3309.0 - Suicides, Australia, 2010  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 24/07/2012   
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Contents >> Suicide in Australia



There were 22,526 suicide deaths registered in Australia over the 10 years between 2001 and 2010. Suicide accounts for 1.7% of the 1,357,537 deaths due to all causes which occurred over this period. This chapter contains summary statistics on deaths registered in Australia where the underlying cause of death was determined as Intentional self-harm (suicide, X60-X84, Y87.0).


Further data relating to suicide deaths are available in the data cubes associated with this publication. These include numbers of suicides by age, sex and mechanism, age-specific death rates, suicides as a proportion of total deaths, and the number of suicides and age-standardised death rates for each state and territory. All data are provided for individual years between 2001 and 2010.


Data contained in this publication is sourced from the ABS Causes of Death collection. The quality of Australian deaths information is high by world standards. It has national coverage, has medical and coronial certification, has legislative requirements for reporting and has high quality processes to manage the data. For further information about the quality of this collection, see the Cause of Death Explanatory Notes (cat. no. 3303.0).

Data presented for 2009 and 2010 will be subject to a process of revision, with the revisions process only applying to coroner certified deaths. See Explanatory Notes 35-39 and Technical Notes, Causes of Death Revisions, 2006 and Causes of Death Revisions, 2008 and 2009 for further information.


There were 2,361 deaths from suicide registered in 2010. The number of suicide deaths recorded annually has remained relatively stable between 2001 and 2010, with the lowest number (2,098) recorded in 2004 and the highest (2,457) recorded in 2001. Over these 10 years, suicide accounted for between 1.6% and 1.9% of all deaths annually.

The age-standardised suicide rate in 2010 was 10.5 deaths per 100,000 population, a decrease from the 12.7 deaths per 100,000 population recorded in 2001. Males were between 3 and 4 times more likely to die from suicide than females across the 2001-2010 period. However, the distribution of suicide deaths across age groups was similar for both males and females, with half of all suicide deaths for males occurring between 33 and 57 years of age, while half of all female suicide deaths occurred between 31 and 56 years of age.

Suicide accounts for a large proportion of all deaths for people between 15 and 24 years of age, and 25 and 34 years of age. As such, these age groups are reported individually in Table 3.1. Over the 10 years from 2001 to 2010 the crude rate of suicide for males 15-24 years of age decreased from 20.4 to 13.4 deaths per 100,000 population. The crude rate of suicide for 24-35 year old males almost halved from 34.0 to 18.2 deaths per 100,000 population across the same timeframe. Age-standardised suicide rates for males, which take into account differences in the age-structure of the population and cover all age groups, declined from 20.3 to 16.4 deaths per 100,000 population between 2001 and 2010.

Crude rates of suicide are comparatively lower for females when compared with those for males. There has also been less change in these rates over the 10 year period (5.3 deaths per 100,000 population in 2001 compared to 4.9 deaths per 100,000 population in 2010). The age-standardised suicide rate for females was 5.3 deaths per 100,000 population in 2001 and 4.8 deaths per 100,000 population in 2010.

Table 3.1 shows summary statistics, including counts, crude and age-standardised rates of suicide and quartiles for age at death by sex, for suicide deaths in the registration years 2001 to 2010. Figure 3.2 shows the age-standardised suicide rates for males and females over the same period.

Table 3.1. Suicide, summary statistics, Australia, 2001-2010

    Graph Image for 3.2. Age-standardised suicide(a) rates(b) by sex, Australia, 2001-2010(c)

    Footnote(s): (a) Includes ICD-10 codes X60-X84 and Y87.0. Care needs to be taken in interpreting figures relating to suicide. See Causes of Death, Australia, 2010 (cat. no. 3303.0) Explanatory Notes 98-101. (b) Age-standardised rate per 100,000. Standardised using direct method and the Australian estimated resident population (persons) at 30 June 2001 as standard population. (c) All causes of death data from 2006 onward are subject to a revisions process - once data for a reference year are 'final', they are no longer revised. Affected data in this table are: 2006 (final) 2007 (final), 2008 (final), 2009 (revised), 2010 (preliminary). See Causes of Death, Australia, 2009 (cat. no. 3303.0) Technical Note and Explanatory Notes for further information.

    Source(s): Suicides, Australia

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