Spatial distribution of working age adults with disabilities across Australia: a small area analysis of the 2016 Census
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This report documents technical specifications for the production of a geographic analysis and graphical presentation of the proportion of working age adults with disabilities in
Australia at Statistical Area Level 2 (SA2).
Mapping Inequities one of the streams within the Centre of Research Excellence in Disability and Health (CRE-DH). The CRE-DH will involve collaboration with the Australian Bureau of Statistics, capitalising on its newly integrated data platforms that combine data from the Census, administrative data collections and national surveys. WP1 will provide an Australia- wide baseline of disability-related social, economic and health inequities. The outcomes across the Programs will inform the choice of indicators and the development and refinement of a monitoring framework.
A core component of WP1 is to report on the spatial variation and change over time in the health of working age adults with
disabilities in Australia. While working with the ABS on the integrated data platforms, the team has also made progress on frameworks, indicators and exploring ways to report and present indicators.
This Technical Report documents the approach used in producing the first map that visually depicts the spatial distribution of the working age population who were in need of assistance in their core activities due to disability.
The interactive map enables readers to navigate and explore geographic areas of interest. It is envisaged that this tool provides the foundation that future geographic analyses will employ. As such, this technical paper documents the work flows to ensure transparency and consistencies of approach in the future.
The report refers to an online interactive map that can be accessed here: http://go.unimelb.edu.au/bzv6
Data and definition
The map sources data from the Australian National Census of Population and Housing 2016 (Census 2016) that was conducted by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS). The
Census is the largest statistical collection undertaken in Australia. Repeated every five years, the 2016 Census was the 17th since the first, undertaken in 1911. It aims to connect with every person in Australia to collect data on their key characteristics and the place they are staying on Census night. Given the response rates for recent censuses have been greater than 96%,the census statistics provide the most comprehensive information available for the entire country.
The comprehensive nature of the Census gives it a clear advantage over other survey statistics in examining small geographic areas and small population groups, making it the
best source available for this mapping study on distribution of disability.
The computation of the indicator “proportion of working age people needing assistance in core activity” involves two variables, the age of a person (AGEP) and core activity need for assistance (ASSNP). Working age people are defined as those who are aged between 15 and 64 years (inclusive).
Figure 2 presents the disability related questions asked in Census 2016 (ABS 2016b). ASSNP is the variable that the ABS uses to categorise people into three groups (Has need for assistance with core activities, Does not have need for assistance with core activities, Not stated) primarily based on answers to the four questions in Fig 2, and validated by other information such as age (ABS 2017a, p180).
ASSNP provides a measure of profound or severe disability that is largely conceptually consistent with that used in the national minimum data set (NMDS) of specialist disability services and in the ABS Survey of Disability, Ageing and Carers (SDAC).
The source of the data referred to in this report is the Census of Population and Housing 2016 collected by the Australia Bureau of Statistics (ABS). The team would like to acknowledge the work of the ABS. This publication has been produced by the Centre of Research Excellence in Disability and Health funded by the National Health and Medical Research Council, 2016-2021.
© Centre of Research Excellence in Disability and Health