Latest release

Provisional Mortality Statistics

Provisional deaths data for measuring changes in patterns of mortality

Reference period
January 2022
Released
28/04/2022
  • Next Release 18/05/2022
    Provisional Mortality Statistics, January 2022
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    Provisional Mortality Statistics, Jan - Feb 2022
  • Next Release 23/06/2022
    Provisional Mortality Statistics, Jan - Mar 2022
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Key statistics

  • All-cause mortality data in this report includes both doctor certified and coroner referred deaths. Cause-specific mortality includes only doctor certified deaths.
  • In 2022, there were 15,805 deaths that occurred by 31 January and were registered by 31 March, 2,865 or 22.1% more than the historical average.
  • After cancers, doctor-certified deaths due to COVID-19 were the second most common cause of death in January 2022.

Changes in this publication

As flagged in the previous Provisional Mortality report, some changes to content and structure have now been implemented. These include:

  • Data for all-cause mortality covers all registered deaths that occurred in the time period, that is deaths certified by both a doctor and a coroner. Previous reports only presented data on deaths certified by a doctor.
  • The inclusion of coroner certified deaths may reduce the level of completeness of data for more recently published weeks. Coroner referred deaths generally have a longer delay between death and registration than doctor certified deaths.
  • Data for cause-specific mortality is unchanged, covering only doctor certified deaths. Cause-specific information for coroner referred deaths cannot be included because of the time required for coronial investigations to be completed. 
  • The baseline used for comparison of deaths occurring in 2022 includes deaths from 2017-2019 and 2021. Deaths occurring in 2021 are still compared to the original baseline which included deaths from 2015-2019.

Baseline comparisons

Throughout this report, counts of deaths are compared to an average number of deaths for previous years. In this report, data for 2021 is compared to an average number of deaths recorded over the 5 years from 2015-2019 as was the case in previous publications. Data for 2022 is compared to a baseline comprising the years 2017-2019 and 2021. 2020 is not included in the baseline for 2022 data because it included periods where numbers of deaths were significantly lower than expected.  Counts of deaths for 2015-2021 are included in the baseline datacubes of the data downloads section of this report. 


These average or baseline counts serve as a proxy for the expected number of deaths, so comparisons against baseline counts can provide an indication of whether mortality is higher or lower than expected in a given year. The minimum and maximum counts are also included to provide an indication of the range of previous counts. Minimums and maximums for any given week can be from any of the years included in the baseline.


While this publication can provide an indication of where counts of deaths are above or below expectations, it does not provide official estimates of excess mortality. Using the number of deaths from the previous years as the predictor for the expected number of deaths does not take into account changes in population size and age-structures of that population. Age-standardised death rates can be accessed via the data downloads tab in this publication. A report on excess mortality can be accessed via the articles link in this publication. The excess mortality report uses a regression model to estimate the number of expected deaths until the end of December 2021. 

COVID-19 mortality

The ABS publishes two regular reports that provide preliminary information on mortality during the COVID-19 pandemic, Provisional Mortality Statistics and COVID-19 Deaths in Australia articles. These reports provide information on different time periods and serve different purposes.

Provisional Mortality Statistics focus on monitoring patterns of mortality (by all-causes and specified leading causes of death) and highlight any changes potentially associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. Data must be sufficiently complete to detect such changes, and as such these reports are only released once the majority of deaths that occurred in a particular period have been registered and reported.   

COVID-19 Deaths in Australia articles focus on all COVID-19 deaths registered and reported up until a specified time. These articles include important information about COVID-19 deaths, including demographic details, comorbidities and consequences of the disease. While it is recognised data will be incomplete, it can still indicate emerging trends or changes among these deaths. The most recent article on COVID-19 mortality was released on 20 April and covers deaths that occurred and were registered up until 31 March 2022. The next iteration of this article will be published on 18 May 2022 and will report on deaths due to COVID-19 registered up until 30 April 2022. COVID-19 articles can be accessed through the articles link on this page. 

Australian deaths by week, 1 February 2021 to 30 January 2022

All-cause deaths

Tracking the number of deaths against historical averages for similar time periods provides an initial indication of when a change in the pattern of mortality may occur. This is of particular relevance because of the many potential public health impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. The number of COVID-19 infections by week in Australia is highlighted alongside total deaths. This is to enable insights into patterns of mortality from all causes of death during the COVID-19 pandemic, especially during peak infectious periods. 

