3302.0 - Deaths, Australia, 2010 Quality Declaration 
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 10/11/2011   
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This publication brings together statistics on deaths and mortality in Australia. Data refer to deaths registered during the calendar year shown, unless otherwise stated. State or territory relates to state or territory of usual residence, unless otherwise stated.

Populations used in the calculation of death rates for 2006 and earlier years are the final estimated resident population by age and sex based on results of the 2006 Census of Population and Housing (2006 Census) and earlier censuses. Death rates for 2009 are calculated using revised 30 June 2009 estimated resident population, while rates for 2010 are calculated using preliminary 30 June 2010 estimated resident population.


Death rates for 2009 have been revised using revised 30 June 2009 estimated resident population.

Standardised death rates by country of birth have replaced indirect standardised death rates.

A feature article is included on mortality analysis by remoteness areas. See Chapter 5: Mortality analysis by Remoteness Areas for more information.

A data cube containing death statistics by remoteness area has been released and is available for download from the ABS website. See data cube Table 7: Deaths, Summary, Remoteness Areas, 2005 to 2010.

Deaths of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians registered in Queensland in 2010

A technical note is included on unusual volatility in the number of deaths of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians registered in Queensland in 2010. See Technical Note: Registration of outstanding deaths, Queensland, 2010 for more information.

Deaths of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians registered in Western Australia in recent years

The number of deaths of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians registered in Western Australia has fluctuated significantly over the 2006 to 2009 reference years. Preliminary investigations conducted by the ABS through cross-checking these deaths with other variables such as country of birth and age at death indicated a data quality issue resulting in an over-reporting of deaths of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people for 2007 and 2008. Since the preliminary ABS investigations, the Western Australian Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages has examined the original death registration forms for a sample of relevant records and advised the ABS of a system error which has led to some non-Indigenous deaths being recorded as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander deaths in 2007 and 2008. At this stage it is possible that some records in 2009 are also affected. An initial examination of 2010 data indicates that death registrations for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians have returned to pre-2007 levels. However, ABS is awaiting confirmation that the system error has had no impact on the 2010 Western Australia death registrations although this is expected to be the case. Pending resolution of this matter, deaths by Indigenous status for Western Australia for 2007, 2008 and 2009 in this publication have been suppressed.


Future issues of this publication will release sub-state death statistics under the new Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS) (see Appendix: ASGS and the availability of sub-state death statistics).


The content within this publication is currently being reviewed which may affect future issues.


On release of this publication, life tables for Australia and the states and territories for the period 2008-2010 will be available on the ABS website:


Calculations as shown in the commentary sections of this publication are based on unrounded figures. Calculations using rounded figures may differ from those published.

It is recommended that when using information presented in this publication, the relevant statistics be rounded. All data are affected by errors in reporting and processing. Death registrations data are also affected by delays in registration.


Causes of death information is published under the 3303.0 product family. See Causes of Death, Australia: Doctor Certified Deaths, Summary Tables (cat. no. 3303.0.55.001) and Causes of Death, Australia (cat. no. 3303.0) for more information.

Perinatal death statistics are published in Perinatal Deaths, Australia (cat. no. 3304.0).


The efforts of Registries of Births, Deaths and Marriages to improve the data quality, coverage and timeliness of death registration information, processes and systems are noted and valued by the ABS.


Where necessary, tables have had small values suppressed or randomised to protect confidentiality. As a result, sums of components may not add to totals.


For further information about these and related statistics, contact the National Information and Referral Service on 1300 135 070 or Tracey Coomber on Canberra (02) 6252 5406.



  • There were 143,900deaths registered in Australia in 2008, approximately 6,100 (4.4%) more than the number registered in 2007 (137,900).
  • The standardised death rate (SDR) has remained at 6.0 deaths per 1,000 standard population in 2008, which was the same as in 2005, 2006 and 2007.
  • Over the past 20years, SDRs have decreased for all states and territories, although New South Wales, Queensland, the Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory experienced slightly higher SDRs in 2008 than in 2007.
  • The highest standardised death rate in 2008 was in the Northern Territory (9.2 deaths per 1,000 standard population), while the lowest rates were in Victoria and the Australian Capital Territory (both 5.8).
  • Over the past 20 years death rates have declined for both males and females for all ages. The largest proportional decreases in male age-specific death rates over this period occurred in the 10-14 years (down 62%) and 15-19 years age groups (down 58%). For females, the 5-9 years age group experienced the largest proportional decrease (down 56%), followed by females aged 15-19 years (down 52%).

  • Over the past 20 years life expectancy at birth has improved by 6.1 years for males and 4.2 years for females. Based on current mortality rates, a boy born in 2006-2008 can expect to live 79.2 years while a girl can expect to live 83.7 years.
  • According to United Nations estimates for 2005-10, Australia's life expectancy at birth is ranked among the highest in the world. Australia's male life expectancy at birth ranks fourth, below Iceland, Hong Kong (SAR of China), and Switzerland. Australia's female life expectancy at birth is ranked sixth, below Japan, Hong Kong (SAR of China), France, Switzerland and Spain.

  • In 2008 there were 1,200 infant deaths (deaths of children less than one year of age) registered in Australia. This was a 1.9% increase over the number registered in 2007.
  • The infant mortality rate in 2008 was 4.1 infant deaths per 1,000 live births, slightly lower than the rate in 2007.

  • There were 2,500 deaths registered in Australia in 2008 where the deceased person was identified as being of Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander or both origins (Indigenous).