3302.0 - Deaths, Australia, 2010 Quality Declaration 
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Contents >> Summary of Findings >> Mortality rates



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. In 1990, the crude death rate was 7.0 deaths per 1,000 population, decreasing to 6.4 in 2010.

The standardised death rate (SDR), which takes into account the effect of changes in the age structure of Australia's population over time, has also decreased over the past 20 years. In 1990, the SDR was 8.6 deaths per 1,000 standard population, which has decreased to 5.7 in 2010 (a decrease of 34%). See Glossary for more information on how standardised death rates are calculated.

2.3 Standardised death rates(a), Australia - 1975 to 2010
Graph: 2.3 Standardised death rates(a), Australia—1975 to 2010

While male mortality rates remain higher than female mortality rates, the difference has narrowed in the past 20 years. In 1990, the SDR for males was 4.1 deaths higher than the SDR for females, while in 2010 the male SDR was 2.1 deaths higher than the female rate.

Remoteness areas

The ABS recently conducted exploratory analysis of mortality patterns by Remoteness Area (RA) for the period 2005 to 2010. The analysis showed that mortality rates were much lower in major cities than in regional and remote areas, at the Australia level and for all states and territories.

In 2010, the standardised death rate was lowest in Australia's Major Cities, with 5.7 deaths per 1,000 standard population, followed by Inner Regional (6.2), Outer Regional (6.4), Remote (6.8) and Very Remote (8.1).

Infant mortality shows a similar pattern in respect of remoteness areas. In 2010, the infant mortality rate was lowest in Major Cities (3.9 deaths per 1000 live births) and highest in Very Remote areas (8.8 deaths per 1000 live births).

For more information see Chapter 5: Mortality analysis by Remoteness Areas and data cube Table 7: Deaths, Summary, Remoteness Areas-2005 to 2010.

States and territories

Over the past 20 years, all states and territories have experienced overall declines in SDRs, with the Northern Territory experiencing the largest decline (from 13.1 deaths per 1,000 standard population in 1990 to 7.7 in 2010) and Western Australia experiencing the smallest decline (from 7.9 to 5.5 over the same period).

In 2010, the Northern Territory's SDR of 7.7 deaths per 1,000 standard population remained much higher than that in other states and territories, while Tasmania recorded the second highest SDR (6.7). The lowest SDR was recorded in the Australian Capital Territory, with 5.3 deaths per 1,000 standard population.

Care should be taken when interpreting data for Queensland for 2010, as these data have been affected by the registration of outstanding deaths initiative undertaken by the Queensland Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages. This initiative resulted in 374 outstanding deaths being registered. Of these, approximately 76% were deaths of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander persons (see Technical Note: Registration of outstanding deaths, Queensland, 2010, and paragraph 36 of the Explanatory Notes for more information).

2.4 Standardised Death Rates(a), States and territories - 1990, 2009 and 2010
Graph: 2.4 Standardised Death Rates(a), States and territories—1990, 2009 and 2010

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