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3317.0.55.002 - Information Paper: ABS Causes of Death Statistics: Concepts, Sources and Methods, 2006  
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 14/03/2008  First Issue
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DATA ITEMS

INTRODUCTION

Information on deaths and causes of death have been collected in Australia since the mid 1850's. This data was collected, and statistical output published, by individual colonies. At the 1906 Conference of Statisticians, agreement was reached between the various states and the Commonwealth that responsibility for vital statistics (including causes of death) would move to the Commonwealth Bureau of Census and Statistics (now known as the Australian Bureau of Statistics). This allowed for consistent processing of causes of death data and national uniformity in the presentation of the statistics.

Production of causes of death data since 1907 has been based on various versions of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD) as well as changing demographic variables and definitions.

Since 2001, vital statistics data items have been reviewed to ensure consistency and alignment where practical with the following documents:

  • United Nations Statistics Division (UNSD), 2001, Principles and Recommendations for a Vital Statistics System. Revision 2’
  • United Nations Statistics Division (UNSD), 1998, Handbook on Civil Registration and Vital Statistics Systems: Preparation of a Legal Framework
  • United Nations Statistics Division (UNSD), 2004, Handbook on the Collection of Fertility and Mortality Data


DATA ITEMS COLLECTED

The UN 'Principles and Recommendations for a Vital Statistics System Revision 2' (referred to hereafter as the 'UN Recommendations'), provide a common group of basic topics, based on a broad study of the country experiences, which are recommended to be collected on death registration forms. Death registration forms in Australia contain many additional items which are not collected by the ABS as they are not required for statistical purposes

The recommended list comprises two "collection priorities", in recognition of the fact that not all countries will be able to conform to the standard at the same time, or to operate a uniform pace in achieving complete coverage of all recommended topics. "First priority" topics are designed to meet immediate goals, while "second priority" topics denote less immediate goals. Additional topics are expected to be added to the list of UN recommended items, by individual countries to meet individual needs and interests not addressed by the common basic topics. Before topics are selected for inclusion in a vital statistics system they should be evaluated for their likelihood of producing usable and reliable data. Regardless of the importance of the topic, if meaningful data of acceptable quality cannot be obtained, the topic is not appropriate for collection through a vital statistics system. The ABS collects all UN first priority data items for deaths with the exception of one item (Place of Usual Residence of Mother for Deaths under 1 year) and the majority of first priority data items for foetal deaths. Additional items collected by the ABS include: Indigenous status, number of children of deceased and period of residence in Australia.

In addition to ABS collection of data on foetal deaths, a number of UN first priority data items are collected through the National Perinatal Data Collection (NPDC) which is run by the National Perinatal Statistics Unit (NPSU) which is a collaborating unit of the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW). The NPDC is a national population-based cross sectional data collection of pregnancy and childbirth. The data are based on births reported to the perinatal data collection in each state and territory in Australia. Information is included in the NPDC on both live births and stillbirths of at least 400 grams birthweight or at least 20 weeks gestation. For further information see National Perinatal Statistics Unit - National Perinatal Data Collection


The following tables outline the data items collected from Registrars and published by the ABS Causes of Death statistics collection. The tables indicate for each data item included in the Australian collection, whether that topic is considered to be a 1st or 2nd priority under the UN recommendations.


ABS Causes of death collection of UN specified data items - Deaths


Data Item
Collected through Death Registration Form/Medical Certificate of Cause of Death or NCIS and included in ABS Causes of Death Statistics
UN Priority
1st Priority
2nd Priority
Date of OccurrenceYesX
Date of RegistrationYesX
Place of OccurrenceYesX
Place of RegistrationYesX
Cause of DeathYesX
Manner of DeathYesX
Autopsy indicatorX
Pregnancy indicatorYesX
CertifierYesX
Attendant at Birth if under 1 yearX
Type of Place of OccurrenceX
Date of BirthYesX
SexYesX
Marital StatusYesX
Date of MarriageX
Children ever born alive to mother for females of child bearing ageX
Children ever born to mother and still living for females of child bearing ageX
Educational AttainmentX
Literacy StatusX
CitizenshipX
Whether birth was registered (for deaths under 1 year)X
Born in wedlockX
Economic Activity StatusX
Usual OccupationYes a.X
Place of Usual residenceYesX
Place of Usual Residence of Mother for Deaths under 1 yearX
Place of Previous ResidenceX
Place of Previous Residence at a specified period in the pastX
Place of BirthYesX
Name (first and surname)Yes
Indigenous StatusYes
Number of Children of deceasedYes
Period of residence in AustraliaYes
a) data item may be collected according to different questions, definitions and concepts across states and territories


ABS Causes of death collection of UN specified data items - Foetal Deaths


Data Item
Collected through Death Registration Form/Medical Certificate of Cause of Death or NCIS and included in ABS Causes of Death Statistics
UN Priority
1st Priority
2nd Priority
Date of OccurrenceYesX
Date of RegistrationYesX
Place of OccurrenceYesX
Place of RegistrationYesX
Type of BirthYesX
Attendant at Birth X
Cause of DeathYesX
CertifierYesX
Type of Place of OccurrenceX
Date of BirthYesX
SexYesX
Born in WedlockX
Weight at BirthYesX
Gestational AgeYesX
Date of Birth of Mother YesX
Number of prenatal visitsX
Month of pregnancy prenatal care beganX
Children ever born alive to mother during her entire lifetimeX
Children ever born to mother and still living X
Foetal Deaths to mother during her entire lifetimeX
Date of last previous live birthX
Date of MarriageX
Duration of MarriageX
Educational Attainment of Mother and FatherX
Literacy Status of Mother and FatherX
Citizenship of Mother and FatherX
Economic Activity Status of Mother and FatherX
Usual Occupation of Mother and FatherYes a.X
Place of Usual residenceYesX
Place of Birth of Mother and FatherYesX
Name (first and surname)Yes
Indigenous StatusYes
a) data item may be collected according to different questions, definitions and concepts across states and territories


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