Prevalence of disability within selected chronic conditions

The prevalence of disability for each selected chronic condition, as a main condition, varies widely (Figure 1). Among selected chronic conditions, people with asthma are the least likely to have disability (12%). People with emphysema (77%) or stroke (71%) are the most likely to have disability.

For most of the 8 chronic conditions there is little difference between males and females in how likely a person is to have disability (Figure 1). The largest difference is for people with stroke—80% of males with stroke also have disability, compared with 60% of females.

The prevalence of chronic conditions and disability both increase with age (see Prevalence, and AIHW chronic disease). Reflecting this, older people (aged 65 and over) with each selected chronic conditions are generally more likely than younger people (those aged under 65) to have disability (Figure 1).

While the prevalence of disability within chronic conditions generally increases with age, some chronic conditions are more likely associated with disability at all ages. The largest increase in disability within a chronic condition as people get older occurs for:

  • asthma (rising from 9% for those aged under 65, to 42% for those 65 and over)
  • stroke (rising from 58% to 81%).

The smallest increase in disability within a chronic condition as people get older occurs for emphysema (rising from 73% to 78%). Emphysema is strongly associated with disability across all ages.


ABS (Australian Bureau of Statistics) 2016. Microdata: Survey of Disability, Ageing and Carers 2015. ABS cat. 4430.0.30.002. Canberra: ABS. AIHW analysis of DataLab.