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The median age at death for suicide in 2011 was 43.2 years for males, 42.6 years for females and 43.1 overall. In comparison, the median age for deaths from all causes in 2011 was 78.4 years for males, 84.5 years for females and 81.5 years overall.
Age-specific death rates are the number of deaths during the reference year for specific age groups per 100,000 of the estimated resident population of the same age group (see Glossary for further information). The pattern of age-specific rates in 2011 for suicide in males and females is shown in the graph below.
Footnote(s): (a) Includes ICD-10 codes X60-X84 and Y87.0. Care needs to be taken in interpreting figures relating to suicide. See Explanatory Notes 92-95. (b) Rate per 100,000 estimated mid-year resident population for each age group and sex. (c) Causes of death data for 2011 are preliminary and subject to a revisions process. See Explanatory Notes 29-33 and Technical Notes, Causes of Death Revisions 2006, in Causes of Death, Australia, 2010 (cat. no. 3303.0) and Causes of Death Revisions 2009 and 2010 in this publication.
Source(s): Causes of Death, Australia
The highest age-specific suicide death rate for males in 2011 was observed in the 85 years and over age group (32.1 per 100,000 males). As a proportion of total male deaths in this age group, suicide deaths represented 0.2%. The second highest age-specific suicide rate was observed in the 80-84 year age group, with 24.4 suicide deaths per 100,000 males. Suicide as a proportion of total male deaths for this age group was 0.4%. The age-specific suicide rate for males was lowest in the 15-19 year age group (10.4 per 100,000), however, this represented over a quarter of all deaths in this age group (25.8%).
For females the highest age-specific suicide death rate in 2011 was observed in the 85 years and over age group, with 7.8 deaths per 100,000. The lowest age-specific death rate for female deaths was in the 65-69 year age groups (3.5 deaths 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 2011 was 9.9 per 100,000. This compares with 11.8 per 100,000 in 2002.
The age-standardised suicide rate in 2011 for males was 15.2 per 100,000 while the corresponding rate for females was 4.7 per 100,000.
Footnote(s): (a) Age-standardised rate per 100,000. Standardised using direct method and the Australian estimated resident population (persons) at 30 June 2001 as standard population. (b) Includes ICD-10 codes X60-X84 and Y87.0. Care needs to be taken in interpreting figures relating to suicide. See Explanatory Notes 92-95. (c) All causes of death data from 2006 onward are subject to a revisions process - once data for a reference year are 'final', they are no longer revised. Affected data in this table are: 2006-2009 (final), 2010 (revised), 2011 (preliminary). See Explanatory Notes 29-33 and Technical Notes, Causes of Death Revisions, 2006 in Causes of Death, Australia, 2010 (cat. 3303.0) and Causes of Death Revisions, 2009 and 2010 in this publication.
Source(s): Causes of Death, Australia
Suicide by year of occurrence
Chapters 1-7 (including this chapter on suicide deaths) of the Causes of Death, Australia publication are based on year of registration data (e.g. when the death was registered). Chapter 8 is based on year of occurrence (e.g. the year the death actually occurred).
For the 2011 reference year, 5.2% of deaths had a year of occurrence prior to 2011. This compares with the 2010 reference year where 5.7% of deaths occurred prior to 2010 and the 2009 reference year where 5.2% of deaths occurred prior to 2009.
The number of deaths that are registered in any year will be different to the number of deaths that actually occurred in that year. Counts of specific causes of death (including suicide) based on year of occurrence are available for 2001-2010 in the Year of Occurrence datacube.
The proportion of suicide deaths that occur in a previous reference period can impact the overall count of suicide deaths, along with coronial investigations not being finalised and the revisions process undertaken by the ABS.