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Deaths, Australia

Statistics about deaths and mortality rates for Australia, states and territories, and sub-state regions

Reference period
2020

Key statistics

  • There were 161,300 registered deaths in 2020, a decrease of 8,001 since 2019
  • The standardised death rate decreased to 4.9 deaths, from 5.3 in 2019
  • Infant deaths decreased by 66 deaths to 943
Summary statistics
201020192020(a)
All deathsno.143,473169,301161,300
Infant deathsno.1,2291,009943
Standardised death raterate5.75.34.9
Crude death raterate6.56.76.3
Infant mortality raterate4.13.33.2

a. The number of deaths registered in 2020 (161,300) decreased by 8,001 compared to the 2019 registrations, but is similar to the average number of deaths recorded for 2015-2019 (161,252). All jurisdictions except the Australian Capital Territory recorded a decrease in death registrations in 2020. More information can be found in Methodology

The standardised death rate (SDR) uses the age distribution of total persons in the Australian population at 30 June 2001 as the standard population. The SDR is expressed as deaths per 1,000 standard population. 

The crude death rate is the number of deaths registered during the calendar year per 1,000 estimated resident population at 30 June. 

The infant mortality rate is the number of deaths of children under one year of age in a specified period per 1,000 live births in the same period.

Births registered by Indigenous status of the birth(a)

Births registered by Indigenous status of the birth(a)
State or territory of usual residenceSexAboriginal and Torres Strait IslanderNon-IndigenousNot statedTotal
NSW
Males3,95044,9542948,933
Females3,73842,7484046,526
Persons7,68887,7026995,459
Vic.
Males89936,27452537,698
Females82134,47055435,845
Persons1,72070,7441,07973,543
Qld
Males3,35127,1551430,520
Females3,08425,8681828,970
Persons6,43553,0233259,490
SA
Males5488,8391089,495
Females4868,4371089,031
Persons1,03417,27621618,526
WA
Males1,45815,00117816,637
Females1,36514,27914515,789
Persons2,82329,28032332,426
Tas.
Males3602,56952,934
Females3222,51862,846
Persons6825,087115,780
NT
Males7191,23911,959
Females7021,09101,793
Persons1,4212,33043,752
ACT
Males1052,64162,752
Females1042,50932,616
Persons2095,15095,368
Aust.(b)
Males11,390138,684869150,943
Females10,626131,926874143,426
Persons22,016270,6101,743294,369
  1. Limited births data have been included to allow for the calculation of infant mortality rates. Detailed births and fertility data will be released in Births. 
  2. Includes Other Territories.

National

Deaths registered

  • There were 161,300 deaths registered in 2020, a decrease of 8,001 from 2019 (169,301)
  • There were more male deaths (84,588) than female deaths (76,712), resulting in a sex ratio of 110.3 male deaths for every 100 female deaths
  • Over three quarters (77.5%) of deaths registered were to usual residents of New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland combined.

a. The number of deaths registered in 2020 (161,300) decreased by 8,001 compared to the 2019 registrations, but is similar to the average number of deaths recorded for 2015-2019 (161,252). All jurisdictions except the Australian Capital Territory recorded a decrease in death registrations in 2020. More information can be found in Methodology.

Age and sex distribution

  • The distribution of deaths by age and sex reflects males dying at younger ages than females

  • From 0-84 years, there were more male deaths than there were female deaths

  • At age 85-89 years and onwards, more female deaths were recorded than male deaths

a. Excludes deaths for which age was not stated

Median age at death

The median age at death:

  • was 78.9 years for males and 84.6 years for females
  • for males increased by 0.1 since 2019
  • for females decreased by 0.2 since 2019
  • has increased by 0.8 years for males and 0.4 years for females over the past ten years

Standardised death rate

The standardised death rate: 

  • decreased to 4.9 deaths per 1,000 standard population, from 5.3 in 2019
  • declined from 5.7 in 2010 to 4.9 in 2020, with both males and females showing a similar decline

a. The number of deaths registered in 2020 (161,300) decreased by 8,001 compared to the 2019 registrations, but is similar to the average number of deaths recorded for 2015-2019 (161,252). All jurisdictions except the Australian Capital Territory recorded a decrease in death registrations in 2020. More information can be found in Methodology.

Crude death rate

The crude death rate: 

  • decreased to 6.3 deaths per 1,000 population, from 6.7 in 2019
  • decreased from 6.5 in 2010 to 6.3 in 2020

Age-specific death rate

The age-specific death rates were: 

  • higher for males than females for nearly all age groups, with few exceptions
  • under one death per 1,000 population for age groups below 35-39 years (except age 0), increased from 45-49 years, then more rapidly from 55-59 years
  • lowest in age groups 5-9 for males (0.1) and females (0.0) and 10-14 years for both males (0.1) and females (0.1)
  • highest in age group 95-99 years for males (251.1) and 100+ years for females (346.2)

States and territories

Deaths registered

Over three quarters (77.5%) of deaths registered were to usual residents of New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland combined.

