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1318.3 - Qld Stats, Jan 2009  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 23/01/2009   
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Image: Deaths, Queensland, 2007

Male and female deaths
Age-specific death rates
Median age at death
Infant deaths
Deaths of Queensland Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders
Life expectancy at birth
Regional data
End notes
Further Information


This article brings together statistics on deaths and mortality in Queensland. Data refer to deaths registered during the calendar year shown for usual residents of Queensland, unless otherwise stated.

In 2007, there were 25,800 deaths of usual residents of Queensland registered, an increase of 5.4% compared with the number registered in 2006. Since 1972, the number of deaths registered has increased by 57%.

The steady increase in the number of deaths over time reflects the increasing size of the population and, in particular, the increasing number of older people. With the continued ageing of the population the number of deaths is projected to continue to increase throughout the remainder of the century (Series B, Population Projections, Australia, 2006 to 2101, cat. no. 3222.0).

Declining death rates

Despite the ageing of the population over the last thirty five years, death rates have continued to decline. The crude death rate1 declined from 8.7 deaths per 1,000 population in 1972 to 5.9 deaths per 1,000 population in 2005 and has risen slightly since then to 6.2 deaths per 1,000 population in 2007. Given the ageing of Queensland's population, the overall decline in the crude death rate indicates a considerable decline in age-specific death rates2 over the period.

The standardised death rate3 (SDR), which eliminates the effect of changes in the age structure of a population over time, was 6.1 deaths per 1,000 standard population in 2007, slightly higher than the two previous years (6.0 deaths per 1,000 standard population) and less than half the rate in 1972 (12.5). The rates for 2005 and 2006 are the lowest on record.

Standardised Death Rates(a), Queensland
Graph: Standardised Death Rates(a), Queensland


Male deaths (13,600) registered in 2007 outnumbered female deaths (12,200), resulting in a sex ratio of 111.2 male deaths for every 100 female deaths. This ratio has decreased from 134.8 male deaths for every 100 female deaths in 1972. Since 1972, the numbers of male deaths have increased by 44% while female deaths have increased by 74%.

Deaths Registered, Queensland
Graph: Deaths Registered, Queensland

Although male mortality remains higher than female mortality, in the last 35 years the gap has narrowed. In 1972, males had an SDR of 15.5 deaths per 1,000 standard population, 5.6 deaths higher than the female SDR of 9.9 deaths per 1,000 standard population. In 2007, the male SDR had decreased to 7.3 deaths per 1,000 standard population, 2.3 deaths higher than the female rate of 5.0 deaths per 1,000 standard population.

From relatively high rates of death in infancy, death rates decline sharply through childhood. In 2007, the lowest age-specific death rates (ASDRs) in Queensland were experienced by males aged 5-9 years and 10-14 years and females aged 5-9 years. ASDRs begin to increase from around 15 years of age for both males and females. For all age groups except 10-14 years, ASDRs were higher for males with differences between males and females becoming more prominent from 65 years of age. The largest difference between male and female ASDRs occurred in the 80-84 years age group. For this age group, males experienced an ASDR of 74.3 deaths per 1,000 male population compared with females who had a rate of 48.7 deaths per 1,000 female population.

For 2007, the ASDR for males aged 15-19 years was twice that of females of the same age group (0.6 and 0.3 per 1,000 population respectively). Male ASDRs increased gradually until around age 40-44 years, where they began to increase more quickly throughout the older age groups. Age-specific death rates for females aged 15 to 44 years were low and relatively constant. Increases in the female ASDRs are evident from 45-49 years of age and continued throughout the remaining age groups.

Over the last 10 years the overall trend in death rates for both males and females for all age groups has been downwards. The largest proportional decrease between 1997 and 2007 in male age-specific death rates occurred in the 10-14 years age group (down 50%) followed by males aged in the 1-4 years, the 15-19 years and the 60-64 years age groups (all down 40%). For females, the 20-24 years age group experienced the largest proportional decrease (down 50%), followed by females aged 50-54 years (down 30%) and females aged 55-59 years (down 29%).

For deaths registered in 2007, the median age at death for usual residents of Queensland was 79.7 years. Females (83.0 years) recorded a higher median age at death than their male counterparts (76.7 years). However, since 1997, the difference between male and female median age at death has narrowed from 7.1 years to 6.3 years.

Median Age at Death, Queensland
Graph: Median Age at Death, Queensland


There were 300 infant deaths (deaths of children less than one year of age) of usual residents of Queensland registered in 2007. Males accounted for 54% of infant deaths resulting in a sex ratio of 115.4 male infant deaths for every 100 female infant deaths.

In the 35 years to 2007, Queensland's infant mortality rate (IMR) has declined significantly. In 1972, around one in 56 infants did not survive to their first birthday (an IMR of 17.8 infant deaths per 1,000 live births). By 2007, one in 200 Queensland infants did not survive their first year of life (an IMR of 5.0 infant deaths per 1,000 live births). This decline may be a consequence of the introduction of universal health insurance (Medicare) and improvements in medical technology, such as neonatal intensive care units (Taylor et al. 1998).

Since 1991, Queensland's infant mortality rate has been higher than or equal to the national average. In 2007, Queensland's infant mortality rate was the second highest after the Northern Territory (8.5).

Infant Mortality Rates(a)
Graph: Infant Mortality Rates(a)


In 2007, there were 600 registered deaths of usual residents of Queensland where the deceased person was identified as being of Aboriginal origin, Torres Strait Islander origin or both.

A variety of measures of mortality (age-specific death rates, median age at death, infant mortality rates and life expectancy at birth) indicate that the mortality level of Indigenous Australians is substantially higher than that of the total Australian population.

