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Latest release

Deaths, Australia methodology

Reference period
2018
Released
25/09/2019
Next release Unknown
First release

Explanatory notes

Introduction

1 This release contains statistics for deaths and mortality in Australia. Detailed information can be obtained from data cubes (in Microsoft Excel format) and ABS.Stat datasets available electronically, from the Data downloads.

Populations used in this release

2 ERPs used in this release are based on the results of the 2016 Census and are as follows:

Scope and coverage

3 Statistics in this release relate to the number of deaths registered during the calendar year shown, unless otherwise stated. Statistics relating to deaths by year of occurrence can be obtained from ABS.Stat datasets available electronically, from the Data downloads.

Scope of death registration statistics

4 The ABS Death Registrations collection includes all deaths that occurred and were registered in Australia, including deaths of persons whose place of usual residence was overseas. Deaths of Australian residents that occurred outside Australia may be registered by individual Registrars, but are not included in ABS death statistics. However, deaths of identified Australian diplomats while overseas are included, see paragraph 5 for further information.

5 The scope of the statistics includes:

  • all deaths being registered for the first time;
  • deaths of temporary visitors to Australia (including visitors from Norfolk Island);
  • deaths that occurred within Australian Territorial waters;
  • deaths that occurred in Australian Antarctic Territories or other external territories;
  • Deaths occurred on Norfolk Island from 1 July 2016 are included in this publication. This is due to the introduction of the Norfolk Island Legislation Amendment Act 2015. Norfolk Island deaths are included in statistics for "Other Territories" as well as totals for all of Australia. Deaths occurring on Norfolk Island prior to 1 July 2016 were not in scope for death statistics;
  • deaths that occurred in transit (i.e. on ships or planes) if registered in the Australian state or territory of 'next port of call';
  • deaths of Australian nationals employed overseas at Australian legations and consular offices (i.e. deaths of Australian diplomats while overseas) where able to be identified; and
  • deaths that occurred in earlier years that have not previously been registered (late registrations).
     

6 The scope of the statistics excludes:

  • still births/fetal deaths (these are included in perinatal death statistics published in Causes of Death, Australia, (cat. no. 3303.0), and previously, Perinatal Deaths, Australia, (cat. no. 3304.0));
  • repatriation of human remains of those whose death occurred overseas; and
  • deaths of foreign diplomatic staff in Australia (where able to be identified).
     

7 The scope for each reference year of the Death Registrations collection includes:

  • deaths registered in the reference year and received by the ABS in the reference year;
  • deaths registered in the reference year and received by the ABS in the first quarter of the subsequent year; and
  • deaths registered in the years prior to the reference year but not received by the ABS until the reference year or the first quarter of the subsequent year, provided that these records have not been included in any statistics from earlier periods.
     

8 From 2007 onwards, data for a particular reference year includes all deaths registered in Australia for the reference year that are received by the ABS by the end of the March quarter of the subsequent year. Death records received by the ABS during the March quarter of 2019 which were initially registered in 2018 (but for which registration was not fully completed until 2019) were assigned to the 2018 reference year. Any registrations relating to 2018 which were received by the ABS from April 2019 will be assigned to the 2019 reference year. Approximately 4% to 7% of deaths occurring in one year are not registered until the following year or later.

9 Prior to 2007, the scope for the reference year of the Death Registrations collection included:

  • deaths registered in the reference year and received by the ABS in the reference year;
  • deaths registered in the reference year and received by the ABS in the first quarter of the subsequent year; and
  • deaths registered during the two years prior to the reference year but not received by the ABS until the reference year.
     

Coverage of death statistics

10 Ideally, for compiling annual time series, the number of deaths should be recorded as all those occurring within a given reference period such as a calendar year. Due to lags in registration of deaths and the provision of that information to the ABS from the state and territory Registries of Births, Deaths and Marriages, data in this release is presented on a year of registration basis, unless otherwise stated.

11 In effect, there are three dates attributable to each death registration:

  • the date of occurrence (of the death);
  • the date of registration or inclusion on the state/territory register; and
  • the month and year in which the registered event is provided to the ABS.
     

Classifications

Marital status

12 Marital status relates to the registered marital status of the deceased at the time of death and refers to formally registered marriages or divorces for which a certificate is held.

13 From 2007 onwards, the categories of separated but not divorced and marital status not stated are also included in total deaths.

Geography

14 This issue of Deaths, Australia includes data cubes containing death and mortality statistics on the Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS) and the Standard Australian Classification of Countries (SACC).

15 For further information, refer to the Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS): Volume 1 - Main Structure and Greater Capital City Statistical Areas, July 2016 (cat. no. 1270.0.55.001) and the Standard Australian Classification of Countries (SACC), 2016 (cat. no. 1269.0).

Data sources

16 Registration of deaths is the responsibility of the state and territory Registries of Births, Deaths and Marriages. Information about the deceased is acquired from a Death Registration Form (DRF) which is completed by the funeral director, based on information supplied by a relative or other person acquainted with the deceased, or by an official of the institution where the death occurred. As part of the registration process, information on the cause of death is either supplied by the medical practitioner certifying the death on a Medical Certificate of Cause of Death (MCCD), or supplied as a result of a coronial investigation. This information is provided to the ABS by individual Registrars for coding and compilation into aggregate statistics shown in this release. Core data items are collected in all states and territories and therefore statistics at the national level are available for key characteristics. Some states collect additional information.