For all deaths:

  • In 2022, there were 15,805 deaths that occurred by 31 January and were registered by 31 March. 
  • This is 2,865 deaths (22.1%) more than the baseline average.
  • This increase in deaths coincided with a large increase in COVID-19 infections associated with the Delta and Omicron waves of the pandemic.
  • 13,978 of the January 2022 deaths were doctor certified and 1,827 were coroner referred.
  • The age-standardised death rate (SDR) for January 2022 was 44.9 per 100,000 people. This was higher than than the baseline average (40.8).

Deaths are presented by counts only. Counts of death do not account for changes in population. See data downloads for weekly and monthly age-standardised death rate calculations. 

  1. This graph is compiled by the date the death occurred.
  2. This data is considered to be provisional and subject to change as additional data is received.
  3. In line with the ISO (International Organization for Standardisation) week date system, weeks are defined as seven-day periods which start on a Monday. Week 1 of any given year is the week which starts on the Monday closest to 1 January, and for which the majority of its days fall in January (i.e. four days or more). Week 1 therefore always contains the 4th of January and always contains the first Thursday of the year. Using the ISO structure, some years (e.g. 2015 and 2020) contain 53 weeks.Refer to explanatory notes on the Methodology page of this publication for more information regarding the data in this graph.
  4. Data for the number of COVID-19 infections has been sourced from the COVID-19 daily infections graph published on the Australian Government Department of Health website. Data extracted 8 April 2022.
  5. The baseline for 2022 includes deaths from 2017-19 and 2021. The baseline for 2021 includes deaths from 2015-19.

Doctor certified deaths by cause by week, 1 February 2021 to 30 January 2022

Cause-specific mortality

The following analysis is based only on doctor certified deaths (i.e. coroner referred deaths are not included). Any changes in patterns of coroner referral could affect counts of doctor certified deaths. Some conditions have higher coroner referral rates (ischaemic heart disease, cerebrovascular diseases and to a lesser extent, respiratory diseases and diabetes) so counts for those conditions would be more likely to be affected by such changes.

Ischaemic heart disease

Ischaemic heart disease is the leading cause of death in Australia. The category includes acute conditions such as myocardial infarction and chronic conditions such as coronary atherosclerosis.

  • 1,177 deaths were certified by a doctor as being due to ischaemic heart disease (IHD) in January 2022.
  • This is 65 deaths (5.8%) higher than the baseline average, and 13.6% higher than the 1,036 deaths certified as being due to IHD in January 2021.

  • Deaths due to IHD have been decreasing over time.
  1. Ischaemic heart disease includes all deaths where the underlying cause of death is assigned an ICD-10 code between I20-I25.
  2. This graph only includes doctor certified deaths.
  3. This graph is compiled by the date the death occurred.
  4. This data is considered to be provisional and subject to change as additional data is received.
  5. In line with the ISO (International Organization for Standardisation) week date system, weeks are defined as seven-day periods which start on a Monday. Week 1 of any given year is the week which starts on the Monday closest to 1 January, and for which the majority of its days fall in January (i.e. four days or more). Week 1 therefore always contains the 4th of January and always contains the first Thursday of the year. Using the ISO structure, some years (e.g. 2015 and 2020) contain 53 weeks.
  6. Refer to the explanatory notes on the Methodology page of this publication for more information regarding the data in this graph.
  7. The baseline for 2022 includes deaths from 2017-19 and 2021. The baseline for 2021 includes deaths from 2015-19.

Cerebrovascular diseases

Cerebrovascular diseases refer to a number of conditions such as stroke, cerebral aneurysms and stenosis that affect blood flow and circulation to the brain.

