How many people have dementia in Australia?
The AIHW estimates for 2022 indicate that there are around 401,300 people living with dementia in Australia, including 251,700 women and 149,600 men. This is equivalent to 15 people with dementia per 1,000 Australians (19 per 1,000 women and 12 per 1,000 men).
New health condition question in the 2021 Census
In the 2021 Census, a new long term health condition question was asked, which captured whether a person had one or more of a select group of health conditions. One of these select conditions is dementia (including Alzheimer’s).
For the purposes of the census, long-term conditions are conditions that:
the respondent has been told they have by a doctor or nurse
have lasted, or are expected to last, for 6 months or more
may recur from time to time
are controlled by medication, or
are in remission (ABS 2022).
The first results of the census were released on 28 June 2022, and they showed that 189,162 people living in Australia self-reported a dementia diagnosis (78,154 males and 111,003 females). While the ABS advises that their health surveys (the National Health Survey and the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Survey) continue to capture the prevalence of these conditions more accurately, work has commenced to better understand how the new census estimate aligns with other dementia diagnosis information, as well as how these data can be used to improve how we understand and monitor dementia prevalence in Australia.
The rate of dementia rises quickly with age – from less than 1 person with dementia per 1,000 Australians aged under 60, to 71 per 1,000 Australians aged 75–79, and then to 429 per 1,000 Australians aged 90 and over. Interestingly, the rates are similar for men and women in the younger age groups, but quickly diverge with increasing age. For the oldest age group, the rate of dementia among women is 1.4 times the rate of men (479 per 1,000 women and 337 per 1,000 men) (Figure 2.1).
Figure 2.1: Prevalence of dementia in 2022: estimated number and rate, by age and sex