State and territory data

17 As a result of an amendment made in 1992 to section 17(a) of the Acts Interpretation Act 1901-1973 (Cwlth) the Indian Ocean territories of Christmas Island and Cocos (Keeling) Islands have been included as part of geographic Australia, hence another category of the state and territory classification has been created. This category is known as 'Other Territories' and includes Christmas Island, the Cocos (Keeling) Islands and Jervis Bay Territory. From 1 July 2016, 'Other Territories' also include Norfolk Island following the introduction of the Norfolk Island Legislation Amendment Act 2015.

18 Prior to 1993, deaths of persons usually resident in Christmas Island or Cocos (Keeling) Islands were included with Off-Shore Areas and Migratory in Western Australia, while deaths of persons usually resident in Jervis Bay Territory were included with the Australian Capital Territory. In 2018, there were 3 deaths of persons usually resident in Christmas Island, the Cocos (Keeling) Islands or Jervis Bay Territory, and 19 deaths of persons usually resident in Norfolk Island.

19 Death statistics for states and territories have been compiled and presented according to the state or territory of usual residence of the deceased, regardless of where in Australia the death occurred and was registered, except where otherwise stated. Deaths which took place outside Australia are excluded from the statistics, with the exception of Australian diplomats, where identified.

20 In the following table, data is presented on both a state or territory of registration and state or territory of usual residence basis. Deaths which took place outside Australia are excluded from the statistics, with the exception of Australian diplomats, where identified. Deaths of persons who were usual residents of Australia's Other Territories (Christmas Island, Cocos (Keeling) Islands, Jervis Bay Territory and Norfolk Island) cannot be registered in Other Territories but are registered in other Australian states and territories.

Deaths registered in 2018, state or territory of usual residence by state or territory of registration

Usual residenceRegistration
NSWVic.QldSAWATas.NTACTAust.
NSW52,70719939424209427753,633
Vic.25537,840623221561038,231
Qld1654430,607101099630,860
SA18281513,4868314-13,571
WA8811914,591221114,652
Tas.10238114,237134,287
NT378213-1,067-1,110
ACT498311-12,0622,127
Aust.(a)(b)53,23538,15731,10813,58614,6614,2631,1222,361158,493
- nil or rounded to zero (including null cells).
a. Includes Other Territories.
b. Deaths occurred on Norfolk Island from 1 July 2016 are included in this publication. See Explanatory note 5 for more information.


21 In 2018, there were 401 deaths registered in Australia of persons who usually lived overseas. These have been included in this release with state or territory of usual residence classified according to the state or territory in which the death was registered.

Deaths, persons usually resident overseas
State or territory of registration201320142015201620172018
NSW10710812199122152
Vic.515163666867
Qld766676658583
SA82311161618
WA756270705557
Tas.887777
NT148713713
ACT136154
Aust.(a)342327361339365401
  1. Deaths occurred in Norfolk Island from 1 July 2016 are included in this publication. See Explanatory note 5 for more information.
     

Calculation of standardised death rates (SDRs)

22 SDRs for the total population for Australia and state/territory are based on death registration data for the reference year only.

23 SDRs for Australia, state/territory and sub-state/territory by Indigenous status are averaged using data for the three years, ending in the reference year. They are calculated for each calendar year and then averaged.

Data quality

24 In compiling death statistics, the ABS employs a variety of measures to improve the quality of the death registrations collection. While every opportunity is taken to ensure that the highest quality of statistics are provided, the following are known issues associated with the statistics included in this release.

Interval between occurrence and registration of deaths

25 For the most part, statistics in this release refer to deaths registered during the calendar year shown. There is usually an interval between the occurrence and registration of a death (referred to as a registration 'lag') and as a result, some deaths occurring in one year are not registered until the following year or later. This can be caused by either a delay in the submission of a completed form to the registry, or a delay by the registry in processing the death. Deaths which occur in November and December are also likely to be registered in the following year.

Deaths registered in 2018, year of occurrence by state or territory of registration
Year of occurrenceNSW (%)Vic. (%)Qld (%)SA (%)WA (%)Tas. (%)NT (%)ACT (%)Aust.(a) (%)
201890.993.094.495.195.095.985.293.893.0
20179.16.75.54.84.83.913.96.16.9
2016----0.1-0.1--
2015 and earlier-0.20.10.10.10.10.8-0.1

- nil or rounded to zero (including null cells)

  1. Deaths occurred in Norfolk Island from 1 July 2016 are included in this publication. See Explanatory note 5 for more information.
     

26 Of the 158,493 deaths registered in 2018, 93.0% occurred in 2018, while 6.9% occurred in 2017 and the remainder occurred in 2016 or earlier years. Any instances where year of occurrence was recorded as unknown are included in the 2015 and earlier category.

