Notes on the data: Chronic diseases and conditions

Estimated population with osteoarthritis, 2017–18


Policy context:  Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis and typically found in the hands, spine and hip, knees and ankle joints. It is a chronic condition which involves the degeneration of cartilage that cushions the end of bones between joints and results in joint pain and loss of motion due to the rubbing of bones [1]. Osteoarthritis also progressively worsens over time and the ongoing pain, loss of mobility and depression caused by osteoarthritis can significantly impact on a person’s lifestyle and their ability to participate in social, community and economic activities [1].

According to the 2017-18 National Health Survey, an estimated 2.2 million or 9.3 percent of Australians have osteoarthritis and while this condition can affect people of all ages, the prevalence of osteoarthritis increases from the age of 45. One-fifth (21%) of Australians aged 45 and over and over one-third (36%) aged 75 over have osteoarthritis. Further, females (10%) have higher rates of osteoarthritis than males (6.1%) [1].


  1. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW). Osteoarthritis. Cat. no. PHE 232. 2019. Available from:; last accessed 11 December 2019


Small area estimates:

Data by Population Health Area, Local Government Area and Primary Health Network are available for the 2014-15 National Health Survey in the data archive.

Differences from data published by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS):

Data by quintile of socioeconomic disadvantage and Remoteness will differ to the extent that data extracted from Survey TableBuilder have been randomised, whereas those published by the ABS are not. In addition, rates published by the ABS for modelled estimates are generally crude rates; rates published by PHIDU are age-standardised.

Indicator detail

These data refer to persons ever been told by a doctor or nurse that they have osteoarthritis and consider their condition to be current and long-term. A long-term condition is defined as a condition that is current and has lasted, or is expected to last, for 6 months or more.


Geography:  Data available by Quintile of socioeconomic disadvantage of area and Remoteness Area


Numerator:  Estimated number of people with osteoarthritis as a current, long-term condition


Denominator:  Total population


Detail of analysis:  Indirectly age-standardised rate per 100 population; and/or indirectly age-standardised ratio, based on the Australian standard


Source:  Compiled by PHIDU based on direct estimates from the 2017–18 National Health Survey, ABS Survey TableBuilder.


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