3303.0 - Causes of Death, Australia, 2016  
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Glossary

Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander

Persons who identify themselves as being of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander origin.

Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander death

The death of a person who is recorded as being an Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander, or both on the Death Registration Form (DRF). The Indigenous status is also derived from the Medical Certificate of Cause of Death (MCCD) for South Australia, Western Australia, Tasmania, the Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory from 2007 and for Queensland from 2015. If the Indigenous status reported in the DRF does not agree with that in the MCCD, an identification from either source that the deceased was an Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander person is given preference over non-Indigenous. For New South Wales and Victoria, Indigenous status of the deceased is derived from the DRF only.

Age-specific death rate

Age-specific death rates (ASDRs) are the number of deaths (occurred or registered) during the reference year at a specified age per 100,000 of the estimated resident population of the same age at the mid-point of the year (30 June). ASDR for deaths under 1 year of age are calculated based on 1,000 live births for that year.

All births

All births comprises all live births plus all fetal deaths (gestation at least 20 weeks or birth weight at least 400 grams) for a specific year. This is the denominator used in calculating perinatal and fetal death rates in this publication. For data tables pertaining to the World Health Organization definition of a perinatal death, all births comprises all live births plus all fetal deaths with gestation of at least 22 weeks or a birth weight of at least 500 grams). See Appendix 1 (Data used in calculating death rates) for further information.

Associated causes of death

All causes listed on a death certificate other than the underlying cause.

Australian Statistical Geographic Standard (ASGS)

The ASGS provides a common framework of statistical geography and thereby enables the production of statistics that are comparable and can be spatially integrated. See Explanatory Notes 20-22 in this publication for more information.

Cause of death

The causes of death to be entered on the Medical Certificate of Cause of Death are all those diseases, morbid conditions or injuries that either resulted in or contributed to death and the circumstances of the accident or violence that produced any such injuries.

Certifier type

Deaths may be certified by either a medical practitioner, using the Medical Certificate of Cause of Death, or a coroner. Natural causes are predominantly certified by doctors, whereas external and unknown causes are usually certified by a coroner. However, some deaths for natural causes are referred to coroners for investigation, for example, unaccompanied deaths.

Confidentialised

From 2006, data cells with small values have been randomly assigned to protect confidentiality. As a result some totals will not equal the sum of their components. It is important to note that cells with 0 values have not been affected by confidentialisation. Data presented at the Australia level (with exception to youth suicide tables) is not confidentialised - the death counts presented are exact counts.

Coroner certified deaths

Deaths that were certified by a coroner. Deaths certified by a coroner represent 11-14% of all deaths each year. Coroner cases remain open while cause of death investigations are undertaken, and are closed when coronial investigations are complete. Following completion, causes of death information is passed to the Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages, as well as to the National Coronial Information System (NCIS). All coroner certified deaths registered after 1 January 2006 will be subject to a revision process. For more information see Explanatory Notes 55-58 and the Causes of Death Revisions, 2013 Final Data Technical Note in Causes of Death, Australia, 2015.
Country of birth

The classification of countries used is the Standard Australian Classification of Countries (SACC). For more detailed information refer to the Standard Australian Classification of Countries (SACC) (cat. no. 1269.0).

Counts of death

A form of multiple cause of death analysis that is a calculation of the number of people who have died with a particular disease/s or disorder/s.
Counts of mentions

A form of multiple cause of death analysis that calculates the total number of incidences of particular disease/s or disorder/s listed on the death certificate.

Crude death rate

The crude death rate (CDR) is the number of deaths registered during the reference year per 100,000 estimated resident population at 30 June.

Data cubes

Data cubes are a series of spreadsheets which present Causes of Death data. Causes of Death data cubes can be found on the web page under the Downloads tab.

Death

Death is the permanent disappearance of all evidence of life after birth has taken place. The definition excludes all deaths prior to live birth. For the purposes of the Deaths and Causes of Death collections of the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), a death refers to any death that occurs in, or en route to, Australia and is registered with a state or territory Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages.

