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1301.0 - Year Book Australia, 2012  
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 24/05/2012   
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Population

DEATHS

DECLINING DEATH RATES

Standardised death rates (SDR) enable the comparison of death rates between populations with different age structures by relating them to a standard population. The ABS standard populations relate to the years ending in 1 (e.g. 2001). The current standard population is all persons in the Australian population at 30 June 2001.

Over the past 20 years, SDRs have declined for both males and females. The SDR declined to 5.7 deaths per 1,000 standard population in 2010, down from 8.6 in 1990 (graph 7.20).

Northern Territory showed the largest decline in SDRs, from 13.1 deaths per 1,000 standard population in 1990 to 7.7 in 2010. During the same period, Western Australia experienced the smallest decline in SDRs, from 7.9 in 1990 to 5.5 in 2010.

While male mortality rates remain higher than female mortality rates, the difference has narrowed in the past 20 years.

Graph 7.20 Standardised Death Rates(a), States and territories - 1990 and 2010



In 2010, there were 143,500 deaths (73,500 males and 70,000 females) registered in Australia, an increase of approximately 2,700 deaths (or 1.9%) compared with the number of deaths registered in 2009 (140,800). Since the early 1990s, the number of deaths registered has increased by around 0.6% per year on average for males and 1.2% per year for females, with year to year fluctuations. The steady increase in the number of deaths over time reflects the increasing size of the population and, in particular, the increasing number of older people. With the continued ageing of the population, the number of deaths is projected to continue to increase throughout the remainder of the century (see Series B, Population Projections, Australia, 2006 to 2101 (3222.0)).

Despite the ageing of the population over the last 20 years, death rates have continued to decline over the long term. The crude death rate declined from 7.0 deaths per 1,000 population in 1990 to 6.7 deaths per 1,000 population in 2008, and has declined since then, to 6.4 deaths per 1,000 population in 2010. Given the ageing of Australia's population, the overall decline in the crude death rate indicates a considerable decline in age-specific death rates over the period.

The standardised death rate (SDR), which eliminates the effect of changes in the age structure of a population over time, was 5.7 deaths per 1,000 standard population in 2010, down by 34% from 1990 (8.6). The rate for 2010 is the lowest on record.

Life expectancy

Life expectancy is the average number of additional years a person of a given age and sex might expect to live if the age-specific death rates of the given period were to continue throughout his or her remaining lifetime.

Over the past century, male life expectancy at birth has increased by 24 years, from 55.2 years in 1901–1910 to 79.5 years in 2008–2010 (graph 7.21). Similarly, female life expectancy at birth has increased by 25 years, from 58.8 years to 84.0 years. The increase in life expectancy at birth reflects declining death rates at all ages.

Graph 7.21 Life expectancy at birth



Improvements in living conditions in the early 20th century, such as better water supplies, sewerage systems, food quality and health education resulted in an overall decline in mortality. The continuing reduction in mortality in the latter half of last century is attributed to improving social conditions and advances in medical technology such as mass immunisation and antibiotics. The past two decades in particular have seen further increases in life expectancy. These increases are due in part, but not limited to, lower infant mortality and fewer deaths among older men from heart disease. The reduction in the number of deaths from heart disease has been related to medical advances and behavioural changes such as improvements in diet and a reduction in smoking.

During the 20th century, life expectancy of new-born girls was consistently higher than that of new-born boys, with the difference peaking at about seven years in the 1970s and early 1980s. The change in the difference in recent decades is largely due to the decline in heart disease, stroke and respiratory disease mortality among women. In recent years, the gap in life expectancy between new-born males and females narrowed to around five years. This can be attributed to the reductions in death rates of males aged 45 years and over, and particularly to the reduction in heart disease deaths among males.

The increase in life expectancy for older persons has implications for retirement planning and income policies. Life expectancy of 65-year old males increased from 15 years in 1990–1992 to 19 years in 2008–2010, while life expectancy of 65-year old females increased from 19 years to 22 years during the same period.

A life table is a statistical model that is constructed from the death rates of a population at different ages. It is frequently used to express death in terms of the probability of dying. In its simplest form, a life table is generated from age-specific death rates and the resulting values are used to measure mortality, survivorship and life expectancy.

Table 7.22 shows the expectations of additional years of life at specific ages for Australian males and females using deaths for the period 2008 to 2010.


7.22 EXPECTANCY OF LIFE AT SPECIFIC AGES(a)

Males
Females
At exact age (years)
years
years

0
79.5
84.0
10
70.0
74.4
20
60.2
64.5
30
50.6
54.7
40
41.0
44.9
50
31.7
35.4
60
23.0
26.2
70
15.0
17.6
80
8.5
10.1
90
4.2
4.8
100
2.5
2.7

(a) Calculated using data for the three years 2008 to 2010.

Source:
Deaths, Australia (3302.0).


Table 7.23 provides selected summary measures of mortality for the period 2000 to 2010.


7.23 SELECTED SUMMARY MEASURES OF MORTALITY

Life expectancy at birth(c)

Registered
deaths
Crude
death
rate(a)
Infant
mortality
rate(b)
Males
Females
Year
'000
rate
rate
years
years

2000
128.3
6.7
5.2
76.6
82.0
2001
128.5
6.6
5.3
77.0
82.4
2002
133.7
6.8
5.0
77.4
82.6
2003
132.3
6.6
4.8
77.8
82.8
2004
132.5
6.6
4.7
78.1
83.0
2005
130.7
6.4
5.0
78.5
83.3
2006
133.7
6.5
4.7
78.7
83.5
2007
137.9
6.5
4.2
79.0
83.7
2008
143.9
6.7
4.1
79.2
83.7
2009
140.8
6.4
4.3
79.3
83.9
2010
143.5
6.4
4.1
79.5
84.0

(a) Deaths per 1,000 population.
(b) Infant deaths (under one year) per 1,000 live births.
(c) Data are based on three-year averages, with the year shown being the last year of the three-year period.
Source: Australian Historical Population Statistics (3105.0.65.001); Deaths, Australia (3302.0).

 

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Statistics contained in the Year Book are the most recent available at the time of preparation. In many cases, the ABS website and the websites of other organisations provide access to more recent data. Each Year Book table or graph and the bibliography at the end of each chapter provides hyperlinks to the most up to date data release where available.

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