Key facts and statistics 2016

Updated February 2016

Australian statistics

  • There are more than 353,800 1Australians living with dementia
  • This number is expected to increase to 400,000 1 in less than five years
  • Without a medical breakthrough, the number of people with dementia is expected to be almost 900,000 by 2050 1
  • There are approximately 25,100 1 people in Australia with younger onset dementia (a diagnosis of dementia under the age of 65; including people as young as 30)
  • Three in ten people over the age of 85 and almost one in ten people over 65 have dementia 1
  • An estimated 1.2 million people are involved in the care of a person with dementia 3
  • Dementia is the second leading cause of death in Australia 4 and there is no cure
  • On average symptoms of dementia are noticed by families three years before a firm diagnosis is made 5

The impact of dementia in Australia

  • Dementia is the single greatest cause of disability in older Australians (aged 65 years or older) and the third leading cause of disability burden overall 1
  • Australia faces a shortage of more than 150,000 paid and unpaid carers for people with dementia by 2029 6
  • Total direct health and aged care system expenditure on people with dementia was at least $4.9 billion in 2009-10 1
  • Dementia will become the third greatest source of health and residential aged care spending within two decades. These costs alone will be around 1% of GDP 2
  • By the 2060s, spending on dementia is set to outstrip that of any other health condition. It is projected to be $83 billion (in 2006-07 dollars), and will represent around 11% of health and residential aged care sector spending 2
  • More than 50% of residents in Australian Government-subsidised aged care facilities have dementia (85,227 out of 164,116 permanent residents with an ACFI assessment at 30 June, 2011) 7
  • Almost half (44%) of permanent residents with dementia also had a diagnosis of a mental illness 7

Research funding

  • The Federal Government is providing an additional $200 million for dementia research over the next five years. This funding will significantly boost funding for Australia’s dementia research sector to over $60 million per annum.
  • As part of the Federal Government’s commitment to dementia research the National Health and Medical Research Council’s National Institute of Dementia Research was established to ensure priority research in dementia is coordinated, funded and communicated. The Institute collaborates with Australia’s best researchers while also drawing on the expertise of consumers, health professionals, industry and policy makers to translate evidence into policy and practice that works towards achieving a five year delay in the onset of dementia by 2025.
  • One of the pressing issues is to build capacity in the dementia research sector by supporting students and early career dementia researchers. The Alzheimer’s Australia Dementia Research Foundation, supported by donations from the public, plays a major role in this effort and will fund a number of new and early career researchers through scholarships and postdoctoral fellowships in 2016

International statistics

  • Worldwide, there are more than 46.8 million people with dementia today and 131.5 million predicted by 2050 8
  • In high income countries only 20-50% of people with dementia are recognised and documented in primary care 9
  • The total estimated worldwide costs of dementia were US$815 billion in 2015 8
  • If dementia were a country, it would be the world’s 18th largest economy 8

What is dementia?

Dementia is the term used to describe the symptoms of a large group of illnesses which cause a progressive decline in a person’s functioning.

It is a broad term used to describe a loss of memory, intellect, rationality, social skills and physical functioning.

There are many types of dementia including Alzheimer’s disease, vascular dementia, frontotemporal dementia and Lewy Body disease.

Dementia can happen to anybody, but it is more common after the age of 65.

1 Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (2012) Dementia in Australia.
2 Access Economics (2009) Keeping Dementia Front of Mind: Incidence and prevalence 2009-2050. Report for Alzheimer’s Australia.
3 Alzheimer’s Australia, (2011) Pfizer Health Report Issue #45 – Dementia, Pfizer Australia.
4 Australian Bureau of Statistics (2015) Causes of Death, Australia, 2013: Cat no. 3303.0
5 Phillips, J., Pond, D., Goode, S (2011) Timely Diagnosis of Dementia: Can we do better?
6 Access Economics (2009) Making choices, Future Dementia Care: Projections, Problems and Preferences. Report for Alzheimer’s Australia
7 Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (2012) Residential aged care in Australia 2010-11: A statistical overview. Cat. no. AGE 68. Canberra
8 Alzheimer’s Disease International (2015) The Global Impact of Dementia: An analysis of prevalence, incidence, cost and trends. World Alzheimer Report
9 Alzheimer’s Disease International (2011) The Benefits of Early Diagnosis and Intervention. World Alzheimer Report

These key facts and statistics are also available as a PDF file which you can download and print

Download the key facts and statistics PDF file - updated March 2016

Dementia statistics for Victoria

Read or download statistics for the state of Victoria.

More information