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Data and statistics

Good data and statistics can tell us what is happening for people with an intellectual disability.

This can help government and others to make better decisions that affect people with an intellectual disability.

Population

286,000

people in Australia have an intellectual disability 

Children

4.5%

of children have an intellectual disability (0-14 years old) 

Gender

Intellectual disability is almost

2 x

(twice) as common in boys as it is in girls

Source: ABS Disability, Ageing and Carers, Australia: Summary of Findings

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people 

8%

of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have intellectual disability

Source: ABS – Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with disability

Employment 

29%

of people with intellectual disability who are NDIS participants are in paid employment (over 25 years old) 

77%

of those are employed in a sheltered workshop or Australian Disability Enterprise (ADE)

Source: NDIA – NDIS Employment outcomes

Health 

38%

of deaths of people with an intellectual disability are potentially avoidable

Source: Trollor J. et al. (2016) “Cause of death and potentially avoidable deaths in Australian adults with intellectual disability using retrospective linked data”

Disability Support Pension 

15%

of people who receive the Disability Support Pension have an intellectual or learning disability

Source: DSS Payment Demographic Data – September 2021 (XLSX)

NDIS

19%

of NDIS participants have intellectual disability as their primary diagnosis

>60%

of NDIS participants have a cognitive impairment (cognitive impairment here includes intellectual disability, acquired brain injury, developmental delay, global developmental delay and autism)  

Source: NDIS Quarterly Report: September 2021

Gathering the evidence report

In October 2020, we made a report to the Disability Royal Commission on data and statistics about people with intellectual disability in Australia.

Our report includes data and information about:

  • How many people in Australia have an intellectual disability
  • Age, gender and cultural diversity
  • Government supports
  • Restricted decision making
  • Schooling
  • Employment
  • Criminal justice
  • Parents with intellectual disability
  • Access to technology.

Our report also finds that there are many gaps in our information about people with intellectual disability in Australia.

These gaps make it hard to measure, report on, and improve outcomes for people with intellectual disability. 

Read our report on data and statistics for people with intellectual disability.

This page was last updated 14/12/2021.