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Newsletters - Health Statistics News - No. 42, December 1999



The release of the ABS 1997-98 series of allied health publications is now complete. Each publication contains financial and employment data about the allied health businesses in each industry. In total, there were five publications released:

Contact: Annette Scott on (03) 9615 7977


A new publication with implications for health providers, Household and Family Projections, Australia 1996-2021 (ABS Catalogue No. 3236.0), was released on 28 October.

Among the key results are:

  • by 2021 the number of Australians living alone is projected to increase to between 1 in 7 and 1 in 9. In 1996 the figure was 1 in 12.

  • 20% to 24% of people living alone in 2021 are projected to be older Australians (aged 75 years and over) and of these about three-quarters will be women.

  • the number of children living with one parent is projected to be between 1.1 million and 1.9 million by 2021. Almost one-third (31%) of 0-4 year olds could be living with one parent by 2021.

  • of all family types, couple families without children are projected to increase most rapidly over the period 1996-2021, reflecting the ageing of the baby boomers as they become 'empty nesters'.

Contact: Sue Taylor (02) 6252 6141


Fertility of Indigenous women is estimated to be at least 2.2 births per woman. Indigenous babies are lighter, with an average birth weight of 3,140 grams compared to 3,360 grams for all babies.

In 1998 the average number of births per woman was 1.76, well below 2.1, the level needed for a woman to replace herself and her partner. Australia's fertility has been below replacement level since 1976. Currently, it is lower than that of the United States of America (2.0) and New Zealand (2.0), at much the same level as in the United Kingdom (1.7), and above the levels of Canada (1.5), Germany (1.3), Italy (1.2) and Spain (1.1).

The peak age of fertility is 25-29 years but the birthrate in this age group is declining relatively quickly. In contrast, birthrates of women aged 35 years and over continued their upward trend and in 1998 these women contributed 15% to total fertility, compared to 10% in 1988.

For more detail see Births, Australia 1998 (ABS Catalogue No. 3301.0).

Contact: Katrina Phelan (02) 6252 6573


The ABS is assisting the TVW Telethon Institute for Child Health Research who are conducting the Western Australian Aboriginal Child Health Survey in the year 2000.

The survey will focus on the early childhood antecedents of mental health, physical health, behaviour problems, and adverse health behaviours (eg. drug, alcohol & tobacco use) in Aboriginal children and youth. Extensive family, housing and community information will also be gathered from caregivers and permission sought to gather education related information from the schools attended by children. Additionally, consent will be sought to link the survey findings for individual children to the WA. Maternal and Child Health Research Database.

These data will provide a picture of Aboriginal child development in metropolitan, rural and remote areas of Western Australia. While providing WA and regional estimates, the findings are also likely to be of value to Aboriginal communities and service providers elsewhere in Australia.

Information from the survey will be used to define priority targets for existing services and to develop a knowledge-base from which preventive strategies and health promotion programs can be developed and evaluated. A notable feature of the survey is a focus on competencies, opportunities and environments that promote resiliency in Aboriginal children and young people.

The survey has been planned in partnership with the WA Community Controlled Health Organisations and has involved extensive collaboration with Aboriginal communities and agencies throughout Western Australia.

A pilot test of the survey was successfully conducted in metropolitan, rural and remote areas in October 1999. A larger dress rehearsal will be conducted in February-March 2000. The main survey will be carried out on a statewide sample of 1,635 Aboriginal families, with 4,468 Aboriginal children to age 17, from May - December 2000. Participation is voluntary.

Current funding for the pilot and dress rehearsal stages of the project has been secured through Western Australian State government departments, the Western Australian Lotteries Commission, and the Western Australian Health Promotion Foundation. Further funding to allow the main survey to proceed is the subject of current applications to the Commonwealth government.

Further information about the survey may be obtained from Lorrie Martinovich at the ABS (08-9360-5988) or from Stephen Zubrick at the TVW Telethon Institute for Child Health Research (08-9340-8723).


