Changing Disability Status of Immigrants in Australia - Three Cases

Main Article Content

Qingsheng Zhou


Australia, immigrants, disability statistics


This paper examines the changing disability status over five years of those born overseas who have lived in Australia for various periods of time. Sourcing data from the 2006 and 2011 censuses it explores in-depth three distinctive immigrant groups: recent immigrants arriving between 2002-2006; Chinese students coming to Australia in the late 1980s; and Vietnamese refugees settling in Australia in the late 1970s and early 1980s. The analysis shows that age is the most important factor influencing the trajectories of disability profiles of immigrants, just like their local counterparties.  

Abstract 762 | PDF Downloads 94 Word Downloads 39 Text Downloads 60 Abstract_keywords_acknowledgement_conflict Downloads 0 Decision email with QZ response v2 Downloads 0


Alter G and Oris M. (2005). Childhood conditions, migration and mortality: Migrants and natives in 19th century cities. Social biology, 52(3-4), 178-191.

Anikeeva O, Bi P, Hiller JE, Ryan P, Roder D. and Han G-S (2010). Review paper: the health status of migrants in Australia. Pacific Journal of Public Health, 22(2), 159-193.

Australia Bureau of Statistics. (2005). Census 2006 Household Form. Retrieved from[email protected]/0/05d78f82343a3ae5ca25720900078b62/$FILE/2006%20Census%20Form.pdf.

Australia Bureau of Statistics. (2006). Census dictionary 2006 (reissue). Retrieved from[email protected]/0/014F8C1E2D27DFF8CA25720A0010F03D?opendocument.

Australia Bureau of Statistics. (2007a). Comparing disability prevalence. Retrieved from[email protected]/7d12b0f6763c78caca257061001cc588/09eb653cd0138119ca2572dd0011eafc!OpenDocument.

Australia Bureau of Statistics. (2007b). 2006 Census of Population and Housing: Media Releases and Fact Sheets. Retrieved from[email protected]/7d12b0f6763c78caca257061001cc588/ec871bf375f2035dca257306000d5422!OpenDocument.

Australia Bureau of Statistics. (2013). Disability, aging and carers Australia: summary of findings 2012, Retrieved from[email protected]/DetailsPage/4430.02012.

Australia Bureau of Statistics. (2014). About Table Builder. Retrieved from

Australia Bureau of Statistics. (2015). Basic survey design. Retrieved from
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. (2010). Australia's health 2010. Retrieved from

Castles, I. (1991). Multicultural Australia. Australian Bureau of Statistics
Commonwealth/State Relations Section Office of Disability. (2003). Agreement between the Commonwealth of Australia and the States and Territories of Australia in relation to disability services. Retrieved from

Council of Australian Governments. (2009). National disability agreement. Retrieved from

Evidence Base Development Unit. (2010). Report on people with disability and their careers in NSW. Sydney: Department of Family and Community Services. Retrieved from

Findley, S. E. (1988). The directionality and age selectivity of the health-migration relation: Evidence from sequences of disability and mobility in the United States. International Migration Review, 4-29.

Gray, L., Harding, S., & Reid, A. (2007). Evidence of divergence with duration of residence in circulatory disease mortality in migrants to Australia. The European Journal of Public Health, 17(6), 550-554.

Harding, S. (2004). Mortality of migrants from the Caribbean to England and Wales: effect of duration of residence. International journal of epidemiology, 33(2), 382-386.

Johansson, B., Helgesson, M., Lundberg, I., Nordquist, T., Leijon, O., Lindberg, P., & Vingård, E. (2012). Work and health among immigrants and native Swedes 1990–2008: a register-based study on hospitalization for common potentially work-related disorders, disability pension and mortality. BMC Public Health, 12(1), 845.

Jupp, J. (2001). The Australian people: an encyclopedia of the nation, its people and their origins. Cambridge University Press.

Kaestner, R., & Malamud, O. (2014). Self-selection and international migration: New evidence from Mexico. Review of Economics and Statistics, 96(1), 78-91.

Museum Victoria Australia. (2014). History of immigration from China. Retrieved from

Mutchler, J. E., Prakash, A., & Burr, J. A. (2007). The demography of disability and the effects of immigrant history: Older Asians in the United States. Demography, 44(2), 251-263.

New South Wales Department of Education. (2015). Australian Communities: Vietnamese Australians. Retrieved from

Phillips, J., & Spinks, H. (2013). Boat arrivals in Australia since 1976. Department of Immigration and Citizenship, Parliamentary Library: Australian Government. Retrieved from;fileType=application/pdf#search=%22boat%20arrivals%20in%20Australia%20since%22.

World Health Organisation. (2001). International classification of functioning disability and health. Retrieved from

World Health Organization. (2011). World report on disability. World Health Organization.

Zhou, Q. (2016). Accessing disability services by people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds in Australia. Disability and rehabilitation, 38(9), 844-852.