Australian Bureau of Statistics
3302.0 - Deaths, Australia, 2007 Quality Declaration
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 25/11/2008
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6 The scope of the statistics excludes:
7 Up to and including the 2006 issue of Deaths, Australia (cat. no. 3302.0), the scope for each reference year of the Death Registrations collection included:
8 For example, death records received by the ABS during the March quarter 2007 which were initially registered in 2006 (but not fully completed until 2007) were assigned to the 2006 reference year. Any registrations relating to 2006 which were received by the ABS after the end of the March quarter 2007 were assigned to the 2007 reference year.
9 Under these rules, it was possible for a death registration to not be recorded in the collection. For 2007 onwards, the scope of the Death Registrations collection has been reviewed and amended. The scope now includes:
Coverage of death statistics
10 Ideally, for compiling annual time series, the number of events (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 state/territory Registrars of Births, Deaths and Marriages, data in this publication are presented on a year of registration basis.
11 In effect there are three dates attributable to each death registration:
12 Marital status relates to the registered marital status of the deceased at the time of death, which refers to formally registered marriages or divorces for which a certificate is held.
13 From 2007 onwards, marital status at death is provided by registries as legal marital status. Previously, a mix of legal and social marital status was used for some states and territories.
Australian Standard Geographical Classification
14 The Australian Standard Geographical Classification (ASGC) is a hierarchical classification system consisting of six interrelated classification structures. The ASGC provides a common framework of statistical geography and thereby enables the production of statistics which are comparable and can be spatially integrated.
15 For further information refer to Australian Standard Geographical Classification (ASGC) (cat. no. 1261.0).
Standard Australian Classification of Countries
16 The Standard Australian Classification of Countries (SACC) (Second Edition) groups neighbouring countries into progressively broader geographical areas on the basis of their similarity in terms of social, cultural, economic and political characteristics. The SACC (Second Edition) is the revised edition of the Australian Standard Classification of Countries for Social Statistics (ASCCSS) and includes concordances between the SACC (First Edition) and the SACC (Second Edition).
17 For further information refer to Standard Australian Classification of Countries(SACC) Second Edition (cat. no. 1269.0).
18 Registration of deaths is the responsibility of state and territory Registrars 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 publication.
State and territory data
19 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 know as 'Other Territories' and includes Christmas Island, the Cocos (Keeling) Islands and Jervis Bay Territory.
20 Prior to 1993, deaths of persons usually resident in Christmas Island and 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.
21 In 2007 there were 6 deaths of persons usually resident in Christmas Island, the Cocos (Keeling) Islands and Jervis Bay Territory.
22 Death statistics for states and territories have been compiled and presented in respect of the state or territory of usual residence of the deceased, regardless of where in Australia the death occured and was registered, except where otherwise stated.
23 In the following table data are presented on a state or territory of registration basis. Deaths which took place outside Australia are excluded from the statistics. Deaths of persons who were usual residents of Australia's Other Territories (Christmas Island, Cocos (Keeling) Islands and Jervis Bay Territory) are registered in other Australian states.
24 In 2007 there were 315 deaths registered in Australia of persons usually resident overseas. These have been included in this publication with state and territory of usual residence classified according to the state or territory in which the death was registered.
Sub-state/territory mortality rates
25 Indirect standardised death rates for sub-state/territory regions (for example, Statistical Divisions) presented in this publication are calculated as average rates over three years ending in the reference year. Rates for Australia and the states and territories in all other tables are based on single years of death registration data.
26 In compiling death statistics, the ABS employs a variety of measures to improve the quality of the deaths collection. While every opportunity is undertaken to ensure that the highest quality of statistics are provided, the following is a list of known issues associated with the quality of deaths statistics included in this publication.
27 For the most part, statistics in this publication 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.
28 Of the 137,900 deaths registered in 2007, 95% occurred in 2007 while 4.8% occurred in 2006 and the remainder (0.2%) occurred in 2005 or earlier years.
Indigenous deaths and mortality rates
29 The term Indigenous is used to refer to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians. Those who are identified as being of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander origin through the death registration process are classified as Indigenous persons.
