3303.0 - Causes of Death, Australia, 2009 Quality Declaration 
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 03/05/2011   
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EXTERNAL CAUSES (V01-Y98)

External causes of death relate to cases where the underlying cause of death is determined to be one of a group of causes external to the body (for example suicide, transport accidents, falls, poisoning etc). See Explanatory Note 38 for further information.

In 2009, external causes accounted for 8,884 deaths, or 6.3% of all registered deaths. The standardised death rate was 38.6 per 100,000 of population in 2009, a decrease from 42.5 per 100,000 population in 2000. Males were more likely to die from external causes than females in 2009. The standardised death rate for males was 55.1 per 100,000 compared with 23.2 females per 100,000.

In 2009, the median age at death from these causes was 51.8 years, considerably less than the 80.8 years in 2009. The median age at death for males dying of external causes was 47.4 years, with the median age at death for females at 66.7 years.

Consistent with previous years, just over two-thirds of the total number of deaths resulting from external causes were males (5,886). The difference between the number of male and female deaths was most apparent amongst the 20-44 year age group, with 2,322 male deaths compared to 669 female deaths.


Transport Accidents (V01-V99, Y85)

Transport accidents (V01-V99, Y85) accounted for 1,501 deaths registered in 2009. This represented 1.1% of all registered deaths in 2009, and 16.9% of all external causes of death. Of these, 194 deaths were of Pedestrians (V01-V09), 211 deaths were of Motorcycle riders (V20-V29) and 743 deaths were of Occupants of a car (V40-V49).

As with most other external causes, more males than females died from transport accidents in 2009 (1,102 compared with 399). For males, 1.5% of deaths registered in 2009 were caused by transport accidents. This was compared with only 0.6% of all female deaths. The median age at death from transport accidents for males was 38.3 years compared to 41.1 years for females. Of all male deaths from external causes, 18.7% were attributed to transport accidents, predominantly amongst males aged 15-44 years. Males in this age group accounted for 57.5% of all male deaths due to transport accidents.

For further information on transport accidents, refer to Explanatory Note 77.


Falls (W00-W19)

Falls (W00-W19) accounted for 1,370 deaths registered in 2009. This represented 1.0% of all registered deaths in 2009, and 15.4% of all external causes of death. Falls have increased by 37.5% over the last five years (996 in 2005).

Falls were the underlying cause of death for more males than females (704 males, compared with 666 females). The median age at death for falls was 84.8 years, which was considerably higher than the median age at death of 51.8 for all external causes. Of all deaths due to falls, 84.8% (1,163) were of people aged 70 years or more.


Accidental Poisoning (X40-X49)

Accidental poisoning (X40-X49) accounted for 799 deaths registered in 2009. This represented 0.6% of all registered deaths in 2009, and 8.9% of all external causes of death. The number of deaths due to accidental poisoning may be affected by the number of open coroner certified cases, as well as changes in coding practices. See Explanatory Notes 48-60 for further information.

More than twice as many males as females died from accidental poisoning in 2009, with 549 male and 250 female deaths. The median age at death from accidental poisoning was 41.5 years. Median age at death for males was 39.4 years, compared with 48.6 years for females.


Assault (X85-Y09,Y87.1)

Assault (X85-Y09, Y87.1) accounted for 211 deaths in 2009. The deaths from assault represented 0.5% of all registered deaths and 2.4% of all external causes of death in 2009. Over twice as many males (149) as females (61) died from assault in 2009, closely following the trend since 2000. The median age at death for assault was 36.3 years. Median age at death for males was 35.6 years, compared with 37.8 years for females.

ABS statistics for deaths due to assault may differ from other sources of data due to differences in scope and coverage, but also due to the impact of open coroner certified cases on data. See Explanatory Notes 7-14 and 48-60 for further information.


Intentional Self-Harm [Suicide] (X60-X84,Y87.0)

Care should be taken in using and interpreting suicide data contained in this publication. For further information refer to Explanatory Notes 80-83.

There were 2,132 deaths coded to Intentional self-harm (suicide, (X60-X84, Y87.0)) in 2009. Deaths from intentional self-harm represented 1.5% of all registered deaths and 24.0% of all external causes of death in 2009. More than three times as many males as females died from intentional self-harm in 2009, continuing the trend since 2000. The median age at death for intentional self-harm was 43.8 years. Median age at death for males was 43.4 years, compared with 44.9 years for females.

For more detailed information on deaths due to suicide, see Chapter 6 of this publication.


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