Arts and Disability Statistics

Artists with disability

  • Earn on average 42% less than their counterparts​ (1)
  • Experience higher levels of unemployment – 1/3 of artists with disability are unemployed compared to 1/4 of artists without disability) (1)
  • Experience numerous barriers within the arts that result in only 9% of professional artists identifying as disabled, despite 18% of Australians identifying as people with disability (2)

Audiences with disability

  • Proportionally, audiences with disability attend the arts as much as non-disabled audiences (3)
  • 24% of audiences with disability are likely to volunteer in the arts, compared to 14% of non-disabled audiences without disability (3)
  • 52% of audiences with disability engage with arts online, compared to 41% of non-disabled audiences (3)

People with Disability

  • People with disability experience higher rates of unemployment, at a rate of 10% (4)
  • People with disability are twice as likely to be in financial stress than those who do not have disability – 20% of people with disability compared to 9% of non-disabled people (5)
  • 45% of people with disability in Australia are living either near or below the poverty line, more than double the OECD average of 22% (6)
  • 52% of complaints lodged with Australian Human Rights Commission are against businesses and related to disability (7)
  • Australia ranks 21st out of 29 OECD countries in employment participation rates for people with disability (8)


(1) Throsby D & Petetskaya K 2017, Making Art Work: An Economic Study of Professional Artists in Australia, Australia Council for the Arts.
(2) Research overview of arts and disability in Australia | Office for the Arts
(3) 2016 Connecting Australians: National Arts Participation Survey Australia Council for the Arts
(4) Disability, Ageing and Carers, Australia: Summary of Findings, 2018 | Australian Bureau of Statistics (
(5) People with disability in Australia 2022: in brief, About – Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (
(6) Price Waterhouse Coopers, 2011. ‘Disability expectations – Investing in a better life, a stronger Australia’
(7) Australian Human Rights Commission 2021-22 Complaint statistics
(8) Price Waterhouse Coopers, 2011. ‘Disability expectations – Investing in a better life, a stronger Australia’.


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