30 While it is considered likely that most deaths of Indigenous Australians are registered, a proportion of these deaths are not identified as Indigenous 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 for 99% of all deaths, there are concerns regarding the accuracy of the data. The Indigenous status question is not always directly asked of relatives and friends of the deceased by the funeral director.
31 This publication includes the number of registered Indigenous deaths. However, because of the data quality issues outlined below, more detailed breakdowns of Indigenous deaths are provided only for New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Western Australia and the Northern Territory.
32 There are several data collection forms on which people are asked to state whether they are of Indigenous origin. Due to a number of factors, the results are not always consistent. The likelihood that a person will identify, or be identified, as Indigenous on a specific form is known as their propensity to identify as Indigenous. Propensity to identify as Indigenous can be thought of as the proportion of the total, unknown, number of Indigenous people who identify as such on a specific form.
33 Propensity to identify as Indigenous is determined by a range of factors, including how the information is collected; who completes the form; the perception of how the information will be used; education programs about identifying as Indigenous; and cultural issues associated with identifying as Indigenous.
34 In addition to those deaths identified as Indigenous, a number of deaths occur each year where Indigenous status is not stated on the death registration form (table 3.2). In 2007 there were 1,400 deaths registered in Australia for whom Indigenous status was not stated, representing 1.0% of all deaths registered. The Australian Capital Territory, Queensland and Victoria had the highest proportions of not stated responses in 2007.
35 As a proportion of all deaths registered, deaths for which Indigenous status was not stated increased from 0.8% in 2006 to 1.0% in 2007. This was largely due to an increase in the number of deaths in Victoria for which Indigenous status was not stated; from 51 in 2006 to 439 in 2007. Queensland also recorded a large increase, with the number of deaths for which Indigenous status was not stated up from 318 in 2006 to 496 in 2007. New South Wales recorded a decrease in the number of deaths for which Indigenous status was not stated, down from 456 in 2006 to 221 in 2007.
36 From 2007, Indigenous status recorded for deaths registered in South Australia, Western Australia, Tasmania, the Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory was sourced from both the Death Registration Form (DRF) and the Medical Certificate of Cause of Death (MCCD). Prior to 2007, Indigenous status was sourced only from the DRF. This new method resulted in an additional 18 deaths recorded as Indigenous in 2007, representing a 0.7% increase in the number of deaths recorded as Indigenous for Australia overall. In addition, a further 682 records were reclassified from 'not stated' Indigenous status to 'non-Indigenous'.
37 Despite the relatively low number of deaths with unidentified Indigenous status, it is likely that some Indigenous deaths are included in the not stated category, contributing to the undercoverage of Indigenous deaths.
38 Quality studies conducted as part of the Census Data Enhancement project have investigated the levels and consistency of Indigenous identification between the 2006 Census and death registrations. See Information Paper: Census Data Enhancement - Indigenous Mortality Quality Study, 2006-07 (cat. no. 4723.0), released on 17 November 2008.
39 An assessment of various methods for adjusting incomplete Indigenous death registration data for use in compiling Indigenous life tables and life expectancy estimates is presented in Discussion Paper: Assessment of Methods for Developing Life Tables for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians, 2006 (cat. no. 3302.0.55.002), released on 17 November 2008.
Unknown infant age at death
40 For some infant deaths, only limited information on age at death is known. These deaths are included in the following categories:
41 A life table is a statistical model used to represent mortality of a population. In its simplest form, a life table is generated from age-specific death rates and the resulting values are used to measure mortality, survivorship and life expectancy.
42 The life tables in this publication are current or period life tables, based on death rates for a short period of time during which mortality has remained much the same. Mortality rates for the Australian and state and territory life tables are based on death registrations and estimated resident population for the period 2005-2007. The life tables do not take into account future assumed improvements in mortality.
43 Life tables are presented separately for males and females. The life table depicts the mortality experience of a hypothetical group of newborn babies throughout their entire lifetime. It is based on the assumption that this group is subject to the age-specific mortality rates of the reference period. Typically this hypothetical group is 100,000 in size.
