Type 2 diabetes

An estimated 1 million Australian adults (5%) had type 2 diabetes in 2014–15, according to self-reported data from the ABS 2014–15 National Health Survey. Proportions were:

  • Similar among men and women (6% and 5%). Age-specific rates for males were higher than females from age 55 years onwards (Figure 6).
  • Relatively similar across Major cities (5%), Inner regional (6%) and Outer regional and Remote areas (6%).
  • Around twice as high in the lowest socioeconomic group (8%) compared with the highest socioeconomic group (3%).

Information based on self-reported data only is likely to underestimate the prevalence of type 2 diabetes as many cases remain unreported, due to survey participants either not knowing or accurately reporting their diabetes status. For further information about self-reported data limitations, see self-report—glossary.

Figure 6: Prevalence of type 2 diabetes, among persons aged 18 and over, by age and sex, 2014–15

The vertical bar chart shows that the prevalence of self-reported type 2 diabetes among adults increases steadily with age, from 4%2525 to 19%2525 between ages 45–54 and 75 and over for men and 4%2525 to 14%2525 for women, respectively. From age 55 onwards rates were higher among males than females.

Note: Based on self-reported data.

Source: AIHW analysis of ABS Microdata: National Health Survey (NHS) 2014–15 (Data tables).

Information on insulin use among people with type 2 diabetes is available from the National (insulin-treated) Diabetes Register (NDR). Around 16,400 people with type 2 diabetes began insulin treatment in 2016, equating to around 61 cases per 100,000 population, or 1 in around 1,500 Australians, according to the NDR:

  • Incidence rates for insulin-treated type 2 diabetes were 1.5 times as high in males as in females (74 compared with 49 per 100,000, respectively).
  • Almost all cases of insulin-treated type 2 diabetes (91%) occurred among those aged 40 years and over, with rates increasing steadily with age to a peak of 240 per 100,000 at age 80–84. This was twice the incidence rate at age 50–54 and 8 times the rate at age 30–34.