About this report

Disability affects many people, directly or indirectly. It may be a life-altering event or experience. It may have large or small effects on people's daily lives. Increasingly, disability is recognised as something that affects most people, to varying degrees and at different life stages. Disability is an umbrella term for impairments, activity limitations and participation restrictions, all of which can interact with a person's health condition(s) and environmental and/or individual factors to hinder their full and effective participation in society on an equal basis with others.

Capturing the diverse experiences of people with disability in a reporting context is challenging. People with disability are not a homogeneous group. They have different types and levels of disability; come from all demographic and socioeconomic groups; and interact, in varying degrees, with every aspect of life in Australia across a multitude of social policy and program areas. This diversity is compounded by differing understandings of what disability is and how best to capture it in data.

2024 update

This web report is the latest in the series first released on 3 September 2019. It includes a broad range of data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics' (ABS) Survey of Disability, Ageing and Carers (SDAC) and other ABS surveys, as well as a range of government (administrative) data on specialist disability services, social housing, homelessness services, education, and income support.

This 2024 update introduces new reporting based on data from the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). The update also includes new content about the experiences of people with disability when accessing key services, and employers’ attitudes and barriers to employing people with disability, using data from a new Australia’s Disability Strategy Survey – Share with us, conducted in 2022.

Other updates in 2024 include more recent data from the:

  • Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) Survey
  • National Health Survey
  • Personal Safety Survey
  • Australian Government Housing Data Set
  • National Housing Assistance Data Repository
  • Specialist Homelessness Services Collection
  • Nationally Consistent Collection of Data on School Students with Disability
  • Total Vocational Education and Training (TVET) Students and Courses Collection
  • Higher Education Student Data Collection
  • TVET Student Outcomes Collection
  • Student Experience Survey
  • Graduate Outcomes Survey
  • Administrative data on income support receipt (Payment Demographics data).

What this report does

This report uses the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) person-centred reporting framework to draw together information from a range of sources to look at the experiences of people with disability in everyday life (see ‘Person-centred reporting framework’). In drawing this information together, the report also highlights key data gaps (see ‘Key data gaps’).

The report is part of a wider system of data and reporting about people with disability in Australia. As such, rather than duplicate other efforts, it refers readers to other resources throughout. These include:

The online report format makes it possible to readily update existing information and to add new content as data become available.

What this report does not do

This report does not include detailed information about several areas of significant interest to people with disability, their families and carers. This includes information about: carers; the disability workforce; the experiences of specific groups within the disability population; information on pathways and transitions (for example, from school to work); and interactions between different life areas in determining outcomes for people with disability.

Some of these areas may be covered in subsequent releases of this report. For some, however, little or no data are readily available and these will require data development or linkage of data before information can be reported (see ‘Key data gaps’).

The analyses presented in this report highlight differences in outcomes and experiences of different groups of people, or varying time trends. In many cases, there can be multiple possible reasons behind these differences, or they could be attributed to government policy changes or variations in implementation of policies or programs. However, this report does not make any such attributions, nor does it make any inferences about causation.