Key facts and statistics for media - NSW

Dementia statistics in NSW

Dementia is the term used to describe the symptoms of a large group of illnesses which cause a progressive decline in a person’s cognitive ability. It is a broad term used to describe a loss of memory, intellect, rationality, social skills and physical functioning. 

Dementia can happen to anybody, but it is more common after the age of 65. However, people in their 40s and 50s can also have dementia. Dementia is fatal and is not a normal part of ageing. While there is, as yet, no cure, scientific research shows it may be possible to reduce your risk of developing dementia, or delay the onset - Your Brain Matters: leading a healthy lifestyle physically, mentally and socially.

Find out about the estimated dementia prevalence rates in your state electoral district based on research by Alzheimer's Australia NSW and Deloitte Access Economics in August 2014.

Australian statistics

  • There are more than 413,106 Australians living with dementia (184,868 (45%) males and 228,238 (55%) females). 1
  • By 2025, the number of people with dementia is expected to increase to 536,164.1 Without a medical breakthrough, the number of people with dementia is expected to be almost 1,100,890 by 2056.1
  • In NSW, there is an estimated 138,700 people with dementia in 2017, which is estimated to increase to 175,000 by 2025 and 326,000 by 2056.1
  • Currently around 244 people are joining the population with dementia each day. The number of new cases of dementia will increase to 318 people per day by 2025 and over 650 people by 2056.1
  • Three in ten people over the age of 85 and almost one in ten people over 65 have dementia. 1
  • In 2017, there is an estimated 25,938 people with younger onset dementia, expected to rise to 29,375 people by 2025 and 42,252 people by 2056.1
  • Dementia is the second leading cause of death of Australians 2 contributing to 5.4% of all deaths in males and 10.6% of all deaths in females each year.1
  • The lifestyle risk and protective factors for dementia offer very real opportunities for prevention programs that reduce the number of Australians developing dementia each year.
  • Reducing the annual age-sex specific incidence rates for dementia in people aged 65 years and above by 5% would lead to a 7% reduction in the number of people with dementia in the population by 2025 and a 24% reduction by 2056. As a result, there would be nearly 36,400 fewer people with dementia in 2025 and almost 261,000 fewer people by 2056 compared with the current projections of the prevalence of dementia over the next 40 years. This could save more than $120 billion by 2056.1

1 The National Centre for Social and Economic Modelling NATSEM (2016) Economic Cost of Dementia in Australia 2016-2056
2 Australian Bureau of Statistics (2015) Causes of Death, Australia, 2015 (cat. no. 3303.0)

The impact of dementia in Australia

  • In 2017, there is estimated to be 196,490 carers in the community caring for people with dementia, and 94,670 carers working in the cared accommodation sector. The projections suggest that by 2025 some 255,800 carers will be needed in the community for people with dementia and 122,100 carers working in the cared accommodation sector. These numbers are expected to double by 2056 to around 525,540 carers in the community and 250,420 paid carers in residential aged care.1
  • In 2017, dementia is estimated to cost Australia $14.67 billion. By 2025, the total cost of dementia is predicted to increase to $18.7 billion in today’s dollars, and by 2056, to over $36.8 billion.1
  • In NSW, dementia is expected to cost $4.7 billion in 2017, which is expected to increase to $5.96 billion in eight years, by 2025, and to $10.6 billion by 2056.1
  • Dementia is the single greatest cause of disability in older Australians (aged 65 years or older) 1 and the third leading cause of disability burden overall.3
  • People with dementia account for 52% of all residents in residential aged care facilities.1

1 Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (2012) Dementia in Australia

Research Funding

  • In 2013 the Federal Government committed an additional $200 million for dementia research over five years, significantly boosting 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.

International statistics

  • Worldwide, there are more than 46.8 million people with dementia today and 131.5 million predicted by 2050. 1
  • The total estimated worldwide costs of dementia were US$818 billion in 2015. 4
  • If dementia were a country, it would be the world’s 18th largest economy. 4

1 Alzheimer’s Disease International (2015) World Alzheimer Report 2015: The Global Impact of Dementia - an Analysis of Prevalence, Incidence, Cost and Trends

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