Notes on the data: Disability

Unpaid assistance provided by people aged 15 years and over to persons with a disability, 2011


Policy context:  Those with informal caring responsibilities provide a crucial role in society, because the absence of an informal carer is a significant risk factor contributing to institutionalisation [1]. Some people with a disability provide unpaid care to others in their family or community. For example, many older spouses care for their partners even though they have significant disabilities themselves [1].

During the two weeks before the 2011 Census, 10.9% of people aged 15 years and over assisted family members or others due to a disability, long term illness or problems related to old age [2]. These data can be used in the planning of local facilities and disability and aged care respite services, and in the provision of information and support to carers. They can also assist in understanding the way individuals and families balance paid work with other important aspects of their lives, such as family and community commitments.


  1. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW). Australia’s welfare 2011. (AIHW Cat. no. AUS 93). Canberra: AIHW; 2011.
  2. Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS). 2011 Census QuickStats [Internet]. 2013 Mar 28 [cited 2013 Oct 18]. Available from:

Notes:  The 'Unpaid Assistance to a Person with a Disability' variable records people who, in the two weeks prior to Census Night, spent time providing unpaid care, help or assistance to family members or others because of a disability, a long-term illness (lasting six months or more) and/or problems related to older age.

The data exclude the 8.5% of persons aged 15 years and over whose unpaid assistance to persons with a disability was not stated. (The proportion excluded was calculated based on the Australian data.)


Numerator:  People aged 15 years and over who provided unpaid assistance to persons with a disability


Denominator:  Population aged 15 years and over


Detail of analysis:  Per cent


Source:  Compiled by PHIDU based on the ABS Census 2011 data.


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