3302.0 - Deaths, Australia, 1996  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 31/10/1997   
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Death rates lower for married Australians - ABS

Australians who are married experience lower rates of death than those who are divorced, widowed or never married, according to data released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

The publication Deaths, Australia (cat. no. 3302.0) says that these differences are most pronounced for men. Males aged 20-69 years who had never married, experienced death rates two to four times higher than those who were married, and while the pattern is similar for women, the differences are less marked.

In 1996, 128,700 deaths were registered in Australia, the highest number ever recorded. This represents an increase of 12 per cent on the number of deaths registered in 1986 (115,000) and a 14 per cent increase on those registered in 1976 (112,700). Although the number of deaths has increased, this is a reflection of the increasing numbers of older people within the population, as death rates have actually continued to fall.

In 1994-96 the life expectancy for Australian males was 75.2 years while that for females was 81.1 years. Females born in the period 1994-96 can expect to live almost six years longer than males.

Other findings include:

  • The Northern Territory had the highest standardised death rate (8.8 deaths per 1,000 of the standard population) while the Australian Capital Territory had the lowest (6.1).
  • The infant mortality rate is the lowest ever recorded in Australia at 5.8 (deaths per 1,000 live births) and has declined by 34 per cent since 1986.
  • The highest neonatal death rates were experienced by infants with mothers under 20 years of age.
  • Experimental life tables indicate that life expectancy for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people born in the period 1991-1996 is around 57 years for males and 66 years for females, 15-18 years less than the non-Indigenous population.

Copies of the publication Deaths, Australia (cat. no. 3302.0) are available from ABS Bookshops.