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3302.0 - Deaths, Australia, 2008 Quality Declaration 
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 25/11/2009   
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This publication brings together statistics on deaths and mortality in Australia. Data refer to deaths registered during the calendar year shown, unless otherwise stated. State or territory relates to state or territory of usual residence, unless otherwise stated.

Populations used in the calculation of death rates for 2006 and earlier years are the final estimated resident population by age and sex based on results of the 2006 Census of Population and Housing (2006 Census) and earlier censuses. Death rates for 2007 use revised 30 June 2007 estimated resident population while rates for 2008 use preliminary 30 June 2008 estimated resident population.


Death rates for 2007 have been revised using revised 30 June 2007 estimated resident population.

Estimates of Indigenous and non-Indigenous life expectancy at birth for 2005-2007 are included in Chapter 3: Deaths of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians.


As there is under-identification of deaths of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (Indigenous) Australians in most states and territories, death rates for Indigenous Australians presented in this publication are likely to be underestimates of the true rates. Fluctuations in the level of Indigenous mortality over time partly reflect changing levels of identification of Indigenous deaths. Given the volatility in measures of Indigenous mortality, caution should be exercised in assessing trends in Indigenous mortality over time.


Causes of death information is published under the 3303.0 product family. See Causes of Death, Australia: Doctor Certified Deaths, Summary Tables (cat. no. 3303.0.55.001) and Causes of Death, Australia (cat. no. 3303.0) for more information.

Perinatal death statistics are published in Perinatal Deaths, Australia, 2007 (cat. no. 3304.0) and previously, in Causes of Death, Australia (cat. no. 3303.0).


The release of state/territory life tables for 2006-2008 (cat. nos. 3302.1.55.001 to 3302.8.55.001) has been deferred until 11th December 2009. Life tables for Australia for 2006-2008 are published in Life Tables, Australia, 2006-2008 (cat. no. 3302.0.55.001) and included in this issue (see Chapter 4: Life Tables).


Calculations as shown in the commentary sections of this publication are based on unrounded figures. Calculations using rounded figures may differ from those published. It is recommended that when using information presented in this publication, the relevant statistics be rounded. All data are affected by errors in reporting and processing. Death registrations data are also affected by delays in registration.

Where necessary, tables have had small values suppressed or randomised to protect confidentiality. As a result, sums of components may not add to totals.


For further information about these and related statistics, contact the National Information and Referral Service on 1300 135 070 or Tracey Coomber on Canberra (02) 6252 5406.



  • There were 143,900deaths registered in Australia in 2008, approximately 6,100 (4.4%) more than the number registered in 2007 (137,900).
  • The standardised death rate (SDR) has remained at 6.0 deaths per 1,000 standard population in 2008, which was the same as in 2005, 2006 and 2007.
  • Over the past 20years, SDRs have decreased for all states and territories, although New South Wales, Queensland, the Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory experienced slightly higher SDRs in 2008 than in 2007.
  • The highest standardised death rate in 2008 was in the Northern Territory (9.2 deaths per 1,000 standard population), while the lowest rates were in Victoria and the Australian Capital Territory (both 5.8).
  • Over the past 20 years death rates have declined for both males and females for all ages. The largest proportional decreases in male age-specific death rates over this period occurred in the 10-14 years (down 62%) and 15-19 years age groups (down 58%). For females, the 5-9 years age group experienced the largest proportional decrease (down 56%), followed by females aged 15-19 years (down 52%).

  • Over the past 20 years life expectancy at birth has improved by 6.1 years for males and 4.2 years for females. Based on current mortality rates, a boy born in 2006-2008 can expect to live 79.2 years while a girl can expect to live 83.7 years.
  • According to United Nations estimates for 2005-10, Australia's life expectancy at birth is ranked among the highest in the world. Australia's male life expectancy at birth ranks fourth, below Iceland, Hong Kong (SAR of China), and Switzerland. Australia's female life expectancy at birth is ranked sixth, below Japan, Hong Kong (SAR of China), France, Switzerland and Spain.

  • In 2008 there were 1,200 infant deaths (deaths of children less than one year of age) registered in Australia. This was a 1.9% increase over the number registered in 2007.
  • The infant mortality rate in 2008 was 4.1 infant deaths per 1,000 live births, slightly lower than the rate in 2007.

  • There were 2,500 deaths registered in Australia in 2008 where the deceased person was identified as being of Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander or both origins (Indigenous).

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