People with disability are more likely than those without disability to experience social isolation, loneliness and lower levels of satisfaction with their local community (see Social inclusion). This section covers aspects of personal life of people with disability such as family background, parenting responsibilities and satisfaction with life in general.
Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia Survey
Data in this section are sourced from the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) Survey. The HILDA Survey is a nationally representative, household-based longitudinal study of Australian households and individuals conducted in annual waves since 2001. Members of selected households who are Australian residents and aged 15 or over are invited to participate in a personal face-to-face interview. This section presents cross-sectional analyses of the 17th wave (2017). In 2017 almost 18,000 people from around 10,000 households participated in the HILDA Survey.
The HILDA Survey defines disability as an impairment, long-term health condition or disability that restricts everyday activities and has lasted, or is likely to last, for a period of 6 months or more. This is similar to the definition of disability used by the ABS Short Disability Module. In this section people who always or sometimes need help or supervision with at least one core activity because of their disability are referred to as people with ‘severe or profound disability’. Core activities include self-care, mobility and communication. People who have disability but do not always or sometimes need help or supervision with at least one core activity are referred to as people with ‘other disability’. The HILDA Survey does not collect information on level of disability in every wave. The most recent collection was in the 17th wave (2017) (Summerfield et al. 2019; Wilkins et al. 2019).
Disability group is a broad categorisation of disability. It is based on underlying health conditions and on impairments, activity limitations and participation restrictions. It is not a diagnostic grouping, nor is there a one-to-one correspondence between a health condition and a disability group.
The HILDA Survey collects information on 17 disability types, which have been combined into the following 6 disability groups:
- sensory: includes sight, hearing, and speech problems
- intellectual: includes difficulty learning or understanding things
- physical: includes difficulty breathing, blackouts, chronic pain, limited use of arms or fingers, difficulty gripping things, limited use of feet or legs, physical restrictions, and disfigurement or deformity
- psychosocial: includes nervous or emotional conditions, and mental illness
- head injury, stroke or other brain damage
- other: includes long-term conditions that are restrictive despite treatment or medication, and other long-term conditions.
Moving out of the parental home
Moving out of the parental home is an important step towards adulthood in a young person’s life. The age when people moved out of their parental home for the first time varies by age group:
- More than two-thirds (69%) of people with disability aged 18–24 are still living in their parental home, which is similar to those without disability (67%).
- Of those aged 25–44 with disability, most say they moved out of home before the age of 25 (75%) and 15% are still living at home (compared with 76% and 9%, respectively, of those without disability) (DSS and MIAESR 2019).
Family planning and parenting responsibilities
The proportion of people with parenting responsibilities and those with intentions to have children in the future varies by age group, sex, disability status and disability group:
- People with disability aged 25–34 are about as likely (36%) to have parenting responsibilities for children aged under 18 as those without disability (36%), but people with disability aged 35–44 and 45–54 are less likely (65% and 36% respectively) than those without disability (75% and 50% respectively) to have these responsibilities.
- Just under half (49%) of women aged 25–34 with disability and 73% of those aged 35–44 have parenting responsibilities compared with 26% and 56% of men.
- Men aged 55–64 with disability are more likely (12%) to have parenting responsibilities than women in that age group (3.7%).
- People with disability aged 25–34 and 35–44 are more likely (27% and 22% respectively) to say they do not have children and are unlikely (or unsure) to have any in the future, than those without disability (17% and 11% respectively) (Figure PERSONAL.1).
- Almost one-third (31%) of males aged 15–44 with disability do not have children and say they are unlikely (or not sure) to have any in the future, compared with 19% of those without disability.
- 22% of females aged 15–44 with disability do not have children and say they are unlikely (or unsure) to have any in the future, compared with 14% of those without disability (DSS and MIAESR 2019).