  • 723 deaths were certified by a doctor as being from cerebrovascular diseases (including strokes) in January 2022.
  • This is 24 deaths (3.2%) below the baseline average, and comparable to the 724 deaths in January 2021.
  • Similar to ischaemic heart diseases, deaths from cerebrovascular diseases have been declining over time. 
  1. Cerebrovascular diseases include all deaths where the underlying cause of death is assigned an ICD-10 code between I60-I69.
  2. This graph only includes doctor certified deaths.
  3. This graph is compiled by the date the death occurred.
  4. This data is considered to be provisional and subject to change as additional data is received.
  5. In line with the ISO (International Organization for Standardisation) week date system, weeks are defined as seven-day periods which start on a Monday. Week 1 of any given year is the week which starts on the Monday closest to 1 January, and for which the majority of its days fall in January (i.e. four days or more). Week 1 therefore always contains the 4th of January and always contains the first Thursday of the year. Using the ISO structure, some years (e.g. 2015 and 2020) contain 53 weeks.
  6. Refer to explanatory notes on the Methodology page of this publication for more information regarding the data in this graph.
  7. The baseline for 2022 includes deaths from 2017-19 and 2021. The baseline for 2021 includes deaths from 2015-19.

Respiratory diseases

Respiratory diseases include causes of death such as pneumonia, influenza, and chronic lower respiratory diseases (including emphysema and chronic bronchitis). Deaths due to COVID-19 are not included in this category. COVID-19 deaths are captured using WHO issued emergency codes U07.1 and U07.2 and are not currently grouped with any other diseases, though they are included in the total number of deaths and are presented in the data downloads.

  • There were 983 deaths from respiratory diseases in January 2022.
  • This is 22 deaths (2.2%) below the baseline average and comparable with the 976 deaths from respiratory diseases in January 2021.
  1. Respiratory diseases include all deaths where the underlying cause of death is assigned an ICD-10 code between J00-J99.
  2. This graph only includes doctor certified deaths.
  3. This graph is compiled by the date the death occurred.
  4. This data is considered to be provisional and subject to change as additional data is received.
  5. In line with the ISO (International Organization for Standardisation) week date system, weeks are defined as seven-day periods which start on a Monday. Week 1 of any given year is the week which starts on the Monday closest to 1 January, and for which the majority of its days fall in January (i.e. four days or more). Week 1 therefore always contains the 4th of January and always contains the first Thursday of the year. Using the ISO structure, some years (e.g. 2015 and 2020) contain 53 weeks.
  6. Refer to the explanatory notes on the Methodology page of this publication for more information regarding the data in this graph.
  7. The baseline for 2022 includes deaths from 2017-19 and 2021. The baseline for 2021 includes deaths from 2015-19.

Chronic lower respiratory diseases

Chronic lower respiratory diseases include chronic bronchitis, emphysema, asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases (COPD). Chronic lower respiratory diseases (J40-J47) are a sub-group of respiratory diseases (J00-J99).

  • There were 555 deaths from chronic lower respiratory diseases in January 2022.
  • This is 17 deaths (3.0%) below the baseline average, and similar to the 561 chronic lower respiratory disease deaths recorded in January 2021.
  1. Chronic lower respiratory diseases include all deaths where the underlying cause of death is assigned an ICD-10 code between J40-J47.
  2. This graph only includes doctor certified deaths.
  3. This graph is compiled by the date the death occurred.
  4. This data is considered to be provisional and subject to change as additional data is received.
  5. In line with the ISO (International Organization for Standardisation) week date system, weeks are defined as seven-day periods which start on a Monday. Week 1 of any given year is the week which starts on the Monday closest to 1 January, and for which the majority of its days fall in January (i.e. four days or more). Week 1 therefore always contains the 4th of January and always contains the first Thursday of the year. Using the ISO structure, some years (e.g. 2015 and 2020) contain 53 weeks.
  6. Refer to explanatory notes on the Methodology page of this publication for more information regarding the data in this graph.
  7. The baseline for 2022 includes deaths from 2017-19 and 2021. The baseline for 2021 includes deaths from 2015-19.

Influenza and pneumonia

Influenza and pneumonia are acute respiratory diseases often grouped together when compiling leading causes of death. They are two distinct diseases: influenza is a viral infection, while pneumonia can be caused by a virus, bacteria or fungi. Influenza is a common cause of pneumonia.

Influenza deaths are highly seasonal and most commonly occur in Australia between the months of May and September. The timing, length and severity of the influenza season varies considerably from year to year. For this reason, influenza deaths have been excluded from the graph below so pneumonia deaths can be tracked separately.

Influenza and pneumonia (J09-J18) are a subset of respiratory diseases (J00-J99).

