Prevalence of disability

Around 1 in 5 (18%) Australians—or about 4.3 million—have disability. This is also known as ‘disability prevalence’. Another 22% of Australians have a long-term health condition but no disability, and the remaining 60% have no disability or long-term health condition (ABS 2016).

Nearly 1 in 3 (32%) people with disability—about 1.4 million or 5.8% of the Australian population—have severe or profound disability. This means they sometimes or always need help with daily self-care, mobility or communication activities.

While the number of people with disability has risen (from about 4 million in 2003), the proportion of the population affected by disability has changed little (from about 20% in 2003 to 18% in 2015, or from an age-standardised rate of 20% in 2003 to 17% in 2015) (ABS 2016). This indicates that the increase in the number of people with disability has been slower than the increase in the number of people without disability.

Where can I find out more?

Detailed data tables are available at Data.

For information on:


Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) 2016. Disability, ageing and carers, Australia: summary of findings, 2015. ABS cat. no. 4430.0. Canberra: ABS.[email protected]/mf/4430.0