Unknown infant age at death

27 For some infant deaths, only limited information for age at death is known. These deaths are included in the following categories:

  • not stated minutes and not stated hours (i.e. age at death was under one day) are included in 'Under one day';
  • not stated days (i.e. age at death was at least one day but under one month) are included in 'One week to under four weeks'; and
  • not stated months (i.e. age at death was at least one month but under one year) are included in 'Four weeks to under one year'.
     

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander deaths and mortality rates

28 Registration of deaths is the responsibility of the state and territory Registries of Births, Deaths and Marriages. Information about the deceased is acquired from a Death Registration Form (DRF). All states and territories use information from the DRF to identify an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander death. In addition, some states and territories also use the Medical Certificate of Cause of Death (MCCD) to identify an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander death. In 2007, the MCCD was introduced in South Australia, Western Australia, Tasmania, the Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory. The Queensland Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages introduced the MCCD in 2015. This resulted in a noticeable decrease in the number of deaths for which the Indigenous status was 'not stated' and an increase in the number of deaths identified as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander in Queensland. If the Indigenous status reported in the DRF does not agree with that in the MCCD, an identification from either source that the deceased was an Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander person is given preference over non-Indigenous.

29 While it is considered likely that most deaths of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians are registered, a proportion of these deaths are not reported as such by the family, health worker or funeral director during the death registration process. That is, whilst data is provided to the ABS for the Indigenous status question (99.3% of all deaths registered in 2018), there are concerns regarding the accuracy of the data. The funeral director may not always directly ask the Indigenous status question of the deceased's relatives and friends.

30 This release includes the number of registered deaths of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians for all jurisdictions. However, due to the data quality issues outlined below, detailed disaggregations of deaths of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians are provided only for New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Western Australia and the Northern Territory. The 'total' variable in detailed disaggregations is an aggregation of the four states and the Northern Territory (Total five state/territory).

31 There are several data collection forms on which people are asked to state whether they or the persons for whom they are reporting are an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australian. Due to a number of factors, the results are not always consistent. The likelihood that a person will report, or be recorded, as an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australian on a specific form is known as the propensity to identify.

32 Propensity to identify and be recorded as an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australian is determined by a range of factors, including:

  • how the information is collected (e.g. Census, survey, or administrative data);
  • who provides the information (e.g. the person in question, a relative, a health professional, or an official);
  • the perception of why the information is required, and how it will be used;
  • education programs about reporting as an Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Australian; and
  • cultural aspects and feelings associated with reporting as an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australian.
     

33 In addition to those deaths recorded as either Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australian or non-Indigenous, a number of deaths occur each year where Indigenous status is not stated on the death registration form. In 2018, there were 1,062 deaths registered in Australia for whom Indigenous status was not stated, representing 0.7% of all deaths registered.

34 Data presented in this release may therefore underestimate the level of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander deaths and mortality in Australia. Lags in registrations may also affect the reliability of measures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mortality. Caution should be exercised when interpreting data for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians presented in this release, especially with regard to year-to-year changes.

35 Due to the ongoing concern about the mortality rates of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians relative to the total population, a number of projects have been undertaken to investigate the quality of these data. These include:

  • investigations by the ABS through the Indigenous Mortality Study as part of the Census Data Enhancement Project to investigate the consistency of Indigenous status reporting between death registrations and the Census. See Information Paper: Death registrations to Census linkage project - Key findings for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, 2011- 2012 (cat. no. 3302.0.55.005), released 15 November 2013.
  • improvements undertaken by the Queensland Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages in December quarter 2010 finalised death registrations where there was previously incomplete information. As part of the registration of outstanding deaths initiative, 374 deaths were registered, of which approximately 76% were deaths of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians. See Technical Note in the Explanatory Notes tab of Deaths, Australia, 2010 (cat. no. 3302.0) for more information.
  • ABS investigations into the unusual volatility in the number of deaths of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians registered in Western Australia in the years 2007 to 2009.
  • ongoing data integration projects undertaken by several state and territory government departments using health and death records.
  • a Council of Australian Governments (COAG)-funded assessment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians reporting in key data sets, for example, the birth and death registration systems managed by the state and territory Registries of Births, Deaths and Marriages.
     

Principles on the use of direct age-standardisation

36 In the National Indigenous Reform Agreement (NIRA), COAG agreed to a set of targets for closing the gap in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander disadvantage. Mortality rates are one of the performance indicators specified in the NIRA to measure progress against one of these targets.

37 Age-standardised rates, along with infant and child mortality rates, are used to determine whether the mortality of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population is declining over time and whether the gap between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and non-Indigenous populations is narrowing. However, there were some inconsistencies in the way different government agencies calculated age-standardised rates in the past. The ABS hosted a workshop on age-standardisation on 19 April 2011 to discuss the best method (direct or indirect) for reporting on Indigenous mortality and to produce a clear set of guidelines specifically for the analysis and reporting of COAG "Closing the Gap" indicators. Workshop participants agreed that the direct method is the preferred method of age-standardisation as it allows for valid comparisons of mortality rates between different study populations and across time. Prior to 2011 some standardised death rates were calculated using the indirect method.

38 The direct method has also been applied to the dissemination of death rates by country of birth from the release of the 2010 issue of this release, replacing the previous indirect standardised death rates. Standardised death rates for countries with less than a total of 20 deaths, or geographies with less than 30 ERP in any one age group are not available for release.

