Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (2019) People with disability in Australia 2019: in brief, AIHW, Australian Government, accessed 06 July 2022.
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. (2019). People with disability in Australia 2019: in brief. Canberra: AIHW.
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. People with disability in Australia 2019: in brief. AIHW, 2019.
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. People with disability in Australia 2019: in brief. Canberra: AIHW; 2019.
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare 2019, People with disability in Australia 2019: in brief, AIHW, Canberra.
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Some people with disability experience poorer health than other Australians, engage in behaviours that increase their risk of poor health, or experience barriers (such as cost) in accessing or using health services.
Based on self-reported data, people with disability are more likely to have poorer general and mental health than people without disability.
Self-assessed general health
Very good or excellent
Fair or poor
(a) Living in households (2017–18).
Self-reported level of psychological distress (K10)
Low or moderate
High or very high
(a) Living in households (2017–18).
Health risk factors and behaviours (such as poor diet, physical inactivity, and smoking) can have a detrimental effect on a person’s health. People with disability are more likely to engage in some risky health behaviours than people without disability.
Selected health risk factors and behaviours
Do not eat enough fruit and vegetables each day
Drink sugar sweetened drinks daily (aged 2+)
Are overweight or obese based on measured body mass index (aged 2+)
Have an increased risk of chronic disease based
on measured waist circumference (aged 18+)
Do not do enough physical activity for their age (including at work) (aged 15+)
Have measured high blood pressure (adults)
Smoke daily (aged 15+)
Exceed the lifetime risk guidelines for alcohol consumption (aged 15+)(b)
Exceed the single occasion risk guidelines for
alcohol consumption (aged 15+)(c)
(b) Consumed more than 2 standard drinks of alcohol per day on average.
(c) Consumed more than 4 standard drinks of alcohol on a single occasion in the past year.
Some people with disability experience difficulties accessing and using health services. This includes longer than desired waiting times, the cost of services, the accessibility of buildings, discrimination by health professionals, and a lack of communication between different health professionals treating them.
1 in 5 (22%) who see a GP wait longer than they feel is acceptable to get the appointment
1 in 4 (24%) wait 1 or more days after making an appointment to see a GP for urgent medical care
1 in 2 (45%) on a public dental waiting list wait 1 month to more than 1 year for dental care
1 in 5 (19%) who delay seeing or do not see a GP, do so because of the cost
1 in 4 (27%) who do not see a medical specialist when they need to, do so mainly because of the cost
2 in 3 (64%) who delay seeing or do not see a dental professional, do so because of the cost
1 in 4 (24%) who delay going or do not go to hospital, do so because of the cost
Communication between health professionals(a)
1 in 6 (17%) who see 3 or more different health professionals for the same health condition report issues caused by lack of communication among them
1 in 6 (17%) who have experienced disability discrimination in the last year said it was from health staff (GP, nurse or hospital staff)
2 in 5 (38%) who had difficulty accessing buildings or facilities in the last year had difficulty accessing medical facilities (GP, dentist or hospital)
Unmet need for health care(c)
1 in 6 (17%) who need help with health care have their need only partly met or not met at all
(a) Aged under 65 living in households (2015).
(b) Aged 15–64 living in households (2015).
(c) Aged 5–64 living in households (2015).
Current data make it difficult to directly compare health-care access issues for people with disability to those without disability. However, available data suggest that people with disability are more likely than the general Australian population to face barriers, such as cost, when accessing some types of health services.
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