Provisional Mortality Statistics

Latest release

Provisional deaths data for measuring changes in patterns of mortality

Reference period
Jan 2024

Key statistics

  • There were 14,722 deaths which occurred in January 2024, comparable to 14,813 deaths in January 2023.
  • The death rate for January 2024 was 40.2 per 100,000 people, below 41.8 in 2023 and 47.0 in 2022.
  • COVID-19 caused 425 deaths in January, up from 378 in December (see article).

From this publication there are changes in how provisional mortality data is presented. These changes have been outlined in previous publications. April 2024 was selected as the time frame to implement changes as it coincides with the beginning of the reporting period for deaths occurring in 2024. The format of these reports will take account of the following factors.  

  • Deaths will no longer be compared to a "baseline average". The ABS now releases official Excess mortality estimates every six months. These estimates are modelled from a historical baseline accounting for age structure and population. With this report available, the baseline constructed from an average count of deaths which was previously included in the Provisional Mortality Report is no longer necessary. The latest excess mortality estimates are available in the article ‘Measuring Australia’s excess mortality during the COVID-19 pandemic until August 2023’, published on 18 December. 
  • Mortality from influenza and respiratory syncytial virus is analysed alongside COVID-19. The Director-General of the World Health Organization called an end to the emergency phase of the pandemic in May 2023. In line with this, the information presented can be changed to reflect changing data needs. As the pandemic has progressed it is important to consider not only the impact of COVID-19 alone, but also that of other active acute respiratory infections. This additional information is included in the attached article: 'Deaths due to Acute respiratory infections in Australia - 2022 - March 2024'.

Previous year comparisons

Deaths for 2024 will have two comparisons points - they will be compared to deaths occurring in 2023 and 2022. 

This publication does not provide official estimates of excess mortality. The ABS publishes official excess mortality estimates in the report Measuring Australia’s excess mortality during the COVID-19 pandemic until August 2023’.

Age-standardised death rates can be accessed via the data downloads tab in this publication. 

Counts of deaths for 2015-2023 are included in the historical data cubes of the data downloads section of this report. Customised datasets are able to be created from these data cubes. 

Provisional mortality data

The ABS publishes two regular reports that provide preliminary information on mortality - Provisional Mortality Statistics and Deaths due to Selected Acute Respiratory Infections. 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.   

Deaths due to Acute respiratory infections in Australia articles focus on all deaths registered and reported with COVID-19, influenza or respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) written on the death certificate up until a specified time. These articles include important information about these acute respiratory infection certified deaths, including demographic details. While it is recognised data will be incomplete, it can still indicate emerging trends or changes among these deaths. The most recent article on deaths due to these selected acute respiratory disease, that occurred and were registered up until 31 March 2024 can be accessed through the articles link on this page.

Australian deaths by week

All-cause deaths

For all deaths:

  • In 2024, there were 14,722 deaths that occurred by 31 January and were registered by 31 March. This is 91 deaths (0.6%) fewer than in 2023, and 1,553 (9.5%) fewer than in 2022.
  • 12,887 of the deaths occurring in January 2024 were doctor certified and 1,835 were coroner referred.
  • The age-standardised death rate (SDR) for January was 40.2 deaths per 100,000 people, below the rates for 2023 (41.8) and 2022 (47.0). 

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. Data is by occurrence.
  2. Data is provisional and subject to change.
  3. Weeks are defined as seven-day periods which start on a Monday as per the ISO week date system. Refer to 'Weekly comparisons' on the methodology page of this publication for more information regarding the data in this graph. Week 1 ended 9 Jan 2022, 8 Jan 2023 and 7 Jan 2024.

Age-specific death rates

The following table shows age-specific death rates (deaths per 100,000 population) for different age groups by sex in January 2024, presented with both those from 2023 and 2022.

