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3302.0 - Deaths, Australia, 2010 Quality Declaration 
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 10/11/2011   
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TECHNICAL NOTE REGISTRATION OF OUTSTANDING DEATHS, QUEENSLAND, 2010


INTRODUCTION

1 In November 2010, the Queensland Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages advised the ABS of an outstanding deaths registration initiative undertaken by the Registry. This initiative resulted in the November 2010 registration of 374 previously unregistered deaths which occurred between 1992 and 2006 (including a few for which a date of death was unknown). Of these, around three-quarters (284) were deaths of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians.

2 Data in this publication are presented on a year of registration basis. Similarly, mortality indicators presented in various Council of Australian Government (COAG) reports, including the National Indigenous Reform Agreement (NIRA), the National Healthcare Agreement (NHA), the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Performance Framework and Overcoming Indigenous Disadvantage reports were compiled using deaths data on a year of registration basis. If this practice is followed for reporting data for the 2010 reference year, mortality indicators for Queensland and any aggregates including Queensland will be overstated and prevent meaningful comparisons over time.

3 This Technical Note summarises the effects of these extra death registrations on selected mortality indicators. A method is outlined to adjust death registrations for Queensland for 2010 that aims to minimise the impact on mortality indicators used in various government reports. This is followed by analysis comparing mortality rates by Indigenous status based on deaths data by: (1) year of registration; (2) year of occurrence and; (3) 'adjusted registration'.


DEATHS BY YEAR OF REGISTRATION AND YEAR OF OCCURRENCE

4 The following table presents deaths of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders by year of registration and year of occurrence separately for those deaths registered up to and including 31 December 2010. The number of deaths by year of occurrence in this series are subject to change, as deaths that occurred up to and including 31 December 2010 but which have not yet been registered, are not included. See paragraphs 26 and 27 of the Explanatory Notes for more information.

5 While the interval between the occurrence and registration of deaths is often longer among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians than among the non-Indigenous population, there is normally little difference between the number of deaths registered in a given year and the number of deaths that occurred in the same year for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians. This is because for each year, the number of deaths that are not registered in the year that they occur are compensated by deaths that occurred in previous years but were subsequently registered. The table below illustrates that if data are routinely reported on a year of occurrence basis, deaths data for the latest year (and the year prior to the latest year) will be underestimated.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander deaths(a), States and territories(b)(c) -
1994 to 2010

NSW
Vic.
Qld(d)
SA
WA(e)
Tas.
NT
ACT
Aust.(f)

Year of registration

1994
207
50
np
123
377
np
380
10
1 153
1995
224
50
np
121
384
np
387
9
1 182
1996
177
49
258
118
370
np
328
np
1 306
1997
88
93
531
132
351
5
458
4
1 662
1998
462
123
593
127
378
13
415
3
2 114
1999
435
130
529
116
350
11
399
6
1 976
2000
473
108
535
144
407
np
450
np
2 127
2001
481
93
565
125
345
np
429
np
2 072
2002
516
64
590
107
371
20
462
4
2 136
2003
485
82
569
137
338
23
435
9
2 079
2004
490
54
579
131
400
20
449
10
2 136
2005
507
71
519
142
406
28
454
11
2 141
2006
530
111
584
124
443
20
452
14
2 279
2007
601
95
594
138
502
24
461
6
2 421
2008
559
97
562
141
605
24
467
16
2 472
2009
591
106
632
160
444
30
431
10
2 405
2010
622
117
948
147
436
37
447
13
2 767

Year of occurrence(g)

1994
197
52
np
121
380
np
401
10
1 175
1995
234
49
np
117
371
np
370
10
1 180
1996
166
67
350
122
351
np
383
np
1 444
1997
98
106
567
137
382
5
408
3
1 706
1998
465
108
595
129
389
13
414
3
2 116
1999
433
105
540
117
347
12
438
7
1 999
2000
480
115
619
140
384
np
428
np
2 177
2001
487
81
581
122
368
np
430
np
2 100
2002
508
64
613
108
384
22
470
5
2 176
2003
494
83
594
144
323
22
418
12
2 092
2004
481
54
629
134
391
19
437
7
2 154
2005
507
80
541
140
416
32
493
12
2 224
2006
529
117
587
123
466
16
453
12
2 304
2007
599
94
583
138
513
25
461
8
2 421
2008
559
93
552
143
580
23
483
14
2 448
2009
594
105
623
145
419
33
426
12
2 358
2010
593
101
574
142
355
34
340
11
2 150