39 For further information, see Appendix 1: Principles on the use of direct age-standardisation in Deaths, Australia, 2010 (cat. no. 3302.0).

Causes of death

40 Causes of death information is published under the 3303.0 product family. For more information see Causes of Death, Australia: Doctor Certified Deaths, Summary Tables, 2012 (cat. no. 3303.0.55.001), and Causes of Death, Australia (cat. no. 3303.0).

Life tables

41 Life tables information previously released in Deaths, Australia (cat. no. 3302.0) is now released in Life Tables, States, Territories and Australia (cat. no. 3302.0.55.001).

Confidentiality

42 The Census and Statistics Act 1905 provides the authority for the ABS to collect statistical information, and requires that statistical output shall not be published or disseminated in a manner that is likely to enable the identification of a particular person or organisation. This requirement means that the ABS must take care and make assurances that any statistical information about individual respondents cannot be derived from published data.

43 Where necessary, tables in this release have had small values suppressed or randomised to protect confidentiality. As a result, sums of components may not add exactly to totals. These very minor adjustments allow for a greater amount of data to be released, and as they are small, do not affect the utility of the data.

Rounding

44 Calculations as shown in the commentary sections of this release are based on unrounded figures. Calculations undertaken by data users using rounded figures may differ from those released. Where figures have been rounded in tables, discrepancies may occur between sums of component items and totals.

Error minimisation

45 Every effort is made to minimise error by working closely with data providers, including supporting the careful design of forms, training of processing staff, and efficient data processing procedures.

Acknowledgements

46 The ABS' releases draw extensively on information provided freely by individuals, businesses, governments and other organisations. The efforts of each state and territory's Registries of Births, Deaths and Marriages to improve the data quality, coverage and timeliness of death registration information, processes and systems are noted and valued by the ABS. Their continued cooperation is very much appreciated. Information received by the ABS is treated in strict confidence as required by the Census and Statistics Act 1905.

47 Other ABS products which may be of interest to users include:

48 ABS products and releases are available free of charge from the ABS website http://www.abs.gov.au. Click on Statistics to gain access to the full range of ABS statistical and reference information.

Additional statistics available

49 More detailed death and mortality statistics can be obtained from ABS.Stat datasets and data cubes (in Microsoft Excel format) available electronically, from the Data downloads of this release.

Data Cubes

  • Median age at death, Year of occurrence, States, Territories and Australia, 2008 to 2018
  • Deaths, Summary, Statistical Area Level 4, 2012 to 2018
  • Deaths, Summary, Statistical Area Level 2, 2012 to 2018
  • Deaths, Summary, Local Government Areas, 2012 to 2018
  • Deaths, Summary, Remoteness Areas, 2012 to 2018
     

ABS.Stat Datasets

  • Deaths, Year of registration, Summary data, Sex, States, Territories and Australia, 1971 onwards
  • Deaths, Year of registration, Age at death, Age-specific death rates, Sex, States, Territories and Australia, 1971 onwards
  • Deaths, Year of registration, Age at death, Sex, Australia, 1971 onwards
  • Deaths, Year of occurrence, Age at death, Age-specific death rates, Sex, States, Territories and Australia, 1971 onwards
  • Deaths, Year of registration, Marital status, Age at death, Sex, Australia, 1971 onwards
  • Infant deaths and Infant mortality rates, Year of registration, Age at death, Sex, States, Territories and Australia, 1975 onwards
  • Deaths, Year of registration, Indigenous status, Summary data, Sex, States, Territories and Australia, 2001 onwards
  • Deaths and infant deaths, Year and month of occurrence, Sex, States, Territories and Australia, 2001 onwards
  • Deaths, Year of registration, Indigenous status, Age at death, Sex, Five State/Territory, 2001 onwards
  • Infant deaths, Year of occurrence, Age at death, Sex, Australia, 2001 onwards.
     

50 For further information about these and related statistics, contact the National Information and Referral Service on 1300 135 070, or email client.services@abs.gov.au. The ABS Privacy Policy outlines how the ABS will handle any personal information that you provide to us.

51 The ABS also issues a daily Release Advice on the website which details the products to be released in the week ahead.

Bibliography

Australian Bureau of Statistics, Births, Australia cat. no. 3301.0, ABS, Canberra.

Australian Bureau of Statistics, Causes of Death, Australia cat. no. 3303.0, ABS, Canberra.

Australian Bureau of Statistics, Perinatal Deaths, Australia cat. no. 3304.0, ABS, Canberra.

Australian Bureau of Statistics, various quarters, Australian Demographic Statistics cat. no. 3101.0, ABS, Canberra.

Australian Bureau of Statistics 2009, Population Estimates: Concepts, Sources and Methods, 2009 cat. no. 3228.0.55.001, ABS, Canberra.

Australian Bureau of Statistics 2016, Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS): Volume1 - Main Structure and Greater Capital City Statistical Areas, July 2016 cat. no. 1270.0.55.001, ABS, Canberra.

Australian Bureau of Statistics 2016, Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS): Volume 2 - Indigenous Structure, July 2016 cat. no. 1270.0.55.002, ABS Canberra.