  • There were 164 deaths due to influenza and pneumonia recorded in January 2022. All of these deaths were due to pneumonia. 
  • This is 21 (11.4%) below the baseline average, but 25.2% higher than the 131 deaths recorded in January 2021.

Influenza

  • There were no deaths due to influenza in January 2022.  

Pneumonia

  • The number of deaths due to pneumonia has generally been below average since late April 2020.
  • Deaths due to pneumonia have been closer to baseline averages in early 2022 than through most of 2021.
  1. Pneumonia includes all deaths where the underlying cause of death is assigned an ICD-10 code between J12-J18.
  2. This graph only includes doctor certified deaths.
  3. This graph is compiled by the date the death occurred.
  4. This data is considered to be provisional and subject to change as additional data is received.
  5. In line with the ISO (International Organization for Standardisation) week date system, weeks are defined as seven-day periods which start on a Monday. Week 1 of any given year is the week which starts on the Monday closest to 1 January, and for which the majority of its days fall in January (i.e. four days or more). Week 1 therefore always contains the 4th of January and always contains the first Thursday of the year. Using the ISO structure, some years (e.g. 2015 and 2020) contain 53 weeks.
  6. Refer to the explanatory notes on the Methodology page of this publication for more information regarding the data in this graph.
  7. The baseline for 2022 includes deaths from 2017-19 and 2021. The baseline for 2021 includes deaths from 2015-19.

Cancer

Cancer includes malignant neoplasms encompassing carcinomas, sarcomas and lymph and blood cancers.

  • There were 4,196 deaths from cancer in January 2022.
  • This is 6.7% higher than the baseline average, and 4.1% higher than for January 2021.
  • The SDR for cancer in January 2022 was 12.2 deaths per 100,000 people. This is slightly lower than the baseline average of 12.7 and comparable with the SDR for January 2021 (12.1).
  1. Cancer includes all deaths where the underlying cause of death is assigned an ICD-10 code between C00-C97, D45, D46, D47.1 or D47.3-D47.5.
  2. This graph only includes doctor certified deaths.
  3. This graph is compiled by the date the death occurred.
  4. This data is considered to be provisional and subject to change as additional data is received.
  5. In line with the ISO (International Organization for Standardisation) week date system, weeks are defined as seven-day periods which start on a Monday. Week 1 of any given year is the week which starts on the Monday closest to 1 January, and for which the majority of its days fall in January (i.e. four days or more). Week 1 therefore always contains the 4th of January and always contains the first Thursday of the year. Using the ISO structure, some years (e.g. 2015 and 2020) contain 53 weeks.
  6. Refer to the explanatory notes on the Methodology page in this publication for more information regarding the data in this graph.
  7. The baseline for 2022 includes deaths from 2017-19 and 2021. The baseline for 2021 includes deaths from 2015-19.

Diabetes

Diabetes includes both Type 1 diabetes and Type 2 diabetes. The majority of diabetes deaths are from Type 2 diabetes.

  • There were 486 deaths due to diabetes in January 2022.
  • This is 38.1% higher than the baseline average, and 42.5% more than January 2021 (341).
  • The SDR for diabetes in January 2022 was 1.33 deaths per 100,000 people. This is higher than the baseline average SDR (1.09) and that for January 2021 (0.99). 
  1. Diabetes includes all deaths where the underlying cause of death is assigned an ICD-10 code between E10-E14.
  2. This graph only includes doctor certified deaths.
  3. This graph is compiled by the date the death occurred.
  4. This data is considered to be provisional and subject to change as additional data is received.
  5. In line with the ISO (International Organization for Standardisation) week date system, weeks are defined as seven-day periods which start on a Monday. Week 1 of any given year is the week which starts on the Monday closest to 1 January, and for which the majority of its days fall in January (i.e. four days or more). Week 1 therefore always contains the 4th of January and always contains the first Thursday of the year. Using the ISO structure, some years (e.g. 2015 and 2020) contain 53 weeks.
  6. Refer to the explanatory notes on the Methodology page of this publication for more information regarding the data in this graph.
  7. The baseline for 2022 includes deaths from 2017-19 and 2021. The baseline for 2021 includes deaths from 2015-19.

Dementia, including Alzheimer disease

Dementia, including Alzheimer disease, is the second leading cause of death in Australia and counts of deaths from dementia have increased steadily over the past 20 years. This increase should be taken into consideration when comparing counts from 2021 and 2022 against baseline averages.

