Count migraine in the Census!

Count migraine in the Census!

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At 5,000 signatures, this petition is more likely to get picked up by local news!
Migraine Australia started this petition to Australian Bureau of Statistics and

This year's Census includes a new question on long-term health conditions, but migraine has intentionally been left out. This petition is asking the ABS to include migraine in question 28, and count any responses written in on the paper Census form.

Question 28 on the Census asks if you have had any of THESE long term health conditions:

  • Arthritis
  • Asthma
  • Cancer (including remission)
  • Dementia (including Alzhemier’s)
  • Diabetes (excluding gestational diabetes)
  • Heart disease (including heart attack or angina)
  • Kidney disease
  • Lung condition (including COPD or emphysema)
  • Mental health condition (including depression or anxiety)

...or any other long term health condition. Read more about this new Census Question here. 

Of course, not all diseases can be included, and we're not saying these diseases aren't worthy of good reporting. We are saying it's pretty silly to exclude one of the most common disorders in the country from this question.

Here's the reason why the ABS chose these conditions: 

"We have focused on the long-term health conditions listed because they contribute significantly to the burden of illness and injury in the Australian community."

Migraine is one of the most prevalent health conditions in the world, costs the Australian economy $35b (yes, with a b) a year, and affects nearly 5 million Australians. Take out mental health conditions and it's a bigger burden to this country than all those other disorders combined. It's not because migraine doesn't contribute significantly to the burden of illness and injury.

So what was the reason for leaving migraine out?

Quite simply, we don't count. 

The consultation on this question happened in 2018 before Migraine Australia existed. It was brought to our attention in the very first weeks of operating in 2019 when one of our members took part in the testing of the Census questionnaire sent it to us with a very appropriate WTF??

We immediately reached out to the ABS, and were told in writing and by phone that migraine couldn't be included because it's not captured in the current National Health Survey either. The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare have never done a report on migraine ever. There is no good government data on migraine.

(There is a white paper produced by Deloitte Access Economics available here.)

So basically, we don't count because we've never been counted.

Migraine is the elephant in the room of all things health and welfare in Australia because no one wants to see the size of the problem. 

The lack of basic numbers on how many people live with migraine is not a small issue. It's a big one. In order for people living with migraine to get the support that we need to get out of the dark, we need to know the size of the problem! 

The ABS is very fond of telling people how important the Census is because it informs government decisions. Well, it's only important if it is reliable data. Lumping migraine into 'other' makes the numbers from question 28 pretty meaningless.

Please sign this petition asking the ABS to add migraine to question 28 of the Census, and count any long-term health condition written in on the paper form. 

We know that the paper forms have already been printed, which is why we're encouraging anyone with long-term health conditions to ask for a paper form, and write in their conditions that are not being counted. Let's fix question 28. 

Whether you live with constant migraine attacks or have only had a few in your life, it's time to get migraine out of the dark. We need to be counted. Please sign and share today. 

0 have signed. Let’s get to 5,000!
At 5,000 signatures, this petition is more likely to get picked up by local news!