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.
This web report was first released on 3 September 2019. It included a broad range of data from the 2015 Australian Bureau of Statistics’ (ABS) Survey of Disability, Ageing and Carers (SDAC). A major update to the web report was released on 2 October 2020. The 2020 update replaced the 2015 ABS SDAC data with 2018 SDAC data; updated data on specialist disability services, social housing, homelessness services, education, and income support; and introduced new data from the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), the National Aged Care Data Clearinghouse, the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) Survey, Mission Australia’s Youth Survey, and the Graduate Outcomes Survey.
The 2021–22 update expands the report to include new reporting of data disaggregated by age group, disability group and remoteness. New data about personal life, social inclusion and finances of people with disability have been added to the existing chapters. The update also includes a new chapter about the experiences of people with disability during the COVID-19 pandemic, covering the period from 2020 to mid-2021.
Other updates performed in 2021–22 include:
- new reporting and supplementary data tables based on
- Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) Survey
- General Social Survey
- National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Survey
- National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey
- Household Impacts of COVID-19 Survey
- Education Survey 2020 by Children and Young People with Disability Australia (CYDA)
- COVID-19 (Coronavirus) and Children and Young People with Disability Survey
- People with Disability and COVID-19 Survey
- updating data from the
- 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
- Payment Demographic data
- Administrative income support 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:
- Productivity Commission’s annual Report on Government Services – information on equity, effectiveness and efficiency of government services in Australia relating to people with disability
- National Disability Insurance Agency’s (NDIA) quarterly reporting on the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) – information on the NDIS in each jurisdiction.
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).
This report includes data collected during the evolving COVID-19 situation in Australia from early 2020 to mid-2021. High quality data will be even more important in future as we seek to understand the impact on people with disability of the virus itself, the direct and indirect effects of the isolation requirements put in place in response to the virus, and the long-term economic and social impacts of the shutdown.
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.