Summary of dementia statistics in Australia.

  • There are more than 342,800 Australians living with dementia
  • This number is expected to increase to 400,000 in less than ten years
  • Without a medical breakthrough, the number of people with dementia is expected to be almost 900,000 by 2050
  • Each week, there are more than 1,800 new cases of dementia in Australia; approx. one person every 6 minutes. This is expected to grow to 7,400 new cases each week by 2050
  • There are approximately 25,100 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
  • An estimated 1.2 million people are involved in the care of a person with dementia
  • Dementia is the second leading cause of death in Australia and there is no cure
  • On average symptoms of dementia are noticed by families three years before a firm diagnosis is made

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
  • Australia faces a shortage of more than 150,000 paid and unpaid carers for people with dementia by 2029
  • Total direct health and aged care system expenditure on people with dementia was at least $4.9 billion in 2009-10
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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)
  • Almost half (44%) of permanent residents with dementia also had a diagnosis of a mental illness

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, and will begin to bring dementia research funding into line with other chronic diseases 
  • 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 2015

International statistics

  • Worldwide, there are more than 44 million people with dementia today and 135 million predicted by 2050 
  • In high income countries only 20-50% of people with dementia are recognised and documented in primary care 
  • The total estimated worldwide costs of dementia were US$604 billion in 2010 
  • If dementia were a country, it would be the world’s 18th largest economy

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, fronto temporal dementia and dementia with Lewy Bodies. Dementia can happen to anybody, but it is more common after the age of 65.


Download the key facts and statistics PDF file

- last updated June 2015