Deaths registered by state and territory of usual residence
State or territory2010 (no.)2019 (no.)2020 (no.)2020 (%)
New South Wales47,94556,05852,48532.5
Victoria(a)35,62343,94441,09325.5
Queensland27,28932,47331,36719.4
South Australia12,95713,91713,6078.4
Western Australia12,72015,04214,9939.3
Tasmania4,2694,6634,4352.7
Northern Territory9811,1421,1410.7
Australian Capital Territory1,6792,0332,1621.3
Australia(b)143,473169,301161,300100
  1. The number of deaths registered in 2020 (161,300) decreased by 8,001 compared to the 2019 registrations, but is similar to the average number of deaths recorded for 2015-2019 (161,252). All jurisdictions except the Australian Capital Territory recorded a decrease in death registrations in 2020. More information can be found in Methodology.
  2. Includes Other Territories. 

Median age at death

Median age at death was: 

  • highest in Victoria and South Australia for males (79.8 years) and South Australia for females (85.4 years)
  • lowest in the Northern Territory (68.2 years for males and 66.3 years for females)

Standardised death rate

The standardised death rate was:

  • highest in the Northern Territory (6.7 deaths per 1,000 standard population), followed by Tasmania (5.5)
  • lowest in Western Australia (4.7) 

Over the past ten years, standardised death rates:

  • declined in all states and territories
  • declined the most in the Northern Territory (1.5 deaths per 1,000 standard population), followed by Tasmania (1.1) and Queensland (1.0) 

Infants

Deaths registered

  • There were 943 infant deaths (deaths of children aged less than one year) registered (518 boys and 425 girls)
  • This was a 6.5% decrease compared with the number registered in 2019 (1,009)
  • Over the past ten years, the number of infant deaths has decreased overall (with some fluctuations) from 1,229 in 2010

Infant mortality rate

Australia has one of the lowest infant mortality rates in the world.

The infant mortality rate was:

  • 3.2 infant deaths per 1,000 live births, compared with 3.3 in 2019
  • 4.1 deaths per 1,000 live births in 2010

 

a. Lockdowns due to the COVID-19 pandemic influenced the number of birth registrations in Australia, with fewer births registered in 2020 compared to recent years. Births are used in the calculation of infant mortality rates, which are are presented per 1,000 live births.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples

Deaths registered

  • There were 4,063 deaths registered where the deceased person was recorded as being Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander, or both
  • Deaths increased by 276 from 2019
  • Victoria recorded the largest increase, 341 deaths from 254 in 2019, then Tasmania, 88 deaths from 68 in 2019
Deaths by Indigenous status
State or territory of usual residenceAboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (no.)Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (%)Non-Indigenous (no.)Non-Indigenous (%)Not stated (no.)Not stated (%)Total (no.)
NSW1,1552.250,79496.85361.052,485
Vic.3410.840,26898.04841.241,093
Qld1,0973.530,22396.4470.131,367
SA2261.713,37498.370.113,607
WA6264.214,30095.4670.414,993
Tas.882.04,31397.2340.84,435
NT50744.463455.600.01,141
ACT211.02,13298.690.42,162
Aust.(a)4,0632.5156,04296.71,1950.7161,300
  1. Includes Other Territories.

Age and sex distribution

Deaths of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are more widely spread across younger age groups, whereas deaths of non-Indigenous people are concentrated in the older age groups. This reflects a younger age profile for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples five state/territory data

Median ages, age-specific death rates, standardised death rates and infant mortality rates for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are included in this commentary for New South Wales, Queensland, Western Australia, South Australia and the Northern Territory only. These five jurisdictions have been included due to there being evidence of sufficient levels of identification and sufficient numbers of deaths to support mortality analysis. Total five state/territory combines data for these five jurisdictions.

Summary statistics(a)
201020192020
All deathsno. 2,600 3,435 3,611
Infant deathsno.120113103
Standardised death rate(b)rate9.79.29.4
Crude death rate(b)rate3.94.44.6
Infant mortality rate(b)rate7.05.85.4
  1. Data for Victoria, Tasmania and the Australian Capital Territory (based on state or territory of usual residence) are excluded due to the small numbers of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander deaths.
  2. These rates are based on three-year averages. They are calculated for each calendar year and then averaged.

Median age at death

The median age at death for: 

  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples was 61.0 years, up from 56.5 years 10 years ago
  • non-Indigenous people was 81.9 years, compared with 81.1 years 10 years ago

Age-specific death rate

Age-specific death rates for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples:

  • were higher in all age groups than those for non-Indigenous people
  • declined in most age groups, with the exception of 5-14, 35-44 and 45-54 age groups, compared with 10 years ago

The broader 25-54 years age group had the highest age-specific death rates compared to the non-Indigenous population.

