Excess deaths drop but COVID-19 still drives increased mortality

Media Release

Excess mortality recorded in the first quarter of 2023 is lower than the same period in 2022, but COVID-19 remains a significant contributor to increased mortality, according to new analysis released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

Lauren Moran, ABS head of health statistics, said: “Today’s release offers a complete view of Australia’s excess mortality rates from January 2020 to March 2023 to help researchers understand the number of deaths during the COVID-19 pandemic and how this compares to our expected mortality rates across all states and territories.

“In short, excess mortality is measured by looking at all deaths recorded in a period, then analysing those against a baseline of ‘expected deaths’, which consider things like ageing populations and other health factors.

“Excess mortality is estimated at approximately 9 per cent for the first quarter of 2023, meaning we’re still seeing a higher-than-expected number of deaths. This is lower than the 16.6 per cent excess mortality we saw in the first quarter of 2022.”

Ms Moran said COVID-19 was the main contributor to excess mortality during 2022, with deaths during this period matching the spread of the Omicron variant.

Ms Moran encouraged people to further investigate today’s findings and how to interpret these results by exploring the detailed article available on our website and its associated methodology.

Media notes

Back to top of the page