Information contained in the preceding chapters of this publication refer to deaths registered during the 2009 calendar year. In this chapter, death statistics are based on 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 2008 that have been registered in both 2008 and 2009 are presented below.
Analysis of deaths in Australia has shown that the numbers of deaths registered after the second year are not significant; that is, there is a very small number of deaths registered after the second year.
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 no significant difference between the number of deaths derived on a year of registration basis and the number of deaths derived on a year of occurrence basis.
For Australia, approximately 95% of deaths registered in a particular year occur in that year. However, variations can occur in certain subsets of the population and for particular causes of death. For instance, 93.9% of all deaths registered in 2008 occurred in the same year. However only 86.4% of Indigenous deaths and 89.9% of deaths due to external causes registered in 2008 occurred in that year. More detailed data for specific causes or population groups are available from the ABS on request.