Key facts and statistics for media

Key facts and statistics 2017

Read, download or listen to the key facts and statistics PDF file

- updated February 2017

Australian statistics

  • There are more than 413,106 Australians living with dementia 1
  • Of the people currently living with dementia 55% (228,238) are female and 45% (184,868) are male 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 reach 1,100,890 by 2056 1
  • Currently around 244 people each day are joining the population with dementia. The number of new cases of dementia will increase to 318 people per day by 2025 and over 650 people per day by 2056 1
  • There are an estimated 25,938 people with younger onset dementia, expected to rise to 29,375 by 2025 and 42,252 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

The impact of dementia in Australia

  • The projections suggest that by 2025 some 255,800 carers will be needed in the community 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
  • 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
  • Dementia is the single greatest cause of disability in older Australians (aged 65 years or older) 3 and the third leading cause of disability burden overall 3
  • 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) 4
  • Almost half (44%) of permanent residents with dementia also had a diagnosis of a mental illness 4

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
  • 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 2017

International statistics

  • Worldwide, there are more than 46.8 million people with dementia today and 131.5 million predicted by 2050 5
  • In high-income countries only 20-50% of people with dementia are recognised and documented in primary care 6
  • The total estimated worldwide costs of dementia were US$818 billion in 2015 5
  • If dementia were a country, it would be the world’s 18th largest economy 5

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 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)
3 Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (2012) Dementia in Australia
4 Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (2012) Residential Aged Care in Australia 2010-2011: A Statistical Overview (cat. No. AGE 68. Canberra)
5 Alzheimer’s Disease International (2015) World Alzheimer Report 2015: The Global Impact of Dementia - an Analysis of Prevalence, Incidence, Cost and Trends
6 Alzheimer’s Disease International (2011) World Alzheimer Report 2011: The benefits of early diagnosis and intervention

Downloadable facts and statistics

The key facts and statistics published on this page are also available as a PDF file which you can download, or listen to.

The economic cost of dementia in Austalia 2016-2056

The cited report National Centre for Social and Economic Modelling NATSEM (2016) Economic Cost of Dementia in Australia 2016-2056 is available in summary at and the full PDF report can be downloaded or listened to at