Doctor-certified deaths

Deaths that were certified by a doctor or medical practitioner, which were not required to be referred on to a coroner. Deaths certified by a doctor represent around 86%-89% of all deaths each year. Doctor certified deaths are not subject to the revisions process.

Early neonatal death

Death of a live born baby within seven days of birth.

Estimated resident population (ERP)

The official measure of the population of Australia is based on the concept of residence. It refers to all people, regardless of nationality or citizenship, who usually live in Australia, with the exception of foreign diplomatic personnel and their families. It includes usual residents who are overseas for fewer than 12 months over a 16-month period and excludes those who are in Australia for fewer than 12 months over a 16-month period.

External causes of death

Deaths due to causes external to the body (for example suicide, transport accidents, falls, poisoning etc.). These relate to ICD-10 codes V01-Y98.

External territories

Australian external territories include Australian Antarctic Territory, Coral Sea Islands Territory, Territory of Ashmore and Cartier Islands, and Territory of Heard and McDonald Islands.

Fetal death

A fetal death is a death prior to the complete expulsion or extraction from its mother as a product of conception of at least 20 completed weeks of gestation or with a birth weight of at least 400 grams (or at least 22 weeks' gestation or 500 grams' birthweight when using the World Health Organization definition of a fetal death). The death is indicated by the fact that after such separation the fetus does not breathe or show any other evidence of life, such as beating of the heart, pulsation of the umbilical cord, or definite movement of voluntary muscles. See Explanatory Notes 16-18 for further information.

Fetal death rate

The number of fetal deaths in a reference year per 1,000 all births (live births plus fetal deaths of relevant scope) in the same year. See 'All births' above. Plus fetal deaths of relevant scope

ICD

International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems. The purpose of the ICD is to permit the systematic recording, analysis, interpretation and comparison of mortality and morbidity data collected in different countries or areas and at different times. The ICD, which is endorsed by the World Health Organization (WHO), is primarily designed for the classification of diseases and injuries with a formal diagnosis. The ICD-10 is the current classification system, which is structured using an alphanumeric coding scheme. Each disease or health problem listed on the death certificate is assigned a 3-character identification code. Cause of death statistics can be produced for aggregates of these, for example, chapter level (letter), 2-character code (first two characters of the assigned code), and 3-character code (first three characters of the assigned code). See Explanatory Notes 22-26 for more information on ICD. Further information also is available from the WHO website.

Indirect standardised death rate (ISDR)

See Standardised Death Rate (SDR).
Infant death

An infant death is the death of a live born child who dies before reaching his/her first birthday.

Infant death rate

The number of deaths of children under one year of age in a reference year per 1,000 live births in the same reference year.

Intent

The manner or intent of an injury that leads to death is determined by whether the injury was inflicted purposefully or not (in some cases, intent cannot be determined). The determination of "intent" for each death is essential for determining the appropriate ICD-10 code to use for a death. See Explanatory Notes 50-54 for more information.

Late neonatal death

Death of a live born baby after seven completed days and within 28 completed days of birth.

Leading causes of death

Ranking causes of death is a useful method of describing patterns of mortality in a population and allows comparison over time and between populations. The ranking of leading causes of death in this publication is based on research presented in the Bulletin of the World Health Organization, Volume 84, Number 4, April 2006, 297-304. From 2016 reference year data onwards, an amendment has been made to the leading cause grouping for Malignant neoplasm of colon, sigmoid, rectum and anus (C18-C21) to also include Malignant neoplasm: Intestinal tract, part unspecified (C26.0). See Explanatory Note 37 for further information.

