• The census identified the need for assistance in the core areas of self-care, communication and mobility. (Getty Images)Source: Getty Images
Indigenous Australians are almost twice as likely to need disability assistance, according to data analysis of the 2016 census.
NITV Staff Writer

20 Apr 2018 - 2:17 PM  UPDATED 20 Apr 2018 - 2:17 PM

The most recent national census shows Indigenous Australians are in greater need of disability support services, as the number of all Australians living with disabilities and in need of assistance continues to climb.

Despite having a much younger age profile, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people had a higher need for assistance.

With the age differences in the populations taken into account in Australian Bureau of Statistics modelling, Indigenous Australians were almost twice as likely (8.5 per cent) to need assistance than non-Indigenous Australians (4.7 per cent).

The raw number of Indigenous people requiring support in 2016 was 6.7 per cent compared with 5.3 cent of their non-Indigenous peers.

That figure is up from the 5.4 per cent reported in the 2011 census by Indigenous Australians, however this could be related to an increase in those identifying as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander in the recent census.

Overall, more than 1.2 million people or 5.1 per cent cent of the population needed assistance with core activities in 2016, an increase of more than 200,000 people since 2011.

The proportion of all Australians in need of disability support has increased significantly as the population ages.

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Other findings

The census found Australian women were more likely to seek support, largely due to higher rates of diseases associated with disability in females aged over 75.

Young men aged five to 19 were almost twice as likely as women to receive assistance, which the Australian Bureau of Statistics suggested may be partly attributed to higher rates of autism spectrum disorders.

Tasmania, which has the highest average age, also has the highest proportion of people who need assistance.

Western Australia and the Northern Territory, with the lowest average ages, were least dependent.

People living in urban centres with populations of fewer than 100,000 were much more likely than those in bigger cities to need assistance.

Three in four people in need of disability supports only spoke English at home.

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Of those who spoke languages other than English, Italian and Greek Australians needed the highest levels of assistance and Punjabi the lowest, in line with their respective population ages.

However, age was not the only factor, with a high level of assistance required by relatively young Arabic-speaking Australians.

Among employed Australians in need of assistance, almost one in four worked as labourers.

People in need of assistance were half as likely to have obtained non-school qualifications than those who did not need help, the census found.

With AAP