How many people have autism in Australia?

What percentage of our population has autism in Australia? In Australia, our most comprehensive source of data about disabilities is the Australian Bureau of Statistics and their Disability, Ageing and Carers Survey. Unfortunately, the latest release of this data was 2018. However, there have been 6 releases from 1998 through to 2018 so we can draw patterns from the data over time.

How prevalent is autism in Australia?

In 2018, there were 205,200 people with autism in Australia. Given the population at the time, that is 82 people in every 10,000 people or more simply, 1 in 122 people.

YearNumber of people with autismHow many in 10,000Simple ratio
2018205,200821 in 122
2015164,000691 in 145
2012115,400451 in 222
200964,400301 in 333
2003no data on autism
1998no data on autism

The prevalence of autism in Australia has increased over time. From 2015 to the latest report there was a 25% increase in autism. If this trend has continued, we could predict that currently there are around 250,000 people in Australia with autism, or 97 people in 10,000 (more simply, 1 in 103 people).

How many children with autism are school age?

The impact of increasing autism prevalence on schools and education is clear. When we look at the age groups with the most autism, they are all of school age. Ages 5-14 (Reception through to Year 9) have the largest prevalence of autism, with over 3% of those age groups being diagnosed with autism. This equates to over 100,000 people with autism in our schools. Also worth noting is that males are 3.5 times more likely than females to have an autism diagnosis.

Data sourced from https://www.abs.gov.au/statistics/health/disability/disability-ageing-and-carers-australia-summary-findings/2018#autism-in-australia

What percentage of the population has autism in Australia?

Around 1% of the total population in Australia has autism.

Download the infographic as a pdf here.

How many people with autism access the NDIS?

While national data from the ABS has its most recent report from 2018, data on the NDIS is reported every quarter.

Currently, there are 199,367 people with autism accessing the NDIS. This makes it the most common disability supported by the NDIS.

Data and graph from https://data.ndis.gov.au/explore-data

The average committed support over a six month reporting period is $20,000 per participant with autism. This is the 5th smallest amount of funding of any disability. However, considering that most participants with autism are aged 5-14, this funding could be considered early intervention. With appropriate therapies and supports, many people with autism can have independent adulthoods.

Autistic participants are found all across Australia, with highest numbers of people found in the most populated states of New South Wales and Victoria.

In terms of percentage, South Australia has the highest percentage of NDIS participants with autism per state population. However, the average is 0.75%, ranging from 0.48% in the NT to 1.09% in SA. This roughly aligns with the ABS statistics, which report that 1% of the total population has autism.

References and further reading

https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports-data/health-conditions-disability-deaths/disability/reports

https://www.abs.gov.au/statistics/health/disability/disability-ageing-and-carers-australia-summary-findings

https://www.abs.gov.au/statistics/health/disability/disability-ageing-and-carers-australia-summary-findings/2018#autism-in-australia

https://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/Previousproducts/4430.0Main%20Features762015?opendocument&tabname=Summary&prodno=4430.0&issue=2015&num=&view=

https://worldpopulationreview.com/country-rankings/autism-rates-by-country

https://data.ndis.gov.au/explore-data

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