Live births

A live birth is the complete expulsion or extraction of a child from its mother as a product of conception, irrespective of the duration of pregnancy, which after such separation, breathes or shows any other evidence of life, such as beating of the heart, pulsation of the umbilical cord or definite movement of voluntary muscles, whether or not the umbilical cord has been cut or the placenta is attached; each product of such a birth is considered live born. This is the denominator used in calculating neonatal and infant death rates in this publication, and contributes to the denominator used for calculating fetal and total perinatal death rates. See Explanatory Note 98.

Mechanism of death

Mechanisms of external cause of death by which a person may die include: poisoning; hanging and other threats to breathing; drowning and submersion; firearms; contact with sharp object; and falls.

Median age at death

This refers to the age at death at the 50th percentile for the relevant demographic group.

Morbid train of events

The events and diseases that lead to death.

Mortality

Death.

Multiple causes of death

All morbid conditions, diseases and injuries entered on the death certificate. These include those involved in the morbid train of events leading to death which were classified as either the underlying cause, the immediate cause, or any intervening causes, and those conditions that contributed to death but were not related to the disease or condition causing death. For deaths where the underlying cause was identified as an external cause (for example, injury or poisoning, etc.) multiple causes include circumstances of injury and the nature of injury as well as any other conditions reported on the death certificate. See explanatory notes 97-99 for further information.

National Coronial Information System (NCIS)

The NCIS is a national data storage system which contains information about all deaths referred to a coroner since July 2000 (January 2001 for Queensland).

Natural cause of death

Deaths due to diseases (for example diabetes, cancer, heart disease etc.) that are not external or unknown.

Neonatal death

A neonatal death is death of a live born baby within 28 completed days of birth.

Neonatal death rate

The number of deaths in a reference year of live born babies within 28 completed days of birth per 1,000 live births in the same reference year.

Neonatal period

The neonatal period commences at birth and ends 28 completed days after birth.

Other Territories

Following the 1992 amendments to the Acts Interpretation Act, the Indian Ocean Territories of Christmas Island and the Cocos (Keeling) Islands are included as part of geographic Australia. As of 01 July, 2016, Norfolk Island is now also considered part of geographic Australia, due to the introduction of the Norfolk Island Legislation Amendment Act 2015. Jervis Bay Territory (previously included with the Australian Capital Territory), Christmas Island, the Cocos (Keeling) Islands and Norfolk Island appear as "Other Territories", which is another category that has been created at the same level as states and territories within the Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS).

Perinatal death

A death that is either a fetal death (i.e. a death prior to the complete expulsion or extraction from its mother as a product of conception of 20 completed weeks of gestation or with a birth weight of at least 400 grams (or 22 weeks' gestation or 500 grams' birth weight according to World Health Organization scope)), or a neonatal death (i.e. death of a live born baby within 28 completed days of birth).
Perinatal death rate

For comparison and measuring purposes, perinatal deaths in this publication have also been expressed as rates. Perinatal death rates are the number of perinatal deaths in a reference year (i.e. fetal and neonatal deaths) per 1,000 all births in the same reference year. See 'All births'.

Perinatal period

The perinatal period commences at 20 weeks of gestation and ends within 28 completed days of birth.

Period of gestation

Period of gestation is measured from the first day of the last normal menstrual period to the date of birth and is expressed in completed weeks.

Post neonatal death

Death of a live born baby after 28 days and within one year of birth.

Rate difference

Rate difference is calculated by subtracting the standardised death rate for one group (such as all persons with a usual residence of Queensland) from the standardised death rate for the total relevant population (such as all persons with a usual residence of Australia).

Rate ratio

Rate ratio is calculated by dividing the standardised death rate for one group (such as all persons with a usual residence of Queensland) by the standardised death rate for the total relevant population (such as all persons with a usual residence of Australia).

Reference year

The year that presented data refers to. For example, this publication presents data for the 2016 reference year, as well as some historical data for the 2007 to 2015 reference years. From 2008, data for a particular reference year includes all deaths registered in Australia for the reference year that are received by the ABS by the end of the March quarter of the subsequent year. For example, data for the 2016 reference year includes all deaths registered in Australia in 2016 that were received by the ABS by the end of March 2017. See Explanatory Notes 7-17 for more information about scope and coverage.