Causes of Death, Australia (Cat. No. 3303.0) was released on 29 November 1999. It reported that there were 2,683 suicides in 1998, only 40 less than the record 2,723 registered in 1997.

Persons aged 25-44 years again had the highest suicides death rates (23 deaths per 100,000 people in this age group). This represents an increase over the 17 deaths per 100,000 people recorded for this age group in 1989. The rate for 15-24 age group has also increased over this period, but from 14 to 17 deaths per 100,000 people aged 15-24. However, suicide still represents a quarter of all deaths among those aged 15-24 compared with a fifth of all deaths among those aged 25-44.

In 1998 cancer and ischaemic heart disease accounted for almost half of the total deaths (27% and 22% of all deaths respectively). Death rates from cancer and ischaemic heart disease increase with age. However, for all age groups these death rates have decreased between 1989 and 1998.

In 1998, there were 4,820 deaths from accidents accounting for 4% of total deaths registered. Motor vehicle accidents were the major contributor, responsible for 36% of total accident deaths in 1998 while accidental falls accounted for a further 25% of the total.

There were 2,090 perinatal deaths registered in 1998, comprising 1,336 fetal (stillbirths) deaths and 754 neonatal deaths (deaths of children within 28 days of birth). Fetal deaths decreased by 12% on the number registered in 1997 while neonatal deaths decreased by 6%.

Contact: David Jayne (07) 322 6060


The Australian Food and Nutrition Monitoring Unit is developing a nationally coordinated food and nutrition reporting system for Australia. The Unit is composed of a consortium of specialist staff from the universities of Queensland, Sydney and Deakin.

The project is funded by the Commonwealth Department of Health and Aged Care and is an initiative of the Australian National Food and Nutrition Policy, launched in 1992.

The principal goals of the project are to create an effective and efficient system for the collection and dissemination of relevant and timely information about the food and nutrition situation in Australia, and to inform decisions about national nutrition policies and programs.

A series of integrated activities, resulting in the production of 17 core reports, are to be completed as part of the project.

The following five reports are due to be released in early 2000:

  • Plan for a national food and nutrition monitoring system (web site product);
  • Food and nutrition data sources catalogue (web site product);
  • Getting it right - how to use the data from the 1995 National Nutrition Survey;
  • Interim evaluation of the effects of folate fortification; and
  • 1999 Annual Report.

Getting it right is a companion document to the National Nutrition Survey Users' Guide 1995 (Australian Bureau of Statistics, Catalogue No: 4801.0) and is designed to assist users of the results from the 1995 National Nutrition Survey, with the analysis and interpretation of the published reports and the confidentialised unit record dataset.

Further details about the project and/or the reports can be obtained from the web site or by contacting Tricia Cook on (07) 3365 5403.


Health Statistics News is a quarterly publication from the Australian Bureau of Statistics' Health Section, Canberra, available to interested individuals or organisations. If you or your organisation would like to be placed on our mailing list, please contact Liesl Mitchell at the address shown below and provide your address details and the number of copies requested.

Published by:

Health Section
Australian Bureau of Statistics
PO Box 10

Ph. (02) 6252 7437
Fax. (02) 6252 8007

PUBLICATIONS RELEASED (October 1999 to December 1999)

3236.0 Household and Family Projections, Australia ($27.00)
3401.0 Overseas Arrivals and Departures, Australia ($16.50)
4130.0 Housing Occupancy and Costs, Australia ($21.00)
8553.0 Optometry and Optical Dispensing Services, Australia ($16.50)

OTHER ABS PRODUCTS RELEASED (October 1999 to December 1999)

4509.0.40.001 Crime and Safety, Australia: Supplementary National and Standard Tables ($91.00)

These publications are available from ABS book shops in each capital city:

    (02) 6252 6627
    (08) 8237 7400
    (02) 9268 4611
    (03) 6222 5800
    (08) 8943 2111
    (03) 9615 7755
    (07) 3222 6351
    (08) 9360 5140

National Mail Order Service (02) 6252 5249 or Subscription Service 1300 366 323


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