Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (2022) People with disability in Australia, AIHW, Australian Government, accessed 05 July 2022.
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. (2022). People with disability in Australia. Retrieved from https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/disability/people-with-disability-in-australia
People with disability in Australia. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 05 July 2022, https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/disability/people-with-disability-in-australia
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. People with disability in Australia [Internet]. Canberra: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2022 [cited 2022 Jul. 5]. Available from: https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/disability/people-with-disability-in-australia
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) 2022, People with disability in Australia, viewed 5 July 2022, https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/disability/people-with-disability-in-australia
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Many sources of data exist on people with disability. Each source has varying degrees of accessibility, quality and usefulness. Some sources, for example, are not widely available for use and some are useful only if linked to another source.
Administrative versus survey data sources
Broadly speaking, Australia’s major data sources are:
Each has advantages and disadvantages.
Many administrative datasets contain useful data and some of these datasets can be configured to collect information about people with disability (such as by using a ‘flag’ or set of questions to identify disability and the extent of activity limitation or restriction).
The AIHW Specialist Homelessness Services Collection is a good example of an administrative dataset that contains useful data and has a question set to identify disability. For more information, see Homelessness services. Administrative data are, by definition, collected as a by-product of service delivery and therefore only contain data on people who are receiving those services. The information captured must also be directly relevant to service provision and is therefore unlikely to include information about broader client outcomes and client satisfaction with the service (although some service providers do separately survey consumers of their services).
Population surveys are the best available data source for estimates of the prevalence and level of disability in the Australian population (including changes over time) and for capturing information about experiences across different life areas.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics’ Survey of Disability, Ageing and Carers is the best example of a population survey that collects data on people with disability.
Certain constraints mean that survey data are often limited in capturing comprehensive data:
Responses to surveys are also limited by how well the respondent understands the question and how much the respondent trusts the survey.
Data used in this report
This report uses 21 sources of data on people with disability, 11 are surveys and 10 are administrative datasets. The definition of disability and the population scope for each of these data sources is presented in Definitions of disability data table (XLSX, 81kB).
This report uses multiple data sources to shed light on the experience of people with disability in Australia (see Table DATA.1). While these data sources provide a broad overview of the experiences of people with disability, critical information gaps and/or questions to be answered or further explored remain.
Graduate Outcomes Survey (GOS), Quality Indicators for Learning and Teaching (QILT)
Life Tables, ABS
National Social Housing Survey, Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW)
National Health Survey (NHS), ABS
Personal Safety Survey (PSS), ABS
Survey of Disability, Ageing and Carers (SDAC), ABS
Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) 2018–19 Complaint statistics, AHRC
Services Australia administrative income support data, Department of Social Services (DSS)
Australian Government Housing Data Set, DSS
Higher Education Student Data Collection, Department of Education, Skills and Employment (DESE)
National Aged Care Data Clearinghouse, AIHW
National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) data, National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA)
National Housing Assistance Data Repository, AIHW
Research and Evaluation Database, DSS
Specialist Homelessness Services Collection, AIHW
Total Vocational Education and Training (TVET) Students and Courses Collection, National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER)
Key data challenges with existing data sources include:
While data exist on many aspects of what life is like for people with disability in Australia, critical gaps make it difficult to comprehensively answer some questions.
For example, there is a lack of information on:
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