3302.0 - Deaths, Australia, 2004  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 07/12/2005   
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Death rates lowest on record: ABS

Infant mortality rates and overall death rates are the lowest on record and life expectancy has reached new heights, according to results published today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

Death rates have continued to decline over the last 20 years. The decline in death rates is one of the factors contributing to the ageing of Australia's population.

In 2004 the standardised death rate (which eliminates the effect of the changing age structure of the population) was the lowest on record at 6.3 deaths per 1,000 population. This was 33% lower than in 1984 (9.3).

Australian babies have a better chance of survival than at any time in our history. In 2004, the infant mortality rate was the lowest on record, at 4.7 infant deaths per 1,000 live births. This was nearly half that of 1984 (9.2).

Indigenous Australians (based on data for Queensland, South Australia, Western Australia and the Northern Territory) have much higher death rates at all age groups than non-Indigenous Australians. The greatest differences were among those in the 35-44 and 45-54 year age groups, where rates for Indigenous males and females were five times those recorded for non-Indigenous males and females.

Men are living six years longer than 20 years ago and women four years longer. Under current death rates, a boy born today can expect to live an average of 78 years while a girl can expect to live 83 years. However, having survived to age 60 years, men can expect to live another 22 years while women can expect to live another 25 years.

Australians have a life expectancy at birth which compares well with other developed nations. Life expectancy at birth for Australian males (78 years) is only lower than that in Iceland and Hong Kong (both 79 years), and for Australian females (83 years) is only lower than that in Japan and Hong Kong (both 85 years).

There were 132,500 deaths registered (68,400 men and 64,100 women) in Australia in 2004.

Further details are in:
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.