3302.0 - Deaths, Australia, 2010 Quality Declaration 
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 10/11/2011   
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Contents >> Summary of Findings >> Infant deaths


In 2010, there were 1,200 infant deaths (deaths of children under one year of age) registered in Australia (740 male and 490 female). This was a 2.5% decrease compared with the number registered in 2009 (1,300). Data for earlier years are presented in table 2.18.

Between 1990 and 2000, the total number of infant deaths decreased by 5.0% per year on average. Since then, the total number of infant deaths each year has remained relatively stable in number, fluctuating between 1,200 and 1,300 deaths per year.

Over the past twenty years, the number of male infant deaths has been consistently greater than the number of female infant deaths. In 2010, there were 740 male deaths, 50% more than the number of female deaths (490).

Infant mortality rates

The infant mortality rate (IMR) is calculated by dividing the number of infant deaths by the number of live births over a specified period. In 2010, the IMR was 4.1 infant deaths per 1,000 live births. This was slightly lower than the rate in 2009 (4.3) and half that recorded in 1990 (8.2).

Over the past 100 years, Australia's infant mortality has declined significantly. For the period 1901 to 1910, around one in 12 infants did not survive to their first birthday (an IMR of 81.8 infant deaths per 1,000 live births in 1905). By 2010, around one in 240 infants did not survive their first year of life.

2.10 Infant mortality rates(a) - 1910 to 2010
Graph: 2.10 Infant mortality rates(a)—1910 to 2010

Child mortality rates (1-4 years)

Over the past 20 years, the mortality rate for children aged 1-4 years in Australia has declined. In 1990, the mortality rate for children aged 1-4 years was 0.4 deaths per 1,000 population. By 2010, this rate has decreased by more than half.

2.11 Child mortality rates(a) (1-4 years) - 1990 to 2010
Graph: 2.11 Child mortality rates(a) (1–4 years)—1990 to 2010

States and territories

Victoria recorded the lowest IMR in 2010 (3.3 infant deaths per 1,000 live births), followed by Western Australia (3.6) and the Australian Capital Territory (3.7). The Northern Territory's IMR of 7.2 was the highest of the states and territories, followed by Queensland (5.4). Some states and territories have experienced fluctuations in IMRs from year-to-year, due in part to the decline in the number of infant deaths, resulting in rates based on small numbers.

Care should be taken when interpreting data for Queensland for 2010, as these data have been affected by the registration of outstanding deaths initiative undertaken by the Queensland Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages (see Technical Note: Registration of outstanding deaths, Queensland, 2010, and paragraph 36 of the Explanatory Notes for more information).

Infant age at death

In 2010, 33% of all infant deaths occurred within the first day of life, with a further 36% occurring within the first four weeks of life. Until around 1998, numbers of infant deaths at all ages were decreasing. Since then, the numbers appear to have remained relatively consistent from year-to-year.

2.12 Infant deaths, Age at death - 1990 to 2010
Graph: 2.12 Infant deaths, Age at death—1990 to 2010

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