Australian Bureau of Statistics 2016, Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS): Volume 5 - Remoteness Structure, July 2016 cat. no. 1270.0.55.005, ABS Canberra.

Australian Bureau of Statistics 2016, Standard Australian Classification of Countries (SACC), 2016 cat. no. 1269.0, ABS, Canberra.

Australian Bureau of Statistics 2018, Estimates of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians, June 2016 cat. no. 3238.0.55.001, Canberra.

Australian Bureau of Statistics 2018, Life Tables for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians, 2015-2017 cat. no. 3302.0.55.003, ABS, Canberra.

Australian Bureau of Statistics 2019, Australian Historical Population Statistics, 2016 cat. no. 3105.0.65.001, ABS, Canberra.

Australian Bureau of Statistics 2018, Population Projections, Australia, 2017 (base) to 2066 cat. no. 3222.0, ABS, Canberra.

Australian Bureau of Statistics 2019, Estimates and Projections, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians, 2006 to 2031 cat. no. 3238.0, ABS, Canberra.

Appendix - characteristics available

Show all

Date of death (day, month and year)

Date of registration (month and year)

State or territory of registration

Age at death

Country of birth

Date of birth

Duration of residence in Australia, if born overseas

Indigenous status

Indigenous structure - Indigenous Locations (ILOCs), Indigenous Areas (IAREs) and Indigenous Regions (IREGs)

Marital status

Remoteness Area

Sex

State or territory of usual residence

Statistical Area Level (2, 3 and 4) of usual residence

Glossary

Show all

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander death

Registration of deaths is the responsibility of the state and territory Registries of Births, Deaths and Marriages. Information about the deceased is acquired from a Death Registration Form (DRF). All states and territories use information from the DRF to identify an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander death. In addition, some states and territories also use the Medical Certificate of Cause of Death (MCCD) to identify an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander death. In 2007, the MCCD was introduced in South Australia, Western Australia, Tasmania, the Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory. The Queensland Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages introduced the MCCD in 2015. This resulted in a noticeable decrease in the number of deaths for which the Indigenous status was 'not stated' and an increase in the number of deaths identified as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander in Queensland. If the Indigenous status reported in the DRF does not agree with that in the MCCD, an identification from either source that the deceased was an Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander person is given preference over non-Indigenous.

Age-specific death rate

General: The age-specific death rate (ASDR) is the number of deaths (registered) during the calendar year, at a specified age, per 1,000 of the estimated resident population of the same age at the mid-point of the year (30 June). Pro rata adjustment is made in respect of deaths for which the age of the deceased is not given.

Indigenous status: The age-specific death rate (ASDR) is the number of deaths (registered), by Indigenous status, during the calendar year, at a specified age, per 100,000 of the Indigenous status estimated resident population of the same age at the mid-point of the year (30 June). Pro rata adjustment is made in respect of deaths for which the age of the deceased is not given. These rates are based on three year averages. They are calculated for each calendar year and then averaged.

Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS)

The ASGS defines all the regions for which the ABS releases statistics within the one framework and is used by the ABS for the collection and dissemination of geographically classified statistics from 1 July 2016. It is the current framework for understanding and interpreting the geographical context of statistics released by the ABS.

For more information, please refer to Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS): Volume 1 - Main Structure and Greater Capital City Statistical Areas, July 2016 (cat. no. 1270.0.55.001).

Birth

The delivery of a child, irrespective of the duration of pregnancy, who, after being born, breathes or shows any evidence of life such as a heartbeat.

Country of birth

The classification of countries used is the Standard Australian Classification of Countries (SACC).

For more information, please refer to Standard Australian Classification of Countries (SACC) (cat. no. 1269.0).

Crude death rate

The crude death rate (CDR) is the number of deaths registered during the calendar year per 1,000 estimated resident population at 30 June.

Death

Death is the permanent disappearance of all evidence of life after birth has taken place. The definition excludes all deaths prior to live birth. For the purposes of the ABS Death Registrations collection, a death refers to any death which occurs in, or en route to Australia and is registered with a state or territory Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages.

Estimated resident population (ERP)

The official measure of the population of Australia is based on the concept of usual residence. It refers to all people, regardless of nationality, citizenship or legal status, who usually live in Australia, with the exception of foreign diplomatic personnel and their families. It includes usual residents who are overseas for less than 12 months over a 16 month period. It excludes overseas visitors who are in Australia for less than 12 months over a 16 month period.

External territories

Australian external territories include Australian Antarctic Territory, Coral Sea Islands Territory, Territory of Ashmore and Cartier Islands, and Territory of Heard and McDonald Islands.

Five state/territory for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and non-Indigenous data

Data is reported individually by jurisdiction of usual residence for New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Western Australia and the Northern Territory only. These four states and the Northern Territory have been included due to there being evidence of sufficient levels of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander identification and sufficient numbers of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander deaths to support mortality analysis. Total five state/territory combines data for these five jurisdictions.

