Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is a serious and increasingly common health problem in Australia. People with CKD, particularly those with end-stage kidney disease (ESKD), suffer poor health outcomes and a decreased quality of life. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, especially those who live in remote communities, are at a greater risk of developing CKD, and have substantially poorer health outcomes than other Australians. To date, information on CKD in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people at the national level has been limited to high-level summary information. Chronic kidney disease in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people 2011 presents the first detailed analysis of CKD in Indigenous Australians, using a variety of data sources. 

End-stage kidney disease

  • Over the period 2007 to 2008, almost 10% of new cases of treated ESKD were for Indigenous Australians, despite Indigenous Australians making up only 2.5% of the total Australian population.
  • If Indigenous Australians had the same incidence rate of treated ESKD as non-Indigenous Australians, 89% of these cases would have been avoided.
  • 12% of Indigenous Australians with treated ESKD have a functioning kidney transplant, compared with 45% of non-Indigenous treated ESKD patients.


  • In 2008–09, the hospitalisation rate for regular dialysis treatment among Indigenous Australians was 11 times as high as for other Australians. 


  • Indigenous Australians are almost 4 times as likely to die with CKD as a cause of death than non-Indigenous Australians.


  • In 2006–07, over 12% of hospital admitted patient expenditure on CKD was for Indigenous Australians.


  • Compared with those living in other areas, Indigenous Australians living in remote and very remote areas are more likely to have treated ESKD. This is also reflected in the higher hospitalisation rates for CKD among Indigenous Australians in these areas.

Trends over time

  • Over the period 2001 to 2008, the number of Indigenous Australians receiving treatment for ESKD increased by 72%, compared with a 41% increase for non-Indigenous Australians.