Information contained in the preceding chapters of this publication refer to deaths registered during the 2011 calendar year. In this chapter, death statistics are based on a year of occurrence, that is, the year in which the death actually occurred, rather than the year it was registered. The presentation of year of occurrence data in this publication facilitates international comparisons.
There are a proportion of deaths that occur in a year which are not registered until subsequent years. The international standard for publishing on a year of occurrence basis is to include deaths registered within the relevant occurrence year, and deaths for that same occurrence year which are registered the year immediately following. For example, deaths occurring in 2010 that have been registered in both 2010 and 2011 are presented below.
Analysis of deaths in Australia has shown that the number of deaths registered after the second year is not significant; that is, there is a very small number of deaths registered after the second year of death.
Year of occurrence data allow for seasonal analysis, and data are not distorted by the effects of late registrations or changes in time lags in processing registrations. In those countries where registration systems are complete and timely, there is not a significant difference between the number of deaths derived on a year of registration basis and those on a year of occurrence basis.
For Australia, approximately 95% of deaths registered in a particular year occurred in that year. However, variations can occur in certain subsets of the population and for particular causes of death. For instance, while 94.3% of the total 143,396 deaths registered in 2010 occurred in the same year, only 77.8% of the 2,762 Indigenous deaths and 91.0% of 8,951 deaths due to External causes registered in 2010 occurred in that year. More detailed data for specific causes or population groups are available from the ABS on request.