  • Across all age groups, death rates were lower in January 2024 than in 2023 (by 3.1% to 4.6%) and 2022 (by 9.3% to 16.2%). 
  • For males, death rates for all age groups were lower in 2024 than both 2023 and 2022 with the exception of males aged 0-44 years (8.2% higher than 2023 but 12.1% lower than 2022). The death rate for males aged 85 and over was 8.0% lower in 2024 than in 2023, while those for males aged 45-64, 65-74 and 75-84 were all around 3% lower. 
  • For females, death rates for all age groups were lower in 2024 than both 2023 and 2022. The death rate for females aged 0-44 years was 23.8% lower in 2024 than in 2023.
  • For all age groups, the male death rate is higher than the female death rate, with the rate ratio being largest in the youngest age group and smallest in the oldest age group.
Age specific rates, 2024, 2023, 2022 (a)(b)(c)(d)
 85 and over1028.4431070.9591,227.981
 All ages54.24855.89762.814
 85 and over1068.4261161.9211,345.444
 All ages56.91858.88767.603
 85 and over1001.5761010.8231,151.655
 All ages51.61452.95058.095

a. Data is by occurrence.
b. Data is provisional and subject to change.
c. Doctor certified and coroner referred deaths are included.
d. Age-specific death rates reflect deaths per 100,000 of the estimated resident population (ERP).

Mortality by selected causes of death

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.


  • In January 2024 there were 421 deaths due to COVID-19 that were certified by a doctor. This is much fewer than the 719 deaths in January 2023 and the 1,576 deaths in January 2022.
  • As the pandemic has progressed the number of people dying 'with' COVID-19 has increased. In January 2024 there were 139 people who died with COVID-19 being identified (via death certificates) as a contributing factor to their death (ie. COVID-19 was certified on the death certificate but it was not the underlying cause of death).

Other causes of death

  • Deaths due to dementia in January 2024 were 2.7% above 2023 but 9.4% fewer than in 2022. The SDRs for January 2024 and 2023 were 3.4, both below the rate for 2022 (4.0). 
  • Deaths due to respiratory diseases in January 2024 were higher than in 2023 (8.2%) and 2022 (10.8%). Deaths from chronic lower respiratory diseases, influenza and pneumonia were all higher in January 2024 than 2023 or 2022.
  • Deaths due to ischaemic heart disease in January 2024 were 2.2% below 2023 and 17.7% lower than 2022.
  • Deaths due to other cardiac conditions in January 2024 were 6.0% higher than 2023 and 5.7% higher than in 2022. 
  • Deaths due to diabetes in January 2024 were 5.2% fewer than 2023 and 17.6 fewer than 2022.
Doctor certified deaths by cause, 2024, 2023, 2022 (a)(b)
Respiratory diseases1,1181,0331,009
 Chronic lower respiratory diseases602568584
 Influenza and pneumonia205169159
Ischaemic heart disease1,0121,0351,229
Other cardiac conditions831784786
Cerebrovascular diseases691712741

a. Only doctor certified deaths are included.
b. Data is by date of occurrence.

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.

In March 2024, the ABS received 14,394 death registrations. Of these, 14,032 deaths occurred in 2024, 339 occurred in 2023 and the remaining 23 occurred in 2022 or earlier years.

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 80%). 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. 

Estimated completeness of death registrations received by the ABS (a)(b)(c)
 Total proportion reported at the end of
Cause of deaththe month the death occurred (%)the month after the death occurred (%)two months after the death occurred (%)
All cause - doctor and coroner certified43.493.297.6
All cause - doctor certified only46.195.198.5
All cause - coroner certified only24.580.091.1
Ischaemic heart disease (I20 – I25)44.894.898.3
Other cardiac conditions (I26 – I51)46.095.498.7
Cerebrovascular diseases (I60 – I69)46.795.598.8
Respiratory diseases (J00 – J99)
Chronic lower respiratory diseases (J40 – J47)
Influenza and pneumonia (J09 – J18)46.395.398.6
Cancer (C00 – C97, D45, D46, D47.1, D47.3 – D47.5)47.495.798.7
Diabetes (E10 – E14)44.192.497.0
Dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease (F01, F03, G30, G31.0, G31.8)46.695.898.9

a. Percentages are based on the date registrations were received by the ABS for deaths that occurred in 2019-2023.
b. Only doctor certified deaths are included for cause-specific data.
c. Data is provisional and 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 2024

Data files

Previous catalogue number

This release previously used catalogue number 3303.0.55.004

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