44 To construct a life table, data on population, deaths and births are needed. Mortality rates are smoothed to avoid fluctuations in the data. Apart from mortality rates themselves (qx) all other functions of the life table are derived from qx. The life tables presented in this publication contain four columns of interrelated information. These functions are:
Life tables based on assumed improvements in mortality
45 Life tables based on assumed improvements in mortality are produced by the ABS using assumptions on future life expectancy at birth, based on recent trends in life expectancy. Mortality rates derived from these life tables are used as inputs to ABS population projections. For further information see Population Projections, Australia, 2006 to 2101 (cat. no. 3222.0).
Australian life tables
46 The 2005-2007 life tables differ from those published prior to the 1995 edition of this publication in a number of important respects. Firstly, they are based on three years of death registrations and estimated resident population data. This is designed to reduce the impact of year-to-year statistical variations, particularly at younger ages where there are small numbers of deaths and at very old ages where the population at risk is small. Secondly, the deaths and population data are based on Australian residents who are physically present in Australia over the three-year period; i.e. Australian residents temporarily overseas are excluded. Thirdly, they have been actuarially graduated on the same principles which were used for the quinquennial Australian life tables prepared by the Australian Government Actuary.
State and territory life tables
47 Life tables for the states and territories are produced on the same principles as the Australian life tables. For the years 1994-1996 to 1999-2001 these are available in the Demography (cat. nos. 3311.1-3311.8) set of publications. State and territory life tables for the period 2000-2002 are available on request. State and territory life tables for the period 2001-2003 and onwards are published in Life Tables (cat. nos. 3302.0.55.001-3302.8.55.001).
Statistical Division life tables
48 Life expectancy at birth for Statistical Divisions have been calculated with reference to state and territory life tables, using Brass' Logit System. Small area life tables are based on age-specific death rates for each area, some of which may be zero as no deaths were recorded at those ages. Brass' Logit technique enables the calculation of smooth abridged life tables for regions which have defective age-specific death rates, by adjusting them with reference to a standard life table. The technique does not alter the overall level of mortality, but the age-specific functions of the life table are smoothed.
49 The Brass' Logit technique essentially compares mortality between the regional and standard life tables across ages, then a line of best fit is calculated to describe that relationship by age. The line of best fit is then used in conjunction with the standard life table to determine death rates for the small area life table. For a more detailed description of Brass' Logit System refer to Brass (1975) Methods for Estimating Fertility and Mortality from Limited and Defective data.
CAUSES OF DEATH
50 Causes of death information is published under the 3303.0 product family. See Causes of Death, Australia: Doctor Certified Deaths, Summary Tables, 2007 (cat. no. 3303.0.55.001) released on 25 November 2008, and Causes of Death, Australia, 2007 (cat. no. 3303.0) scheduled for release in March 2009, for more information.
51 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.
52 Where necessary, tables in this publication have had small values suppressed or randomised to protect confidentiality. As a result, sums of components may not add exactly to totals.
53 Calculations as shown in the commentary sections of this publication are based on unrounded figures. Calculations using rounded figures may differ from those published. Where figures have been rounded in tables, discrepancies may occur between sums of component item and totals.
54 The ABS publications draw extensively on information provided freely by individuals, businesses, governments and other organisations. Their continued cooperation is very much appreciated; without it, the wide range of statistics published by the ABS would not be available. Information received by the ABS is treated in strict confidence as required by the Census and Statistics Act 1905.
55 Other ABS publications which may be of interest to users include:
56 ABS products and publications 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. For details on products scheduled for release in the coming week, click on the Future Releases link on the ABS homepage.
ADDITIONAL STATISTICS AVAILABLE
57 More detailed deaths and mortality statistics can be obtained from data cubes (in Microsoft Excel format) available for download from the ABS website in Deaths, Australia, 2007 (cat. no. 3302.0):
58 For additional articles on deaths (including causes of death) and mortality published by the ABS, please see Appendix: Feature Articles List.
59 The ABS can also make available information which is not published. See Appendix: Characteristics Available for the characteristics processed by the ABS related to registered deaths. A charge is applied for providing this information.
60 As well as the statistics included in this and related publications, the ABS may have other relevant data available on request. Inquiries should be made to the National Information and Referral Service on 1300 135 070.
61 The ABS also issues a daily Release Advice on the website which details the products to be released in the week ahead.
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This page last updated 24 November 2009