The purpose of this paper is to document and explain the way in which ABS causes of death statistics are produced, provide advice to users of causes of death data about some current quality issues concerning causes of death, and assist in interpreting the data.
Statistics on causes of death are a by-product of the administrative process by which registrars of births, deaths and marriages register all life events. The collection, processing, compilation and dissemination of causes of death statistics is the joint responsibility of various stakeholders. The quality of the statistics depends on each of the many steps involved in the collection and processing of the data, and these steps may be subject to change over time.
It is important to be aware of the issues explored in this paper when using causes of death statistics. They include the way in which the data may fluctuate from year to year, differences between jurisdictions in the practices of registrars and coroners, the impact of incomplete information on coding, and the importance of understanding the metadata associated with other data sources when comparing them with ABS causes of death data.
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Scope and Coverage