(a) From 2007 onwards, Indigenous status for deaths registered in Victoria, South Australia, Western Australia, Tasmania, the Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory is sourced from both the Death Registration Form and Medical Certificate of Cause of Death.
(b) State or territory of usual residence.
(c) Due to differing levels of recording Indigenous status by the states and territories and over time, care should be taken in interpreting change in the number of deaths. As a result, data for Australia should not be analysed as a time series.
(d) Queensland began to register Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander deaths as such in 1996. Care should be taken when interpreting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander deaths data for Queensland for 2010 (as per this Technical Note).
(e) ABS are currently investigating the volatility of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander deaths in WA in recent years. Until this investigation is finalised, ABS advises caution be used when analysing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander deaths data for 2007, 2008 and 2009.
(f) Includes Other Territories.
(g) Includes deaths registered up to and including 31 December 2010. The number of deaths presented on a year of occurrence basis are subject to change, as deaths that occurred prior to 31 December 2010 but have not yet been registered are registered in subsequent years. See paragraphs 26 and 27 of the Explanatory Notes for more information.



DEATH REGISTRATIONS BY YEAR OF OCCURRENCE

6 There were 27,289 deaths registered in 2010 of usual residents of Queensland. All occurred since 1991. Of these deaths, 381 occurred between 1992 and 2006, and a majority of these were registered through the initiative to register outstanding deaths. Of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander deaths registered in Queensland in 2010, 30% (289) occurred between 1992 and 2006. By contrast, less than 1% (31) of non-Indigenous deaths registered in 2010 occurred between 1992 and 2006.

Death registrations, Year of occurrence and Indigenous status -
Queensland(a) - 2010

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
Non-Indigenous
Total(b)
Year of occurrence
persons
persons
persons

1991 and earlier
-
-
-
1992-2006(c)
289
31
381
2007
9
3
13
2008
12
5
18
2009
64
1 220
1 360
2010
574
24 389
25 512
Total(d)
948
25 652
27 289

- nil or rounded to zero (including null cells)
(a) Deaths of usual residents of Queensland.
(b) Includes deaths for which Indigenous status was not stated.
(c) A majority of the deaths that occurred between 1992 and 2006 were registered as part of the initative to register outstanding deaths.
(d) Includes deaths for which year of occurrence was not stated.



ADJUSTMENT OF DEATH REGISTRATIONS

7 The ABS has discussed different methods of adjustment of Queensland death registrations data for 2010 with key stakeholders who are involved in analysis and reporting of COAG 'Closing the Gap' mortality indicators. Following analysis of several methods of adjustment, a paper was presented and discussed at a National Indigenous Reform Agreement Performance Indicators Management Group (NIRAPIMG) meeting on 18 October 2011. Following further analysis, a decision was made by the ABS and key stakeholders to use an adjustment method that added together deaths registered in 2010 for usual residents of Queensland which occurred in 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010. The method is simple to describe, apply and interpret.

8 Deaths data for 2010 for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander, non-Indigenous and total populations have been adjusted. The 'adjusted registrations' for Queensland for 2010 constitute 659 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander deaths, 25,621 non-Indigenous deaths and 26,908 total population deaths (which includes deaths for which Indigenous status was not stated).


IMPACT ON AGE-SPECIFIC DEATH RATES

9 The following table presents age-specific death rates (ASDRs) based on year of registration, adjusted registration and year of occurrence for Queensland. In almost all cases, ASDRs based on adjusted registrations fall between rates based on year of occurrence and rates based on year of registration.