Indigenous Areas (IAREs)

Are medium sized geographical areas designed to facilitate the release of more detailed statistics for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples. IAREs provide a balance between spatial resolution and population size, which provides the ability to release more detailed socio-economic attribute data than is available on ILOCs. IAREs are aggregates of one or more ILOCs.

For more information, please refer to Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS): Volume 2 - Indigenous Structure, July 2016 (cat. no. 1270.0.55.002).

Indigenous Locations (ILOCs)

Represent small Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities (urban and rural) with a minimum population of 90 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander usual residents. An ILOC is an area designed to allow the release of statistics relating to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with a high level of spatial accuracy whilst maintaining the confidentiality of individuals. ILOCs are aggregates of one or more SA1s.

For more information, please refer to Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS): Volume 2 - Indigenous Structure, July 2016 (cat. no. 1270.0.55.002).

Indigenous Regions (IREGs)

Are large geographical areas loosely based on the former Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission boundaries. The greater population of IREGs enables greater cross classification of variables when compared with IAREs and ILOCs. IREGs do not cross State or Territory borders and are aggregates of one or more IAREs.

For more information, please refer to Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS): Volume 2 - Indigenous Structure, July 2016 (cat. no. 1270.0.55.002).

Indirect standardised death rate (ISDR)

See Standardised death rate (SDR).

Infant death

An infant death is the death of a live-born child who dies before reaching his/her first birthday.

Infant mortality rate (IMR)

The number of deaths of children under one year of age in a specified period per 1,000 live births in the same period.

Local Government Area (LGA)

An ABS approximation of the officially gazetted Local Government Areas (LGAs) as defined by each state and territory local government department. LGAs cover incorporated areas of Australia, which are legally designated areas for which incorporated local governing bodies have responsibility. The major areas of Australia not administered by incorporated bodies are the northern parts of South Australia and all of the Australian Capital Territory and the Other Territories. These regions are identified as 'Unincorporated' in the ABS LGA structure.

For more information, please refer to Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS): Volume 3 - Non ABS Structures (cat. no. 1270.0.55.003).

Marital status

Two separate concepts of marital status are measured by the ABS. These are registered marital status and social marital status.

Registered marital status refers to formally registered marriages and divorces. Registered marital status is a person's relationship status in terms of whether he or she has, or has had, a registered marriage with another person. Accordingly, people are classified as either 'never married', 'married', 'widowed', or 'divorced'. Statistics included in this release are based on registered marital status and include the additional categories of separated but not divorced and not stated marital status in total deaths.

Median value

For any distribution the median value (age, duration, interval) is that value which divides the relevant population into two equal parts, half falling below the value, and half exceeding it. Where the value for a particular record has not been stated, that record is excluded from the calculation.

Mortality

Death.

Natural increase

Excess of births over deaths.

Other Territories

Following the 1992 amendments to the Acts Interpretation Act to include the Indian Ocean Territories of Christmas Island and the Cocos (Keeling) Islands as part of geographic Australia, another category at the state and territory level was created, known as Other Territories. From 1 July 2016 the Australian Government assumed responsibility for Norfolk Island. Other Territories includes Jervis Bay Territory, previously included with the Australian Capital Territory, as well as Christmas Island, the Cocos (Keeling) Islands and Norfolk Island.

​​​​​​​Remoteness Area (RA)

The Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS), defines Remoteness Areas into 5 classes of relative remoteness across Australia. Each RA is created from the grouping of Statistical Areas Level 1 (SA1) identifying a (non-contiguous) region in Australia having a particular degree of remoteness.

The 5 classes of remoteness are: Major Cities, Inner Regional, Outer Regional, Remote, and Very Remote.

For more information, please refer to Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS): Volume 5 - Remoteness Structure (cat.no. 1270.0.55.005).

Sex ratio

The number of males per 100 females.

Standard population

The standard population is all persons in the Australian population at 30 June 2001. For specific data see Australian Demographic Statistics (cat. no. 3101.0) - select from the data download section, Data Cubes, Standard Population for Use in Age-Standardisation Table.

Standardised death rate (SDR)

The standardised death rate (SDR) enables the comparison of death rates between populations with different age structures by relating them to a standard population. SDRs are expressed per 1,000 or 100,000 persons. There are two methods of calculating standardised death rates:

  • The direct method - this is used when the populations under study are large and the age-specific death rates are reliable. It is the overall death rate that would have prevailed in the standard population if it had experienced at each age the death rates of the population under study.
  • The indirect method - this is used when the populations under study are small and the age-specific death rates are unreliable or not known. It is an adjustment to the crude death rate of the standard population to account for the variation between the actual number of deaths in the population under study and the number of deaths which would have occurred if the population under study had experienced the age-specific death rates of the standard population.

Standardised death rates included in this release are based on the direct method.

Formula for:Direct SDR
\(S D R=\frac{\sum\left(r_{i} P_{i}\right)}{\sum P_{i}}\)
\(SDR\)is the age-standardised death rate for the population being studied
\(r_i\)is the age-group specific death rate for age group i in the population being studied
\(P_i\)is the population of age group i in the standard population

\(\ \)

Formula for:Indirect SDR
\(I S D R=\frac{C}{\sum\left(R_{i} p_{i}\right)} \times R\)
\(ISDR\)is the age-standardised death rate for the population being studied
\(C\)is the observed number of deaths in the population being studied
\(SUM(R_ip_i)\)is the expected number of deaths in the population being studied
\(R_i\)is the age-group specific death rate for age group i in the standard population
\(p_i\)is the population for age group i in the population being studied
\(R\)is the crude death rate in the standard population


 

State or territory of registration

The state or territory in which the event was registered.

