New Zealanders experiencing disability
In 2006, an estimated 660,300 New Zealanders reported a disability, representing 17 percent of the total population.17
Disability increases with age. In 2006, the prevalence of disability ranged from 10 percent of children (0–14 years) to 45 percent of people aged 65 years and over.
For children with disabilities, conditions or health problems that existed at birth and disease or illness were the most common causes. Disease or illness, accidents or injuries and ageing were the most common causes of disability for adults.18
Table P7 Number and prevalence (%) of people experiencing disabilities (total population residing in households and residential facilities), by age group and sex, 2006
|Age group (years)
Source: Statistics New Zealand, 2006 Disability Survey
The total disability rate for Māori (17 percent) was higher than the disability rate for Pacific peoples (11 percent) but lower than the disability rate for Europeans (18 percent). The Asian population had the lowest disability rate (5 percent). Because the Māori and Pacific populations have a younger age structure than the European population, disability rates should be compared by age group. In every age group, Māori had a higher disability rate than other ethnic groups.
Many New Zealanders experiencing disability face barriers to full participation in society. For example, the 2006 Disability Survey found that 38 percent of disabled adults aged 25–64 years had no educational qualification, compared to 18 percent of non-disabled adults of that age. Sixty percent of 15–64 year olds with a disability were employed in 2006, compared to 80 percent of non-disabled 15–64 year olds. Thirty-nine percent of disabled adults aged 15–64 years had an annual personal income of less than $15,000, compared to 28 percent of non-disabled 15–64 year olds. Disabled adults were less likely than those without disabilities to have the support of a partner or spouse. Two-thirds (66 percent) of disabled adults aged 25–64 years were partnered, compared to three-quarters (76 percent) of non-disabled people of the same age.19
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