Standardised death rate

The standardised death rate for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples:

  • was 9.4 deaths per 1,000 standard population, lower than 9.7 deaths per 1,000 10 years ago
  • for males fell to 10.6 from 10.9 10 years ago
  • for females fell to 8.3 from 8.7 over the same period
  • was highest in the Northern Territory at 13.1 and lowest in New South Wales at 7.6

Infant mortality rate

The infant mortality rate for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples: 

  • was almost twice the rate for non-Indigenous people (5.4 per 1,000 live births compared with 3.0)
  • in the Northern Territory were the highest of the five jurisdictions in both the 2008-2010 (11.4) and 2018-2020 (13.8) periods
  • for all five jurisdictions fluctuated over the 10 year period due to the small and variable number of registered infant deaths in these jurisdictions

Deaths by year of registration and year of occurrence

While the interval between the occurrence and registration of deaths is often longer for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples than for the non-Indigenous population, there is normally little difference between the number of deaths registered and the number that occurred in a given year. The number of deaths not registered in the year that they occurred are balanced by the number of deaths that occurred in the previous years but were subsequently registered. Data for the latest year will be underestimated if reported on a year of occurrence basis. 

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander deaths, state or territory(a) of usual residence by year of registration

NSWVic.Qld(b)(c)SAWATas.NTACTAust.(d)
19994351305291163501139961,976
2000473108535144407845022,127
2001481935651253453242932,072
2002516645901073712046242,136
2003485825691373382343592,079
20044905457913140020449102,136
20055077151914240628454112,141
200653011158412444320452142,279
2007601955941384492446162,368
20085599756214148624467162,353
200959110663216041630431102,377
201062211794814743637447132,767
201172612862914145430437122,558
20126351006781514664553962,620
201375312376517745727489182,811
201479413968816951731562132,914
201582214184216751150537173,088
201685717588417056554443193,168
201785718689722250852504223,250
201896021196322356366509223,518
20191,1222541,01622357868496293,787
20201155341109722662688507214,063
  1. Due to differing levels of recording Indigenous status by the states and territories registrars, and over time, care should be taken in interpreting change in numbers of deaths.
  2. Care should be taken when interpreting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander deaths data for Queensland for 2010. See Technical Note: Queensland Retrospective Deaths Project, and Explanatory Notes.
  3. From 2015, deaths data provided by the Queensland Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages include information resulting in an improvement in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander identification. See Explanatory Notes.
  4. Includes Other Territories.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander deaths, state or territory(a) of usual residence by year of occurrence(b)

NSWVic.Qld(c)(d)SAWATas.NTACTAust.(e)
19994331055401173481243872,000
20004801156191403841042912,178
2001487815811223682943032,100
2002508646141083852247152,179
20034948359514432422419122,095
2004481556351343911943772,161
20055088154214041632496122,230
200653111759212446216454122,309
2007599945931434622546582,389
20085599755414447623491142,359
200959610962814840933440122,376
201064013363314942635429122,458
201171110565014844432485112,586
20126661136821584524350872,629
201375711674916746529509172,811
201479713471917749730546162,917
201579914884015853350503163,048
201686519985117854153463193,170
201790018992122653056517233,364
201896419895322155363543203,516
20191,087275100222556770466333,726
20201081279100019454384354163,553
  1. Due to differing levels of recording Indigenous status by the states and territories registrars, and over time, care should be taken in interpreting change in numbers of deaths.
  2. Includes deaths registered up to and including 31 December 2020. The number of deaths presented on a year of occurrence basis is subject to change, as deaths that occurred prior to 31 December 2020 but have not yet been registered are registered in subsequent years. See Explanatory Notes for more information.
  3. Care should be taken when interpreting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander deaths data for Queensland for 2010. See Technical Note: Queensland Retrospective Deaths Project, and Explanatory Notes.
  4. From 2015, deaths data provided by the Queensland Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages include information resulting in an improvement in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander identification. See Explanatory Notes.
  5. Includes Other Territories.

Data downloads

Table 1: Deaths, Country of birth, Australia - 2020

Table 2: Median age at death, Year of occurrence, States and territories, 2010 to 2020

Table 3: Deaths, Summary, Statistical Area Level 4 - 2012 to 2020

Table 4: Deaths, Summary, Statistical Area Level 2 - 2012 to 2020

Table 5: Deaths, Summary, Local Government Areas - 2012 to 2020

Table 6: Deaths, Summary, Remoteness Areas - 2012 to 2020

Table 7: Deaths, Indigenous status, Summary, Remoteness Areas, Australia - 2012 to 2020

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Previous catalogue number

This release previously used catalogue number 3302.0.

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