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Dementia facts and figures

Key points

  • Dementia is the second leading cause of death of all Australians1. Provisional data suggests dementia will soon be the leading cause of death.2

  • Dementia is the leading cause of death for Australian women.3

  • In 2024, it is estimated that more than 421,000 Australians live with dementia. Without a medical breakthrough, the number of people with dementia is expected to increase to more than 812,500 by 2054.4

  • In 2024, it is estimated there are almost 29,000 people living with younger onset dementia, expected to rise to almost 41,000 people by 2054. This can include people in their 30s, 40s and 50s.3

  • More than 1.6 million people in Australia are involved in the care of someone living with dementia.5

  • 2 in 3 people with dementia are thought to be living in the community.6

  • More than two-thirds (68.1%) of aged care residents have moderate to severe cognitive impairment.7

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.

Prevalence of all forms of dementia

Prevalence summary – National, State and Territory – all forms of dementia( 92 kB)

Federal Electoral Divisions - Prevalence Data Estimates 2024-2054( 855 kB)

State and Territory Electoral Divisions – Prevalence Data Estimates 2024-2054( 702 kB)

Local Government Areas – Prevalence Data Estimates 2024-2054( 575 kB)

In 2024 it is estimated there are more than 421,000 people living with all forms of dementia in Australia. This figure is projected to increase to more than 812,500 by 2054. 

Australian Capital Territory (ACT): In 2024 it is estimated there are almost 5,900 people living with all forms of dementia. This figure is projected to increase to almost 12,300 by 2054.

New South Wales (NSW): In 2024 it is estimated there are more than 138,200 people living with all forms of dementia. This figure is projected to increase to almost 252,800 by 2054.

Northern Territory (NT): In 2024 it is estimated there are around 1,700 people living with all forms of dementia. This figure is projected to increase to more than 3,600 by 2054.

Queensland (QLD): In 2024 it is estimated there are around 82,270 people living with all forms of dementia. This figure is projected to increase to around 168,300 by 2054.

South Australia (SA): In 2024 it is estimated there are around 34,170 people living with all forms of dementia. This figure is projected to increase to around 55,600 by 2054.

Tasmania (TAS): In 2024 it is estimated there are more than 10,600 people living with all forms of dementia. This figure is projected to increase to around 16,500 by 2054.

Victoria (VIC): In 2024 it is estimated there are more than 107,600 people living with all forms of dementia. This figure is projected to increase to more than 216,400 by 2054.

Western Australia (WA): In 2024 it is estimated there are more than 40,500 people living with all forms of dementia. This figure is projected to increase to almost 87,000 by 2054. 

Prevalence of younger onset dementia

Dementia Prevalence Data Estimates – Younger onset dementia 2024-2054( 59 kB)

Younger onset dementia refers to diagnosis of any form of dementia in a person under age 65.

In 2024 it is estimated there are almost 29,000 people living with younger onset dementia in Australia. This figure is projected to increase to more than 41,000 by 2054.

Australian Capital Territory (ACT): In 2024 it is estimated there are around 430 people living with younger onset dementia. This figure is projected to increase to more than 650 by 2054 with a projected percentage change of 51%.

New South Wales (NSW): In 2024 it is estimated there are around 9,250 people living with younger onset dementia. This figure is projected to increase to more than 12,800 by 2054 with a projected percentage change of 38%.

Northern Territory (NT): In 2024 it is estimated there are around 240 people living with younger onset dementia. This figure is projected to increase to more than 360 by 2054 with a projected percentage change of 50%.

Queensland (QLD): In 2024 it is estimated there are more than 5,900 people living with younger onset dementia. This figure is projected to increase to almost 8,300 by 2054 with a projected percentage change of 41%.

South Australia (SA): In 2024 it is estimated there are around 2,100 people living with younger onset dementia. This figure is projected to increase to almost 2,300 by 2054 with a projected percentage change of 10%.

Tasmania (TAS): In 2024 it is estimated there are around 700 people living with younger onset dementia. This figure is projected to remain around 700 by 2054.

Victoria (VIC): In 2024 it is estimated there are around 7,360 people living with younger onset dementia. This figure is projected to increase to almost 11,550 by 2054 with a projected percentage change of 57%.

Western Australia (WA): In 2024 it is estimated there are almost 3,000 people living with younger onset dementia. This figure is projected to increase to more than 4,250 by 2054 with a projected percentage change of 42%.

About this data

The prevalence data estimates and projections for dementia were modelled by the National Centre for Monitoring Dementia (NCMD) at the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) established in 2021. The team has used a standard demographic modelling approach, in which age-sex dementia prevalence rates calculated by the AIHW were applied to age-sex population estimates and projected population estimates.

The NCMD undertakes routine monitoring of dementia data to inform specific policy needs for Australians living with dementia. There are ongoing efforts to improve the accuracy of dementia prevalence estimates in Australia. As a result, the approach used to estimate the prevalence of dementia will likely be superseded in coming years as findings from these initiatives become available.

If you have any questions regarding this data or would like to learn more about the 2024 dementia prevalence data, please contact our policy team at policyteam@dementia.org.au.

References

  1. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (2022) Dementia in Australia, AIHW, Australian Government, accessed 20 January 2023.
  2. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare.
  3. Dementia Australia (2023) Dementia Prevalence Data 2024-2054, commissioned research undertaken by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare instead of Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (2022) Dementia in Australia, AIHW, Australian Government, accessed 20 January 2023.
  4. Dementia Australia (2023) Dementia Prevalence Data 2024-2054, commissioned research undertaken by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare instead of Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (2022) Dementia in Australia, AIHW, Australian Government, accessed 20 January 2023.
  5. Based on Dementia Australia’s analysis of the following publications - Department of Health and Aged Care, 2020 Aged Care Workforce Census Report, 2020, p. 6; Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (2022) Dementia in Australia, AIHW, Australian Government, accessed 20 January 2023
  6. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (2022) Dementia in Australia, AIHW, Australian Government, accessed 20 January 2023.
  7. AIHW suggests that more than half of all aged care residents have dementia: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (2022) Dementia in Australia, AIHW, Australian Government, accessed 20 January 2020

     

See also: Livingston G, Huntley J, Sommerlad A, et al. Dementia prevention, intervention, and care: 2020 report of the Lancet Commission. The Lancet 2020.

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Last updated
1 February 2024