3304.0 - Perinatal Deaths, Australia, 2007 Quality Declaration 
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 12/11/2009   
   Page tools: Print Print Page Print all pages in this productPrint All



For information on the institutional environment of the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), including the legislative obligations of the ABS, financing and governance arrangements, and mechanisms for scrutiny of ABS operations, please see ABS Institutional Environment.

Statistics presented in Perinatal Deaths, Australia, 2007 (cat. no. 3304.0) are sourced from registers administered by the various state and territory Registrars of Births, Deaths and Marriages. It is a legal requirement of each state and territory that all perinatal deaths are registered.


Perinatal Deaths, Australia presents statistics on perinatal deaths registered in Australia in 2007, as well as re-published perinatal deaths registered from 1999-2006. The ABS perinatal deaths collection includes all perinatal deaths that occurred and were registered in Australia, including deaths of persons whose usual residence is overseas. Deaths of Australian residents that occurred outside Australia may be registered by individual Registrars, but are not included in ABS deaths or perinatal deaths statistics.

From the 2006 reference year, the scope of the perinatal death statistics includes all fetal deaths (at least 20 weeks gestation or at least 400 grams birth weight) and neonatal deaths (all live born babies who die within 28 days of birth, regardless of gestation or weight) which are:

  • registered in Australia for the reference year and are received by the ABS by the end of the March quarter of the subsequent year; and
  • registered prior to the reference year but not previously received from the Registrar nor included in any statistics reported for an earlier period.

    Perinatal deaths data from 1999 - 2005 were processed in such a way that it was possible for registrations not to be recorded at all within the total historical record of all deaths which have occurred. The scope for registered perinatal deaths during these years was:
  • all perinatal deaths registered in Australia for the reference year, two years prior to the current year and the first quarter of the subsequent year

    Under this rule, it was possible for a perinatal death registration to not be recorded in the collection if it had been registered more than two years before the record was received by the ABS. The scope was has been changed from the 2006 reference year to ensure all registrations are included in ABS collections.

    Data in the Perinatal Deaths collection include demographic items, as well as Causes of Death information, which is coded according to the International Classification of Diseases (ICD). ICD is the international standard classification for epidemiological purposes and is designed to promote international comparability in the collection, processing, classification, and presentation of cause of death statistics. The classification is used to classify diseases and causes of disease or injury as recorded on many types of medical records as well as death records. The ICD has been revised periodically to incorporate changes in the medical field. The 10th revision of ICD (ICD-10) is used for the 1999 - 2007 data.

    Perinatal death statistics provide valuable information for the analysis of fetal, neonatal and perinatal deaths Australia. This electronic product presents data at the national and state level on registered perinatal deaths by sex, state of usual residence, main condition in fetus/infant, main condition in mother, state of usual residence of mother, and Indigenous status. Fetal, neonatal and perinatal death rates are also provided.


    Perinatal Deaths, Australia is produced annually. From 2007, this product replaces the inclusion of perinatal deaths statistics as a chapter in the annual Causes of Death, Australia (cat. no. 3303.0) collection. Perinatal death statistics are produced from data collected by the ABS from the Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages in each state and territory. In this issue, 2007 data is provided approximately 22 months after the reference period. In future, data will be released within 15 months of the end of the reference period.

    Perinatal death statistics are released with a view to ensuring that they are fit for purpose when released. To meet user requirements for timely data, it is often necessary to obtain information from the administrative source before all information for the reference period is available (e.g. finalisation of coronial proceedings). A balance needs to be maintained between accuracy (completeness) of data and timeliness, taking account of the different needs of users.


    Non-sample errors are the main influence on accuracy in datasets such as this which are a complete census of the population rather than a sample. Non-sample error arises from inaccuracies in collecting, recording and processing the data. The most significant of these errors are: misreporting of data items; deficiencies in coverage; non-response to particular questions; and processing errors. Every effort is made to minimise error by working closely with data providers, the careful design of forms, training of processing staff, and efficient data processing procedures.

    The main sources of non-sample error for perinatal deaths data are:
  • completeness of an individual record at a given point in time ( e.g. incomplete causes of death information due to non-finalisation of coronial proceedings)
  • completeness of the dataset e.g. impact of registration lags, processing lags and duplicate records
  • extent of coverage of the population (whilst all deaths are legally required to be registered some cases may not be registered for an extended time, if at all)
  • particular data items which would be useful for statistical purposes may not be collected by jurisdictions where that item is not essential for administration purposes
  • question and ‘interviewer’ biases given that information for death registrations are supplied about the person by someone else. For example, Indigenous origin as reported by a third party can be different from self reported responses on a form. Forms are often not subject to the same best practice design principles as statistical questionnaires, and respondent and/or interviewer understanding is rarely tested
  • level of specificity and completeness in coronial reports or doctors' findings on the Perinatal Medical Certificate of Cause of Death will impact on the accuracy of coding


    Use of the supporting documentation released with the statistics is important for assessing coherence within the dataset and when comparing the statistics with data from other sources. Changing business rules over time and/or across data sources can affect consistency and hence interpretability of statistical output. The Explanatory Notes in each issue contains information pertinent to the particular release which may impact on comparison over time.

    For example, differences in the scope of collections, classifications used, point in time at which the analysis or coding occurred, availability of information for coding purposes, purpose for which the data/information is being produced, and confidentiality protocols may be different for ABS data and other sources of perinatal deaths information.

    Changes to questions, scope etc. over time can affect the consistency of data collected over the period, even when the source of the data is the same. These changes can be the result of legislative or program objective changes.


    Information on some aspects of statistical quality may be hard to obtain as information on the source data has not been kept over time. This is related to the issue of the administrative rather than statistical purpose of the collection of the source data.

    Perinatal Deaths, Australia contains detailed Explanatory Notes, Appendices and Glossary that provide information on the data sources, terminology, classifications and other technical aspects associated with these statistics.


    In addition to the information provided in this publication, a series of data cubes are also available providing detailed information on perinatal deaths. The ABS observes strict confidentiality protocols as required by the Census and Statistics Act (1905). This may restrict access to data at a very detailed level which is sought by some users.

    If the information you require is not available from the publication or the data cubes, then the ABS may also have other relevant data available on request. Inquiries should be made to the National Information and Referral Service on 1300 135 070 or by sending an email to client.services@abs.gov.au