3302.0 - Deaths, Australia, 2003  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 15/12/2004   
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December 15, 2004
Embargoed: 11:30 AM (AEST)

Australians are living longer: ABS

Men are living six years longer than 20 years ago and women fours years longer, according to results published today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

A boy born between 2001-2003 can expect to live an average of 78 years while a girl can expect to live 83 years.

The Australian Capital Territory has the highest life expectancy for both men (79 years) and women (84 years). The Northern Territory has the lowest life expectancy (72 years for men, 77 years for women).

Indigenous life expectancy was estimated at 59 years for men and 65 years women (for babies born between 1996–2001). In the states and territories life expectancy for Indigenous men ranged between 58 years (Northern Territory) and 60 years (New South Wales and Victoria). For Indigenous women life expectancy ranged between 63 years (Queensland) and 67 years (South Australia and Western Australia).

Across Australia there were 132,300 deaths registered in 2003 (68,300 men and 64,000 women). The standardised death rate was down 4% compared to 2002 and down 33% from 1983 (6.4 deaths per 1,000 population in 2003, 6.7 deaths in 2002 and 9.6 deaths in 1983).

The infant mortality rate was 5% lower than in 2002 and 48% lower than the rate in 1983 (4.8 infant deaths per 1,000 live births in 2003, 5.0 in 2002 and 9.6 in 1983).

For Indigenous boys the infant mortality rate ranged from 9.5 (infant deaths per 1,000 live births) in New South Wales to 17.0 in the Northern Territory; while Indigenous girls ranged from 7.6 in New South Wales to 16.5 in Western Australia.

For the first time, the deaths of infants within their first 28 days of life (neonatal death) dropped below three deaths per 1,000 live births in 2003. These 730 deaths represented a 6% decrease over 2002.

Diseases of the circulatory system (cardiovascular disease) were the underlying cause of death of over one-third (37%) of all deaths registered in 2003. Ischaemic heart diseases comprised the majority share (52%) of these deaths in 2003.

Cancer (malignant neoplasms) was the underlying cause of just over a quarter (28%) of all deaths in 2003. Leading cancers for men included digestive organs (28%), lung cancer (21%) and prostate cancer (14%). For women the leading cancers were digestive organs (28%), breast cancer (17%) and lung cancer (15%).

The number of suicides in 2003 dropped 5% on the previous year (2,200 deaths in 2003 down from 2,300).

This media release is drawn from today's releases of Deaths, Australia 2003 (cat. no. 3302.0), Causes of Death, Australia 2003 (cat. no. 3303.0.55.001), Life Tables, Australia/State/Territory 2001–2003 (cat. no. 3302.8.55.001) and Suicides: Recent Trends, Australia (cat. no. 3309.0.55.001).

Media warning: A hoax email generally circulates around this time of year attributing unusual causes of death and injury figures at Christmas to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS). The ABS has not published these figures and they should not be sourced to the ABS.