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This chapter presents geographically disaggregated data for suicide deaths registered between 2001 and 2010 based on the usual state or territory of residence. Differences in the prevalence of suicide deaths across these geographic regions may help to highlight different risk factors and assist in targeting suicide prevention activities.
Data in this chapter is presented by Capital City Statistical Division (SD), ‘other urban’ and ‘rest of state/territory’ regions. ‘Other urban’ areas are based on the Statistical Districts for each state or territory (generally defined as containing an urban centre population of 25,000 or more), while ‘rest of state/territory’ incorporates all Statistical Local Areas which were not included in Capital City SDs or ‘other urban’ areas. South Australia and the Northern Territory have no Statistical Districts and therefore no ‘other urban’ areas, while the Australian Capital Territory could not be further disaggregated due to small numbers of suicide deaths.
Further data relating to suicide deaths and geographical regions are available in the data cubes associated with this publication. These include the number of suicide deaths by capital city, other urban and rest of state by sex and age group for 2001 to 2010 combined, counts of suicide deaths by these same geographic regions by individual year and by sex, and age-standardised rates and rate ratios for 2001-2005 and 2006-2010 combined. Age-specific death rates for combined Capital City SDs and combined state and territory balances for individual reference years 2001 to 2010 are also provided.
There is considerable variation between jurisdictions in the distribution of population across Capital City SDs, other urban areas and the remainder of the state/territory. As such, care should be taken in comparing counts of suicide deaths in these regions across jurisdictions. Age-specific and age-standardised death rates take into account differences in the size and structure of the population and are therefore more reliable for comparison purposes.
It is acknowledged that differences exist in coronial process across jurisdictions. There are also differences in the extent to which jurisdictions record information relating to a death on the National Coroners Information System. These differences may impact the accuracy and timeliness associated with the identification of suicide deaths across jurisdictions and should be considered when making comparisons.
Age-standardised death rates provided in this chapter and in the associated data cube are presented for five year aggregations (2001-2005 and 2006-2010). Aggregation of multiple years improves the reliability of the rates, and also smooths year on year variations. This should be considered when comparing rates for two aggregated time periods.
Suicide and geography patterns
Age-standardised death rates for states and territories over the period from 2006-2010 ranged from 8.6 deaths per 100,000 population in New South Wales, to 20.2 deaths per 100,000 population in the Northern Territory. Nationally, the age-standardised death rate over this period was 10.7 deaths per 100,000 population.
The age-standardised suicide rate for the period 2006-2010 was lowest in Capital City SDs when compared with ‘other urban’ and ‘rest of state’ areas for all states and territories with the exception of Tasmania. In Tasmania the lowest age-standardised suicide rate was recorded for ‘other urban’ areas at 13.9 deaths per 100,000 population, compared to a rate of 14.1 in the Capital City SD.
In contrast the age-standardised suicide rate for the period 2006-2010 was highest in ‘rest of state/territory’ areas for all states and territories with the exception of New South Wales and Victoria. Despite small numbers of suicide deaths overall, the ‘rest of territory’ area for the Northern Territory recorded the highest rate at 21.5 per 100,000 population. This was followed by ‘rest of state’ areas in Western Australia (18.5), Queensland (17.1) and Tasmania (16.3),
Table 4.1 reports the number of suicide deaths per year between 2001 and 2010 for each state and territory, including Capital City SDs, and ‘other urban’ areas and ‘rest of state/territory’ where applicable. Age-standardised death rates for 2001-2005 and 2006-2010 are supplied for the same regions.