Down syndrome population statistics

The population of people with Down syndrome in Australia is now over 13,000.

As there is no national, state or territory register of Australians with Down syndrome (with the exception of the IDEA database in Western Australia) this number cannot be rigorously confirmed. However, Down Syndrome Australia is confident that our collation of what little data is available is accurate.

The number of Australian babies born per year with Down syndrome has been over 270 since 2007.

This number has been extrapolated from the recorded birth numbers from four states per the table below. The calculation is based on the knowledge that the geographic spread of the population of people with Down syndrome matches that of the general population.

 

 Population 

2003

2004

2005

2006

2007

2008

2009

 NSW[i]

33% 

103

98

73

90

85

88

 

 VIC[ii]

25% 

47

54

58

62

62

75

67

 QLD[iii]

20% 

 

 

 

 

71

58

56

 WA[iv]

10% 

22

30

27

24

21

21

29

 Total

 (% pop)

 

172 

 (68%) 

182

(68%)

158

(68%)

176

(68%)

239

(88%)

242

(88%)

152

(55%)

 Extrapolated  national  total

100% 

253

268

232

259

271

275

276

 

In 2009 the number of babies born in Australia was 299,220[v]. If 270 were born with Down syndrome, the calculated birth rate would be 1 in every 1,108 babies.

The rate of Australian babies born with Down syndrome is approximately 1:1,100.

This is lower than the worldwide rate of around 1 in 700 because of the high termination rates in Australia.

In 2010 there were 1,373[vi] people with Down syndrome living in Western Australia. As 10% of the Australian population reside in WA it can be confidently deduced that the population of people with Down syndrome in Australia is over 13,000.

In 2010 the total population of people in Western Australia was 2,352,215[vii]. Therefore the overall population rate of people with Down syndrome is approximately 1:1,700.

The difference between the birth rate of 1:1100 and the overall population rate of 1:1700 is primarily due to the extremely low life expectancy of people with Down syndrome born prior to the mid 1980’s. However, note that current life expectancy for people with Down syndrome of around 60 years is lower than the general population.

Therefore the population of people with Down syndrome in Australia is growing.

From the records of the State and Territory Down syndrome associations and various other State and Territory data sources we believe the approximate breakdown of babies born and overall population of people with Down syndrome to be as follows: 

 

 Estimated babies born

 Population

 (based on Aust. pop of 22,342,000)

 New South Wales

90

4,340

 Victoria

67

3,285

 Queensland

56

2,630

 Western Australia

29

1,315

 South Australia

20

920

 Tasmania

4

260

 ACT

4

260

 Northern Territory

2

130

TOTAL 

272

13,140

This information is current as of October 2013.


[i] Mothers and Babies reports – via NSW Department of Health http://www.health.nsw.gov.au/hsnsw/Pages/mothers-and-babies-2010.aspx

[ii] Birth Defects in Victoria reports – via Victorian Department of Health Consultative Council on Obstetric & Paediatric Mortality & Morbidity http://www.health.vic.gov.au/ccopmm/statistics/bdv.htm

[iii] Congenital Anomalies in Queensland via Queensland Department of Health http://www.health.qld.gov.au/hic/tech_report/anasreport_1.pdf

[iv] The Telethon Institute for Child Health Research Data http://www.childhealthresearch.org.au/our-research/projects-index/i/idea-intellectual-disability-exploring-answers.aspx

[v] Australian Bureau of Statistics http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/mf/3201.0

[vi] The Telethon Institute for Child Health Research http://www.childhealthresearch.org.au/our-research/projects-index/i/idea-intellectual-disability-exploring-answers.aspx

[vii] The Telethon Institute for Child Health Research http://www.childhealthresearch.org.au/our-research/projects-index/i/idea-intellectual-disability-exploring-answers.aspx