CAUSES OF DEATH STATISTICS
Causes of Death statistics, and the use of these statistics for demographic and health purposes, are key to understanding Australian society and for formulation and monitoring of policies. Causes of death information provide insights into the diseases and factors contributing to reduced life expectancy. Causes of death statistics are one of the oldest and most comprehensive set of health statistics available in Australia.
Causes of death statistics in Australia are recorded as both underlying cause i.e. the disease or injury which initiated the train of morbid events leading directly to death; and multiple cause i.e. all causes and conditions reported on the death certificate that contributed, were associated with or were the underlying cause of the death (see Glossary for further details).
Causes of death data in this publication are classified using the 10th revision of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-10) (see Explanatory Notes 30-33 for further information).
Causes of death data can be presented by using varying types of aggregation depending on the requirements of the data user. In this publication, data are presented in a number of ways to allow different types of analysis.
Chapter 2 of this publication presents data ranked by leading cause of death. The methodology for the listing used is based on research presented in the Bulletin of the World Health Organisation (See Explanatory Note 45). Data presented by Leading Cause is useful when comparing causes of death in different populations and/or over time.
Chapter 3 of this publication presents cause of death data by individual ICD-10 chapter. Data presented in this manner is used to analyse particular causes or groups of similar causes. Information on standardised death rates, age at death and Years of Potential Life Lost for individual and groups of causes is presented in this chapter. Further data is presented by ICD-10 chapter in the datacubes associated with this publication.
Chapter 4 presents data on Multiple Causes of Death. Multiple cause of death data is useful in the analysis of all the associated conditions that led to death, rather than the underlying cause alone.
Chapter 5 on Suicides and chapter 6 on Deaths of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians present summary data on these specific areas of public interest.
Chapter 7, Year of Occurrence, presents data on a year of occurrence basis rather than year of registration, as presented elsewhere in this publication. Year of occurrence allows for seasonal analysis and data are not distorted by the effects of late registrations.
As the Australian population continues to increase in both size and age, the number of deaths registered each year also continues to slowly increase. In 2007, there were 137,854 deaths registered in Australia, approximately 4,000 (3.1%) more than the number registered in 2006 (133,739). The standardised death rate (SDR) in 2007 (6.0 deaths per 1,000 standard population) was the same as in 2005 and 2006, which was the lowest on record.
Males accounted for 70,569 (51%) deaths registered in 2007, a slightly lower proportion than the 67,073 (53%) male deaths registered in 1998. Females accounted for 67,285 (49%) of deaths registered in 2007, an increase over the past decade from 60,129 (47%) deaths in 1998.
Further details on numbers of deaths registered can be found in Deaths, Australia 2006 (cat. no. 3302.0)
Leading Cause of Death
In 2007, Ischaemic heart disease, defined as ICD-10 codes I20-I25, was the leading underlying cause of death in Australia. Ischaemic heart disease includes angina, blocked arteries (heart) and heart attacks, both new and old. It was the underlying cause of 16% of all registered deaths in Australia. It accounted for 17% of all male deaths, and 16% of all female deaths registered in 2007.
Underlying Cause of Death
The table below presents summary causes of death data for each major chapter of the ICD-10. Further information on those causes at the 3-character level where 10, 20, or 50 or more deaths were attributed to the cause in 2007 is presented in Chapter 3 of this publication titled Underlying Cause of Death by ICD-10.
Multiple Cause of Death
1.1 DEATHS, BY ICD-10 CHAPTER LEVEL - 2007(a)
Proportion of total deaths
Standardised Death Rate
|Cause of death and ICD Code |
|Infectious Diseases (A00-B99) |
|Cancer (C00-D48) |
|Blood and Immunity Disorders (D50-D89) |
|Endocrine, nutritional and metabolic diseases (E00-E90) |
|Mental and behavioural disorders (F00-F99) |
|Diseases of the nervous system (G00-G99) |
|Diseases of the heart and blood vessels (I00-I99) |
|Diseases of the respiratory system (J00-J99) |
|Diseases of the digestive system (K00-K93) |
|Diseases of the skin and subcutaneous tissue (L00-L99) |
|Diseases of the muscles, bones and tendons (M00-M99) |
|Diseases of the kidney, urinary system and genitals (N00-N99) |
|Conditions originating in the perinatal period (P00-P96) |
|Congenital and chromosomal abnormalities (Q00-Q99) |
|Ill defined causes (R00-R99) |
|External causes (V01-Y98) |
|ALL CAUSES |
|(a) Cause of death data for 2007 is subject to revision. See Explanatory Notes 3-4 for further information. |
For the 137,854 deaths registered in Australia in 2007, there were 431,191 causes reported giving a mean of 3.1 causes per death. For 20% of all deaths, only one cause was reported, whereas 36% of deaths were reported with three or more causes. The mean number of causes reported per death varies with age, sex and underlying cause of death. For further detail on multiple cause, see the Multiple Cause of Death
section of this publication (Chapter 4).