To read this content please select one of the options below:

Exploring the income, savings and debt levels of autistic adults living in Australia

Ru Ying Cai (Aspect Research Centre for Autism Practice, Autism Spectrum Australia, Sydney, Australia and School of Psychological Sciences, Monash University, Melbourne, Australia)
Emma Gallagher (Aspect Research Centre for Autism Practice, Autism Spectrum Australia, Sydney, Australia)
Kaaren Haas (Aspect Research Centre for Autism Practice, Autism Spectrum Australia, Sydney, Australia)
Abigail Love (Aspect Research Centre for Autism Practice, Autism Spectrum Australia, Sydney, Australia)
Vicki Gibbs (Aspect Research Centre for Autism Practice, Australia Spectrum Australia, Sydney, Australia and Faculty of Medicine and Health, University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia)

Advances in Autism

ISSN: 2056-3868

Article publication date: 3 August 2022

Issue publication date: 18 January 2023

29

Abstract

Purpose

Many autistic adults experience unemployment, which may impact their financial circumstances. However, no research has examined their personal financial circumstances. Therefore, this study aims to examine the self-reported income, savings and debt of autistic adults living in Australia, as well as the demographic associates and predictors of income and savings.

Design/methodology/approach

Sixty-four autistic adults aged 18–67 years (Mage = 32.78, SDage = 11.36) completed an online survey containing questions relating to their financial circumstances and the autism spectrum quotient-short.

Findings

Overall, the authors found that many autistic adults are financially disadvantaged. The mode of income levels was below AU$25,000, which is substantially lower than the mean annual Australian full-time income of AU$89,123. Higher savings was associated with not having any debt or having a greater ability to repay debt. Autism traits were positively associated with income levels. As predicted, being employed was associated with and predicted higher income. People who were employed were four times more likely to have a higher income than unemployed individuals. The authors did not find a relationship between having a co-occurring mental condition with income or savings. The authors also did not find a significant association between employment status and savings.

Practical implications

These research findings have implications on how we can improve the financial circumstances of autistic adults and provide additional evidence for the importance of increasing employment opportunities for autistic individuals.

Originality/value

To the best of the authors’ knowledge, this is the first study to examine the personal financial circumstances of autistic adults.

Keywords

Citation

Cai, R.Y., Gallagher, E., Haas, K., Love, A. and Gibbs, V. (2023), "Exploring the income, savings and debt levels of autistic adults living in Australia", Advances in Autism, Vol. 9 No. 1, pp. 53-64. https://doi.org/10.1108/AIA-01-2022-0004

Publisher

:

Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2022, Emerald Publishing Limited

Related articles