Age-specific death rates, Indigenous status - Queensland - 2006-2010

Registration
Adjusted registration(a)
Occurrence
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
Non-Indigenous
Total(b)
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
Non-Indigenous
Total(b)
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
Non-Indigenous
Total(b)
rate
rate
rate
rate
rate
rate
rate
rate
rate

0(c)
8.8
4.6
5.1
8.3
4.6
5.0
8.0
4.5
4.9
1-4
2.8
1.1
1.3
2.5
1.1
1.2
2.3
1.1
1.2
0-4
12.1
5.9
6.5
11.2
5.8
6.4
10.8
5.7
6.3
5-9
1.1
0.5
0.6
1.0
0.5
0.6
1.1
0.5
0.6
10-14
0.8
0.5
0.5
0.8
0.5
0.5
0.7
0.5
0.5
15-19
3.8
1.8
2.0
3.2
1.8
1.9
3.2
1.7
1.9
20-24
6.6
2.4
2.7
6.0
2.4
2.7
5.7
2.4
2.6
25-29
8.3
2.7
3.0
7.7
2.7
3.0
7.1
2.7
2.9
30-34
11.1
3.4
3.8
9.7
3.4
3.7
9.2
3.3
3.6
35-39
17.0
4.1
4.8
15.9
4.1
4.7
15.0
4.0
4.6
40-44
24.3
5.6
6.4
22.6
5.6
6.3
21.4
5.5
6.2
45-49
32.6
8.5
9.4
29.6
8.5
9.3
28.6
8.4
9.2
50-54
47.4
13.1
14.2
43.0
13.1
14.1
41.1
12.9
13.8
55-59
70.0
20.0
21.3
64.5
20.0
21.2
61.8
19.6
20.8
60-64
93.9
31.8
33.4
86.8
31.8
33.3
82.1
31.3
32.7
65-69
154.4
54.3
56.6
140.5
54.3
56.5
136.7
53.4
55.5
70-74
244.5
91.2
94.6
218.3
91.2
94.3
211.4
90.1
93.1
75 and over
471.2
333.6
340.6
428.9
333.6
340.3
422.4
329.1
335.7
Total(d)
21.8
30.1
30.5
19.9
30.1
30.4
19.1
29.7
29.9

(a) Deaths by year of registration used for 2006 to 2009, and adjusted registrations for 2010.
(b) Includes deaths for which Indigenous status was not stated.
(c) Infant deaths per 1,000 live births. Births by year of registration are used as the denominator.
(d) Includes deaths for which age at death was not stated.



IMPACT ON INFANT MORTALITY RATES

10 In the following graph, infant mortality rates (IMRs) for Queensland for the period 2008-2010 are highest for deaths on a year of registration basis and lowest for deaths on a year of occurrence basis (due to time lags in registrations of both deaths and births). IMRs based on adjusted registration fall between the IMRs based on year of registration and year of occurrence data. The difference in rates based on year of registration, year of occurrence or adjusted registration data are greater for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population than for the non-Indigenous or the total population. This is shown by the ratio of adjusted registration IMRs to year of registration IMRs for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians of 0.92 compared with 0.99 for non-Indigenous Australians and 0.98 for the total population.

Infant Mortality Rates(a)(b), Indigenous status - Queensland - 2008-2010
Graph: Infant Mortality Rates(a)(b), Indigenous status—Queensland—2008–2010


11 The following table presents IMRs for Queensland and aggregated New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia and the Northern Territory for 2008-2010. The patterns of IMRs are similar for aggregated New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia and the Northern Territory data. However, the effect of using adjusted registration data instead of year of registration or year of occurrence data for IMRs is weaker.

Infant mortality rates(a), Indigenous status - 2008-2010

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
Non-Indigenous
Total(b)
rate
rate
rate

Queensland

Registration
8.4
4.6
5.1
Adjusted registration(c)
7.7
4.6
5.0
Occurrence
7.0
4.4
4.8

Total(d)

Registration
7.4
4.2
4.5
Adjusted registration(c)
7.1
4.2
4.5
Occurrence
6.6
4.1
4.3

(a) Infant deaths per 1,000 live births. Births by year of registration used as the denominator.
(b) Includes deaths for which Indigenous status was not stated.
(c) Deaths by year of registration used for 2008 and 2009, and adjusted registrations for 2010.
(d) Data for NSW, Qld, SA and NT combined, based on state and territory of usual residence. Victoria, Tasmania and the ACT are excluded due to small numbers of registered Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander deaths. WA data are excluded due to ongoing investigation into unusual fluctuations. See paragraph 36 of the Explanatory Notes.



