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Australian Indigenous HealthBulletin Alcohol and other drugs knowledge centre Yarning Places
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spacing1What do we know about disability among Indigenous people?

Disability may affect how a person moves around and looks after themselves, how they learn, or how they communicate [1][2]. There are a lot of different kinds of disability, for example:

A disability that is severe and affects how a person is able to live their life is classified as a 'profound/severe core activity restriction' [1].

In 2012, about a quarter of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people had a disability [3]. Indigenous people had higher rates of disabilities than non-Indigenous people across all age groups and for both males and females. Indigenous children aged 0-14 years were more than twice as likely as non-Indigenous children to have a disability.

In 2011 about one-in-twenty (5%) of Indigenous people needed assistance with looking after themselves, getting around or communicating [4]. These needs for assistance generally increased with age among both Indigenous and non-Indigenous people; the proportions requiring assistance were higher among Indigenous people than among their non-Indigenous counterparts for all age-groups.


  1. Australian Bureau of Statistics (2013) Disability, ageing and carers, Australia: summary of findings, 2012. Canberra: Australian Bureau of Statistics
  2. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (2012) Australia's health 2012. Canberra: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare
  3. Australian Bureau of Statistics (2014) Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with a disability, 2012. Retrieved 1 December 2014 from
  4. Australian Bureau of Statistics (2013) Community profiles. Retrieved 2013 from
Last updated: 17 June 2015
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