The exact scale of difference between Indigenous and total population mortality is difficult to establish conclusively, due to quality issues with Indigenous deaths data and the uncertainties inherent with estimating and projecting the size and structure of the Indigenous population over time. It is considered likely that most deaths of Indigenous Australians are registered. However, some of these deaths are not identified as Indigenous when they are registered. The extent to which this occurs is referred to as coverage of Indigenous deaths4.

Caution should be exercised when undertaking analysis of Indigenous mortality and, in particular, trends in Indigenous mortality.

Age at death

Deaths of non-Indigenous persons are concentrated in the older age groups whereas deaths of Indigenous persons are more widely spread across younger age groups. For Queensland Indigenous persons, 63% of deaths occur before age 65 years compared to around one in five (21%) of non-Indigenous Queenslanders.

Age at Death, Indigenous Status - Queensland: 2007

1 - 14
15 - 24
25 - 34
35 - 44
45 - 54
55 - 64
65 years
and over

Number of deaths
% of total deaths
Number of deaths
1 214
2 441
19 454
24 711
% of total deaths

(a) Includes deaths for which age of death was not stated.

Median age at death

Median age at death is influenced to some extent by the age structure of a population, which itself has been influenced by the ages at which deaths occur. The Indigenous population is younger than the non-Indigenous population and this is reflected in the median age at death of the two populations (Baade & Coory, 2003).

In 2007, the median age at death for Indigenous males was 54.7 years while the median age at death for Indigenous females was 59.5 years. In contrast, the median ages at death for non-Indigenous males and females were considerably higher at 77.1 and 83.3 years respectively.

Median Age at Death, Indigenous Status(a) - Queensland



(a) Care should be exercised when comparing median age at death of Indigenous and non-Indigenous Queenslanders.

Infant mortality rate

For the period 2005 - 2007, the Indigenous infant mortality rate was 9.1 infants per 1,000 live births. Infant mortality rates for Indigenous Queenslanders are around twice the rate for all Queenslanders.

Infant Mortality Rates, Indigenous Status(a) - Queensland

2002- 2004
2003 - 2005
2004 - 2006
2005 - 2007

All persons

(a) Care should be exercised when analysing indigenous infant mortality rates. See chapter 3 of Deaths, Australia, 2007 (cat. no. 3302.0) for details.

Life expectancy at birth is one of the most widely used indicators of population health. It focuses on length of life rather than its quality, but provides a useful summary of the health of the population.

In 2005-2007, life expectancy at birth was 78.9 years for Queensland males and 83.6 years for Queensland females. Women tend to live longer than men, however in recent years life expectancy at birth has increased more quickly for males than for females. Since 1987, male life expectancy at birth has increased by 5.9 years compared to an increase of 4.2 years for females. The increase in life expectancy at birth reflects declining death rates at all ages.

Life Expectancy at Birth, Queensland
Graph: Life Expectancy at Birth, Queensland


In Queensland, local government areas with an estimated resident population of 20,000 or more recorded a wide range of indirect standardised death rates3. Mount Isa (C) recorded the highest rate of 10.5 deaths per 1,000 population followed by Rockhampton (C) with 7.1 and Redcliffe (C) 7.0 deaths per 1,000 population. Maroochy (S) recorded the lowest rate of 4.9 deaths per 1,000 population followed by Noosa (S), Beaudesert (S) and Redland (S) all with a rate of 5.3 deaths per 1,000 population. The majority of local government areas with an estimated resident population of 20,000 or more recorded an equal or lower indirect standardised death rate than that of Queensland (6.0). Indirect death rates were based on the average of deaths data for the period 2005 to 2007.

In 2005-07 statistical divisions in Queensland recorded a wide range of life expectancies at birth. Based on current mortality rates, a person born in the North West statistical division can expect to live 74.5 years, one of the lowest life expectancies in Australia (81.3 years). Conversely males (80.3 years) and females (85.2 years) born in the Sunshine Coast statistical division recorded the highest life expectancies in Australia.

In addition to data for local government areas and statistical divisions, data is also available for statistical local areas. Please refer to Deaths, Australia, 2007 (cat. no. 3302.0) electronic data cubes for further small area data.

1. The crude death rate (CDR) is the number of deaths registered during the calendar year per 1,000 estimated resident population at 30 June. For years prior to 1992, the crude death rate was based on the mean estimated resident population for the calendar year.

2. Age-specific death rates (ASDRs) are 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.

3. Standardised death rates (SDRs) enable the comparison of death rates between populations with different age structures by relating them to a standard population. The current standard population is all persons in the Australian population at 30 June 2001. 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.

4. For more information see Information Paper: Census Data Enhancement—Indigenous Mortality Quality Study, 2006–07 (cat. no. 4723.0) and Discussion Paper: Assessment of Methods for Developing Life Tables for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians, 2006 (cat. no. 3302.0.55.002), both released on 17 November 2008.

Baade, P & Coory, M 2003, 'Median age at death a useful way to monitor improvements in mortality among Indigenous Australians?', in Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health, Vol. 27, No. 6, pp. 627–631.

Taylor R, Lewis M, Powles J 1998, 'Australian mortality decline: All-cause mortality 1788–1990', in Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health, Vol. 22, No. 1, pp. 27–36.


Further information on this topic can be accessed in the following ABS publications:

Deaths, Australia, 2007 (cat. no. 3302.0)
Australian Historical Population Statistics, 2008 (cat. no. 3105.0.65.001)
Life Tables, Queensland, 2005-07 (cat. no. 3302.3.55.001)

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