Registration year

Data presented on a year of registration basis relate to the date the death was registered with the relevant state or territory Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages. In most cases the year of registration and year of occurrence for a particular death will be the same, but in some cases there may be a delay between occurrence and registration of death.

Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages

Each state and territory has a Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages. It is a legal requirement that all deaths are recorded by the relevant Registry for the state or territory in which the death occurred.

Reportable deaths

Deaths which are reported to a coroner. See Explanatory Note 5 for further information on what constitutes a reportable death.

Revisions process

When additional information about an 'open' coroner certified death is received by the ABS, a more specific ICD-10 code may be applied, thereby 'revising' the cause of death. See Explanatory Notes 55-58 and A More Timely Annual Collection: Changes to ABS Processes (Technical Note) and Causes of Death Revisions, 2013 Final Data (Technical Note) in Causes of Death, Australia, 2015 (cat. no. 3303.0).

Sex indeterminate

Sex indeterminate refers to deaths where the deceased has not been specified as male or female. Fetal deaths where sex is indeterminate are included in person totals only, where applicable.

Sex ratio

The number of males per 100 females. The sex ratio is defined for total population, at birth, at death and among age groups by appropriately selecting the numerator and denominator of the ratio.

Standardised death rate (SDR)

Standardised death rates (SDRs) enable the comparison of death rates between populations with different age structures by relating them to a standard population. The current standard population is all persons in the Australian population at 30 June 2001. SDRs are expressed per 100,000 persons. There are two methods of calculating standardised death rates:
  • The direct method - this is used when the populations under study are large and the age-specific death rates are reliable. It is the overall death rate that would have prevailed in the standard population if it had experienced at each age the death rates of the population under study.
  • The indirect method - this is used when the populations under study are small and the age-specific death rates are unreliable or not known. It is an adjustment to the crude death rate of the standard population to account for the variation between the actual number of deaths in the population under study and the number of deaths that would have occurred if the population under study had experienced the age-specific death rates of the standard population.

Throughout this publication, when SDRs are produced for comparison between the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population and the non-Indigenous population, they are produced according to the principles outlined in Appendix: Principles on the use of direct age-standardisation, from Deaths, Australia, 2010 (cat. no. 3302.0). Rates based on a total persons death count of fewer than 20 deaths are not published, in accordance with Principle 3. Standardised Death Rates for the total population have been produced according to the same principles, with the main exception being the use of data up to the 85 and over year age grouping.

State or territory of registration

State or territory of registration refers to the state or territory in which the death was registered. It is the state or territory in which the death occurred, but is not necessarily the deceased's state or territory of usual residence.

State or territory of usual residence

State or territory of usual residence refers to the state or territory in which the person has lived or intended to live for a total of six months or more in a given reference year.

Stillbirth

See fetal death.
Underlying cause of death

The disease or injury that initiated the train of morbid events leading directly to death. Accidental and violent deaths are classified according to the external cause, that is, to the circumstances of the accident or violence which produced the fatal injury rather than to the nature of the injury.

Unknown cause of death

Deaths for which it is not possible to determine between a natural and an external cause.

Usual residence

Usual residence within Australia refers to that address at which the person has lived or intended to live for a total of six months or more in a given reference year.

Year of occurrence

Data presented on a year of occurrence basis relate to the date the death occurred rather than when it was registered with the relevant state or territory Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages. See Explanatory Note 7 for more information.

Years of potential life lost (YPLL)

YPLL measures the extent of 'premature' mortality, where 'premature' mortality is assumed to be any death at age 1-78 years inclusive. By estimating YPLL for deaths of people aged 1-78 years it is possible to assess the significance of specific diseases or trauma as a cause of premature death. See Explanatory Notes 38-41 for an explanation of the calculation of YPLL.