017: in brief. AIHW, 2017.
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. Australia's welfare 2017: in brief. Canberra: AIHW; 2017.
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare 2017, Australia's welfare 2017: in brief, AIHW, Canberra.
Get citations as an Endnote file:
PDF Report (4Mb)
View other formats
Australia's welfare 2017: in brief presents highlights from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare’s 13th biennial report on the nation’s welfare, Australia’s welfare 2017.
2.2 million people aged 15–64 were enrolled in formal study
55% of Indigenous people in Remote and Very remote areas speak an Australian Indigenous language
Australia ranks in the bottom third of OECD countries for ‘work-life balance’
49% of people with dementia in 2015 lived in cared accommodation
Some Australians face disadvantages that affect not only their physical and mental health, but also their participation in education, employment and social activities.
The World Health Organization estimates that 15% of the world's population (1 billion people) have a disability.
In 2015, 4.3 million Australians had a disability. That is:
The proportion of the population with disability has declined over time:
We are living longer without disability: years of life lived without disability in 2015 had increased since 2003, by 3.9 years for males (to 63.0 years), and by 3 years for females (to 65.2 years).
The likelihood of having a disability is similar for males and females. However, females are more likely than males to have a severe or profound core activity limitation—6.4% of females and 5.3% of males.
Four in 5 people with disability had a physical condition as their main long-term health condition; the remainder had a mental or behavioural disorder.
In 2015, 1 in 3 people with disability (5.8% of the total population) had severe or profound core activity limitation. This means that they sometimes or always needed help with day-to-day activities.
Disability rates increase steadily with age, ranging from 3% for children aged 0-4 to 85% for people aged 90 and over. By age 60, nearly 1 in 3 people (32%) report a disability; this rises to over 1 in 2 (53%) by age 75. A similar pattern is seen for people with severe or profound core activity limitation.
Find out more: Chapter 8.1 ‘People with disability’ in Australia’s welfare 2017.
While people with disability participate actively in all aspects of Australian life, they can face additional challenges doing so—any disability may limit the activities a person undertakes in their daily life.
In particular, people with disability have lower rates of labour force participation and employment, and higher rates of unemployment than people without disability—even more so for people with severe or profound core activity limitation. For example 22% of people with severe or profound core activity limitation were employed in 2015 (compared with 48% of all people with disability and 79% of people without disability).
Between 2003 and 2015, there has been a shift in the patterns of work for people with disability, with fewer employed people with disability working full time and more working part time. While this shift has also been seen among employed people without disability, it has been more pronounced for people with disability—especially people with severe or profound core activity limitation.
Find out more: Chapter 8.2 'Participation in society by people with disability' in Australia's welfare 2017.
Informal carers play a substantial role in assisting people who need help in their daily lives. They provided an estimated 1.9 billion hours of unpaid care in 2015.
One in 9 (2.7 million) Australians were informal carers for people in need of assistance or support due to disability, health conditions or ageing in 2015. Nearly 1 in 3 (32%) of these were primary carers.
While aspects of caring can be enjoyable and rewarding, informal carers may experience social isolation, physical and emotional strain and restricted education and employment opportunities. Primary carers, as the main caregivers, often experience these challenges most. They are more likely than other carers and non-carers to rely on government pensions and allowances and less likely to have finished Year 12 or to be in the labour force.
Find out more: Chapter 8.3 ‘Informal carers’ in Australia’s welfare 2017.
We'd love to know any feedback that you have about the AIHW website, its contents or reports.
The browser you are using to browse this website is outdated and some features may not display properly or be accessible to you. Please use a more recent browser for the best user experience.