Causes of disability

The causes of disability are complex and often unidentified. They commonly appear early in a person’s life, often at birth.

The most common cause of disability is ‘main condition just came on’ (21%), followed by illnesses or hereditary conditions (15%) and accidents and injuries (13%).

Of the 1 in 8 people with disability who are disabled as a result of an accident or injury, the incident most commonly happened on the road (30%) or at work (26%), followed by at home (17%) and sporting venues (8.6%) (ABS 2016).


ABS (Australian Bureau of Statistics) 2016. Microdata: disability, ageing and carers, Australia, 2015. ABS cat. no. 4430.0.30.002. Canberra: ABS. AIHW analysis of TableBuilder data.