The median age at death for suicide in 2006 was 43.7 years for males and 45.1 years for females. In comparison, the median age for deaths from all causes in 2006 was 76.8 for males and 82.9 years for females.
Age-specific death rates are the number of deaths during the calendar year at a specified age per 1,000,000 of the estimated resident population of the same age (see Glossary for further information). The pattern of age-specific rates in 2006 for suicide in males and females is shown in the graph below.
5.3 Age-Specific Suicide Rates, 2006 (a)
The highest age-specific suicide death rate for males in 2006 was observed in the 85 years and over age group (35 per 100,000 ). However, this number is inflated by the small population, and the relatively high number of deaths in this age group. As a proportion of total deaths in this age group, suicide deaths were relatively low (0.7%). The age-specific death rates for the 45-54 years age group was 20.4 per 100,000 males, and 20.1 per 100,000 males in the 35-44 year age group. Suicide as a proportion of total deaths for these age groups were 17% and 34% respectively. The age-specific suicide rate for males was lowest in the 15-19 years age group (8.8 per 100,000).
For females the highest age-specific suicide death rate in 2006 was observed in the 35-44 years age group (5.4 per 100,000) and the lowest in the 15-24 years age group (3.8 per 100,000).
Age standardisation is used to compare death rates over time, as it accounts for any changes in the age-structure of a population over time. The age-standardised suicide rate (for persons) in 2006 was 8.6 per 100,000. This compares with 14.7 per 100,000 in 1997.
The age-standardised suicide rate in 2006 for males was 13.6 per 100,000 while the corresponding rate for females was 3.8 per 100,000. Throughout the period 1997 to 2006 the male age-standardised suicide death rate was approximately four times higher than the corresponding female rate, as can be seen in the following graph.
5.4 Age-Standardised Death Rates for Suicide (a)