Australian Bureau of Statistics
4704.0 - The Health and Welfare of Australia's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples, 2008
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 29/04/2008
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For the four jurisdictions included in this analysis, Indigenous Australians were over-represented in mortality statistics, in almost every age group. Table 9.6 shows Indigenous deaths as a proportion of total deaths by age group in 2001-2005 and their respective proportions of the total population for the same period.
Infant deaths are deaths of live-born children which occur before they reach their first birthday. In 2001-2005, for Indigenous infants in Queensland, Western Australia, South Australia and the Northern Territory, the mortality rate for males and females was two to three times that for non-Indigenous male and female infants (table 9.8). Almost half (44%) of total infant deaths were due to conditions originating in the perinatal period - conditions related to the foetus and newborn affected by complications of pregnancy, labour and delivery, and disorders related to length of gestation and foetal growth. Symptoms, signs and ill-defined conditions, including Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), were responsible for 22% of infant deaths, and congenital malformations accounted for 12%. For respiratory diseases and external causes (mainly accidents), which accounted for a further 8% and 4% of infant deaths, the mortality rates for Indigenous infants were 11 and 4 times those of non-Indigenous infants respectively (graph 9.7). Infectious and parasitic diseases were the sixth most common cause of death among Indigenous infants accounting for almost 4% of infant deaths. Indigenous infants died from infectious and parasitic diseases at around five times the rate of non-Indigenous infants. See Chapter 6 for further information on infant deaths.
Age-specific death rates
In Queensland, Western Australia, South Australia and the Northern Territory combined, age-specific death rates for Indigenous males and females across all age groups were higher than the rates for non-Indigenous males and females (table 9.8). The age-specific death rates for Indigenous Australians were at least twice those experienced by the non-Indigenous population in all age groups except those aged 65 years and over. The greatest differences occurred among those in the 35-44 and 45-54 year age groups, where the rates for Indigenous males and females were five to six times those recorded for non-Indigenous males and females (table 9.8).
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