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Australian Indigenous HealthBulletin Alcohol and other drugs knowledge centre Yarning Places

New census analysis on disability in Australia

Date posted: 26 February 2013

New census analysis to be released by the Australian National University (ANU) finds an increase in reported rates of disability between 2006 and 2011 for Indigenous Australians.

‘When you use the age-specific rates presented in our paper, you can see that across the age distribution an Indigenous Australian is roughly twice as likely to report a profound or severe disability as their non-Indigenous counterparts,' stated ANU fellow, Nicholas Biddle, who co-authored the analysis with Mandy Yap and Matthew Grey.

Dr Biddle said, the increase was partly to do with the ageing of the Indigenous population and what he believes was an under-reporting in 2006. ‘What we can say though is that for a given age, rates of profound or severe disability for the Indigenous population have not fallen anywhere near as much as anyone would have liked'.

In the 2011 census, 6.1% of Indigenous males reported a severe or profound disability compared with 4.5% of non-Indigenous males and 5.4% of Indigenous females reported a profound or severe disability compared with 5.2% of non-Indigenous females.

The other main findings in the paper are that, after controlling for age, Indigenous Australians with a profound or severe disability are less likely to be employed than their non-Indigenous counterparts, but more likely to be actively participating in the community in other ways, such as providing unpaid care.

The ANU authors say the results suggest an ongoing need for targeted support for Indigenous Australians with a disability.

Source: NACCHO Aboriginal Health News, The Australian


Last updated: 20 May 2013
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