IMPACT ON STANDARDISED DEATH RATES

12 The next graph presents standardised death rates (SDRs) using year of registration, year of occurrence and adjusted registration data for 2010. As with IMRs, SDRs are highest for year of registration data, lowest for year of occurrence data (due to registration lags) and SDRs based on adjusted registration data fall between those based on year of registration and those based on year of occurrence data. The difference in rates based on year of registration, year of occurrence or adjusted registration data are greater for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population than for the non-Indigenous or the total population. This is shown by the ratio of adjusted registration SDRs to year of registration SDRs for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians of 0.68 compared with 1.00 for non-Indigenous Australians and 0.99 for the total population.

Standardised Death Rates(a), Indigenous status - Queensland - 2010
Graph: Standardised Death Rates(a), Indigenous status—Queensland—2010


13 The following table presents SDRs for Queensland and aggregated New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Western Australia and the Northern Territory for 2010. In contrast to patterns for IMR, the SDR using adjusted registrations for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population is higher (11.3) for aggregated New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Western Australia and the Northern Territory than for Queensland (11.0). Whereas, in keeping with patterns for IMRs, the SDR for year of registration is lower (12.8) for aggregated New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Western Australia and the Northern Territory than for Queensland (16.0). In both geographic aggregates, SDRs for the non-Indigenous population are identical, and very similar for the total population.

Standardised Death Rates(a), Indigenous status - 2010

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
Non-Indigenous
Total(b)
rate
rate
rate

Queensland

Registration
16.0
5.8
6.1
Adjusted registration
11.0
5.8
6.0
Occurrence
9.6
5.5
5.7

Total(c)

Registration
12.8
5.8
6.0
Adjusted registration
11.3
5.8
6.0
Occurrence
10.0
5.5
5.7

(a) Deaths per 1,000 standard population. Standardised death rates are calculated using the total persons in the Australian population at 30 June 2001 as the standard population.
(b) Includes deaths for which Indigenous status was not stated.
(c) Data are for NSW, Qld, SA, WA, and NT combined, based on state or territory of usual residence. Victoria, Tasmania and the ACT are excluded due to small numbers of registered Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander deaths.


14 The next graph shows the effects of the registration of outstanding deaths on standardised death rates (SDRs) for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians in Queensland for the period 2006 to 2010. The inclusion of deaths from earlier years in the 2010 registrations produces an implausibly high SDR in 2010. Conversely, the 2010 year of occurrence based SDR is an underestimate due to a lag in registration of deaths in the year of occurrence (that is, deaths which occurred in 2010 but were not registered until 2011 or later years). Importantly, the adjusted registrations data for 2010 lead to an SDR for 2010 which is consistent with year of registration based SDRs for earlier years.

Standardised Death Rates(a), Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians - Queensland - 2006 to 2010
Graph: Standardised Death Rates(a), Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians—Queensland—2006 to 2010



CONCLUSION

15 More than three-quarters of deaths registered as part of the outstanding deaths initiative were deaths of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians. This has impacted on mortality rates of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders more than those of the non-Indigenous population. Using 2010 death registrations data for Queensland, and aggregates including Queensland, overstates mortality rates and prevents meaningful comparisons over time. Reporting using year of occurrence data is not an option since the latest year is understated due to registration lags (see paragraphs 26 and 27 of the Explanatory Notes for more information), and earlier years would be subject to annual and potentially ongoing revisions. Standardised death rates based on adjusted death registration data for Queensland for 2010 maintain a level trend with registrations data from earlier years. As a result, adjusted registration data for Queensland for 2010 are recommended for reporting mortality indicators over time.

16 In addition, the registration in 2011 or later years of any substantial number of additional outstanding deaths which occurred in earlier years may require further adjustments to compile mortality indicators for use in meaningful analysis of mortality trends over time.


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