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Type of disability

People experience different degrees of impairment, activity limitation and participation restriction. Disability can be related to genetic disorders, illnesses, accidents, ageing, injuries or a combination of these factors. Importantly, how people experience disability is affected by environmental factors—including the opportunities, services and assistance they can access—as well as by personal factors and community attitudes.

This section reports disability in terms of whether it relates to:

  • anatomy or physiology (physical disability)
  • functioning of the mind or the senses.

In 2018–19, 306,100 (38%) Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples were living with disability. Of those:

  • Physical disabilities were the most common type (54.1% or 165,700 people), with a proportion of females affected (59.9% or 90,400 people) than males (48.7% or 75,600 people).
  • Sight, hearing and speech disabilities were the second most common type (49.3% or 150,900 people), with a higher proportion of males affected (51.4% or 79,800 people) than females (47.1% or 71,100 people) (Figure DB 5).

In 2018–19, when survey respondents were asked about their main type of disability (the disability that causes them the most problems), physical disabilities were still the most prevalent (38% or 116,000 people), followed by sight, hearing and speech disabilities (25% or 76,200 people) (Figure DB 6).