State or territory of usual residence

The state or territory of usual residence of:

  • the population (estimated resident population);
  • the mother (birth collection);
  • the deceased (death collection).
     

Statistical Area Level 1 (SA1)

An area defined in the Australian Statistical Geography Standard and designed as the smallest unit for the release of Census data. They generally have a population of 200 to 800 people, and an average population of about 400 people. SA1s in remote and regional areas generally have smaller populations than those in urban areas. There are 57,523 SA1s and they cover the whole of Australia without gaps or overlaps. Deaths data is not available at this level of geography.

For more information, please refer to Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS): Volume 1 - Main Structure and Greater Capital City Statistical Areas (cat. no. 1270.0.55.001).

Statistical Area Level 2 (SA2)

A general-purpose medium-sized area defined in the Australian Statistical Geography Standard and built from whole SA1s. They aim to represent communities that interact together socially and economically. SA2s are based on officially gazetted suburbs and localities. In urban areas, SA2s largely conform to one or more whole suburbs, while in rural areas they generally define the functional zone of a regional centre. SA2s generally have a population range of 3,000 to 25,000 people, and an average population of about 10,000 people. There are 2,310 SA2s and they cover the whole of Australia without gaps or overlaps. SA2s are the base unit for preparing sub-state mortality statistics.

For more information, please refer to Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS): Volume 1 - Main Structure and Greater Capital City Statistical Areas (cat. no. 1270.0.55.001).

Statistical Area Level 3 (SA3)

An area defined in the Australian Statistical Geography Standard and built up from SA2s which provides a standardised regional breakup of Australia. SA3s aim to create a standard framework for the analysis of ABS data at the regional level through clustering groups of whole SA2s that have similar regional characteristics. Their boundaries reflect a combination of widely recognised informal regions as well as existing administrative regions such as State Government Regions in rural areas and Local Government Areas in urban areas. SA3s generally range in population from 30,000 to 130,000 people. There are 358 SA3s and they cover the whole of Australia without gaps or overlaps.

For more information, please refer to Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS): Volume 1 - Main Structure and Greater Capital City Statistical Areas (cat. no. 1270.0.55.001).

Statistical Area Level 4 (SA4)

An area defined in the Australian Statistical Geography Standard and designed for the output of labour force data and to reflect labour markets. In rural areas, SA4s generally represent aggregations of multiple small labour markets with socioeconomic connections or similar industry characteristics. Large regional city labour markets are generally defined by a single SA4. Within major metropolitan labour markets SA4s represent sub-labour markets. SA4s are built from whole SA3s. They generally have a population over 100,000 people to enable accurate labour force survey data to be generated. There are 107 SA4s and they cover the whole of Australia without gaps or overlaps.

For more information, please refer to Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS): Volume 1 - Main Structure and Greater Capital City Statistical Areas (cat. no. 1270.0.55.001).

Usual residence

Usual residence within Australia refers to that address at which the person has lived or intends to live for a total of six months or more in a given reference year.

Year of occurrence

The year the death occurred.

Year of registration

The year the death was registered.

Quality declaration - summary

Institutional environment

For information on the institutional environment of the ABS, including the legislative obligations of the ABS, financing and governance arrangements, and mechanisms for scrutiny of the ABS operations, please see ABS Institutional Environment.

Death statistics released by the ABS are sourced from death registrations systems administered by the various state and territory Registries of Births, Deaths and Marriages. It is a legal requirement of each state and territory that all deaths are registered. Information about the deceased is supplied by a relative or other person acquainted with the deceased, or by an official of the institution where the death occurred. As part of the registration process, information on the cause of death is either supplied by the medical practitioner certifying the death on a Medical Certificate of Cause of Death, or supplied as a result of a coronial investigation.

Relevance

Death statistics are one of the components in the production of estimates of natural increase (the difference between numbers of births and deaths) used as a component of population change in the calculation of population estimates of Australia and the states and territories. The primary uses of population estimates are in the determination of seats in the House of Representatives for each state and territory, as well as in the distribution of Australian Government funds to state, territory and local governments. Population estimates are also used for a wide range of government, business and community decisions, both directly and indirectly, by contributing to a range of other social, health and economic indicators.

Death statistics are also essential in the analysis of morbidity and mortality in Australia and inform on the population's growth and replacement. Trends in mortality are used in the development of assumptions of future levels of mortality for population projections.

Deaths, Australia (cat. no. 3302.0) contains statistics for deaths and mortality in Australia. Data refer to deaths registered during the calendar year shown, unless otherwise stated. Statistics on demographic characteristics of the deceased such as age at death, sex, place of usual residence, marital status, Indigenous status and country of birth are included.

Deaths data include:

  • any death which occurs in, or en route to Australia, including deaths of persons whose usual place of residence is overseas, and is registered with a state or territory Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages.
     