  • There were 1,398 deaths from dementia, including Alzheimer disease, in January 2022.
  • This is 29.2% higher than the baseline average, and 13.6% higher than in January 2021.
  • The SDR for dementia in January 2022 was 3.63 deaths per 100,000 people. This is higher than the baseline average SDR of 3.12 and the SDR for January 2021 (3.32). 
  1. Dementia, including Alzheimer Disease includes all deaths where the underlying cause of death is assigned an ICD-10 code of F01, F03 or G30.
  2. This graph only includes doctor certified deaths.
  3. This graph is compiled by the date the death occurred.
  4. This data is considered to be provisional and subject to change as additional data is received.
  5. In line with the ISO (International Organization for Standardisation) week date system, weeks are defined as seven-day periods which start on a Monday. Week 1 of any given year is the week which starts on the Monday closest to 1 January, and for which the majority of its days fall in January (i.e. four days or more). Week 1 therefore always contains the 4th of January and always contains the first Thursday of the year. Using the ISO structure, some years (e.g. 2015 and 2020) contain 53 weeks.
  6. Refer to the explanatory notes on the Methodology page of this publication for more information regarding the data in this graph.
  7. The baseline for 2022 includes deaths from 2017-19 and 2021. The baseline for 2021 includes deaths from 2015-19.

Timeliness and completeness of data

Each death registration in the national mortality dataset has 3 dates:

  • The date on which the death occurred.
  • The date on which the death was registered with the jurisdictional Registry of Births Deaths and Marriages (RBDM).
  • The date on which the death was lodged with the ABS.
     

When looking to measure change over time, the completeness of data for the most recent period is important. When data is received each month by the ABS, the lag between the date of death and the date of registration means that approximately 40-50% of reported registrations are of deaths that occurred in the month being reported. The remainder are deaths that occurred in earlier months.

For deaths which are doctor certified, approximately 95% of registrations are received after a second month of reporting, while for coroner certified deaths, the proportion of registrations reported after a second month is lower (approximately 78%). This is because it takes longer for coroners to certify deaths due to the complexity of investigations.

As coroner referred deaths make up a smaller proportion of all deaths (approximately 11-14%) their inclusion in all-cause data only reduces the overall completeness by around 2%. This should be considered when making comparisons with historical counts, noting also that the level of completeness will be higher for the start of any given month than the end of that month. 

This pattern of registration and reporting is highlighted in the table below, which also shows the slight variation in reporting timelines by cause of death. 

Cause of deathReported at the end of the month the death occurredReported at the end of the month after the death occurredTotal proportion reported at the end of the month after the death occurredTotal proportion reported at the end of two months after the death occurred 
All cause - doctor and coroner certified

43.1%

49.6%

92.8%

97.2%
All cause - doctor certified only45.7%49.2%94.9%98.4%
All cause - coroner certified only24.7%53.1%77.8%88.4%
Ischaemic heart disease (I20 – I25)

45.2%

49.7%

94.9%

98.4%
Cerebrovascular diseases (I60 – I69)

45.1%

50.1%

95.2%

98.6%
Respiratory diseases (J00 – J99)

45.8%

49.6%

95.5%

98.7%
Chronic lower respiratory diseases (J40 – J47)

45.4%

48.9%

94.3%

98.2%
Influenza and pneumonia (J09 – J18)

45.7%

49.8%

95.5%

98.9%
Cancer (C00 – C97, D45, D46, D47.1, D47.3 – D47.5)

46.9%

48.5%

95.4%

98.6%
Diabetes (E10 – E14)

43.9%

49.1%

93.0%

97.3%
Dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease (F01, F03, G30)

46.2%

49.2%

95.4%

98.8%

a. Percentages are based on the average of 4 years (2017-2019 and 2021) of receipt of death registrations.
b. Cause-specific rows in this table only include doctor certified deaths.
c. Data is subject to change.
 

The graphs below show how numbers of deaths for each period have increased over time as additional registrations that occurred in previous months are reported to the ABS. Due to these increases, data for the most recently reported periods should be treated with caution.

Data downloads

Provisional mortality statistics, Jan 2022

Data files

Previous catalogue number

This release previously used catalogue number 3303.0.55.004