Notes on the data: Disability

Unpaid assistance provided by people aged 15 years and over to persons with a disability, 2016


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 Census, 11.3% of the population 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). 2016 Census QuickStats. Jan 2017, accessed 11 August 2017. 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 health condition or problems related to old age. This includes people who are in receipt of a Carer Allowance or Carer Payment. It does not include work done through a voluntary organisation or group.

The numerator excludes the 8.9% of the population aged 15 years and over whose unpaid assistance to persons with a disability was not stated: however, these records are included in the denominator.


Geography:  Data available by Population Health Area, Local Government Area, Primary Health Network, Quintile of socioeconomic disadvantage of area and Remoteness Area


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:  Percent


Source:  Compiled by PHIDU based on the ABS Census of Population and Housing, August 2016 (unpublished data).


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