Indicators from the 1996, 2001 and 2006 New Zealand Disability Surveys for monitoring progress on outcomes for disabled people
This report presents a selection of New Zealand statistical data from the 1996, 2001 and 2006 Disability Surveys that has potential to be used as a basis for comparing key social and economic outcomes for disabled people and non-disabled people over time. Notable features of the data include:
Trends in disability rates
- There was a drop in overall disability rates in the 2006 survey compared with 1996 and 2001. This drop was particularly evident among adults aged 25+ living in households.
- In each of the three surveys, rates of disability were much higher in older people than younger people. Also, European and Māori consistently had higher rates of disability than people in the ‘Other' ethnic group.
Disabled and non-disabled people
In each of the three surveys, compared with non-disabled people of all ages, disabled people were:
- less likely to be living in one-family households and more likely to live alone
- more likely to have a low annual household income
- more likely to live in the more deprived areas of New Zealand.
Compared with non-disabled adults, disabled adults were:
- more likely to have no educational qualifications and less likely to have post-school qualifications
- more likely to be not in the labour force and less likely to be employed
- more likely to have a lower annual personal income
- less likely to be partnered.
In interpreting these and other survey data presented in this report, it is important for readers to note the following:
- disabled people are on average older than non-disabled people, which is very likely to partly account for some of the differences in social and economic outcomes highlighted above
- there are indications that the 2006 Disability Survey may have undercounted the actual number of disabled people in the New Zealand population compared with the previous two surveys. Considerable caution should therefore be used when comparing any data across the three surveys
- the statistical significance of differences between the results reported have not been assessed, due to the unavailability of detailed information on relative standard errors.
Given these factors, no clear overall pattern of improvement or deterioration can be identified from the available data regarding the position of disabled people relative to non-disabled people over the period 1996 to 2006.
Further analysis, and development of appropriate data sources, will be required to get a clearer picture.