Deaths data exclude:

Timeliness

Death records are provided electronically to the ABS by individual state/territory Registrars on a monthly basis for compilation into aggregate statistics on a quarterly and annual basis.

Annual estimates on a year of registration basis are generally released within eleven months of the end of the reference year in Deaths, Australia (cat. no. 3302.0).

One dimension of timeliness in death registrations data is the interval between the occurrence and registration of a death. As a result, around 6% of deaths occurring in one year are not registered until the following year or later.

Accuracy

Information on deaths is obtained from a complete enumeration of deaths registered during a specified period and are not subject to sampling error. However, deaths data sources are subject to non-sampling error.

Sources of non-sample error include:

  • inaccuracies in collecting, recording and processing data;
  • completeness of an individual record at a given point in time;
  • completeness of the dataset (e.g. impact of registration lags, processing lags and duplicate records);
  • extent of coverage of the population (whilst all deaths are legally required to be registered, some cases may not be registered for an extended time, if at all); and
  • lack of consistency in the forms between different jurisdictions and in the interpretation of the forms by informants.
     

Every effort is made to minimise error by working closely with data providers, including supporting the careful design of forms, training of processing staff, and efficient data processing procedures.

Although it is considered likely that the vast majority of deaths of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians are registered, a proportion of these registered deaths are not identified as such. Information about the deceased is supplied by a relative or other person acquainted with the deceased, or by an official of the institution where the death occurred and may differ from the self-identified Indigenous status of the deceased. Forms are often not subject to the same design principles as statistical questionnaires, and respondent and/or interviewer understanding is rarely tested. Over-precise analysis of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander deaths and mortality should be avoided.

Coherence

The international standards and recommendations for the definition and scope of deaths statistics in a vital statistics system are set out in the Principles and Recommendations for a Vital Statistics System Revision 2, released by the United Nations Statistical Division (UNSD). Consistent with the UNSD recommendations, the ABS defines a death as the permanent disappearance of all evidence of life at any time after a live birth has taken place. In addition, the UNSD recommends that the deaths to be counted include all deaths "occurring in every geographic area and in every population group comprising the national area". For the purposes of Australia, this includes all deaths occurring within Australia as defined by the Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS): Volume 1 - Main Structure and Greater Capital City Statistical Areas, July 2016 (cat. no. 1270.0.55.001) that applies at the time.

Registration of deaths is compulsory in Australia under relevant state/territory legislation. However, each state/territory Registry has its own death registration form. Most data items are collected in all states and territories and therefore statistics at a national level are available for most characteristics. In some cases, different wording of questions asked on the registration form may result in different answers, which may affect final figures.

Use of the supporting documentation released with the statistics is important for assessing coherence within the dataset and when comparing the statistics with data from other sources. Changing processes over time and/or across data sources can affect consistency and hence interpretability of statistical output. The Explanatory notes in each issue contains information pertinent to that particular release which may impact on comparison over time.

Data presented in this release are reported by year of registration (unless otherwise stated) and differ from deaths statistics released in Australian Demographic Statistics (cat. no. 3101.0) which are reported on a year/quarter of occurrence basis in revised and final data for use in population estimates.

Statistics relating to cause of death are released annually by the ABS in Causes of Death, Australia (cat. no. 3303.0).

Interpretability

Deaths statistics are generally straightforward and easy to interpret. It should be noted, however, that changes in numbers of deaths over time can be due to a number of factors including changes in mortality and changes in the size and age/sex structure of the population. For this reason, deaths data needs to be considered in relation to the size of the relevant population(s) through the use of mortality rates.

Information on mortality rates, as well as data sources, terminology, classifications and other technical aspects associated with the statistics presented in this release can be found in the Explanatory notes, Appendix of Characteristics Available and Glossary.

Accessibility

Deaths data is available in a variety of formats on the ABS website under the 3302.0 product family.

The formats are:

  • web contents, which contains release commentary;
  • data cubes (in Microsoft Excel spreadsheet format); and
  • ABS.Stat data sets
     

Further information on deaths and mortality may be available on request. See Appendix: Characteristics Available for a list of data items available. The ABS observes strict confidentiality protocols as required by the Census and Statistics Act (1905). This may restrict access to data at a very detailed level which is sought by some users.

Abbreviations

Show all

ABSAustralian Bureau of Statistics
ACTAustralian Capital Territory
ASDRage-specific death rate
ASGSAustralian Statistical Geography Standard
Aust.Australia
cat. no.Catalogue number
DRFdeath registration form
ERPestimated resident population
IAREIndigenous Area
ILOCIndigenous Location
IMRinfant mortality rate
IREGIndigenous Region
ISDRindirect standardised death rate
LGAlocal government area
MCCDmedical certificate of cause of death
no.number
NSWNew South Wales
NTNorthern Territory
QldQueensland
RARemoteness Area
SASouth Australia
SA1Statistical Area Level 1
SA2Statistical Area Level 2
SA3Statistical Area Level 3
SA4Statistical Area Level 4
SACCStandard Australian Classification of Countries
SDRstandardised death rate
SLAstatistical local area
Tas.Tasmania
Vic.Victoria
WAWestern Australia