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Topics @ a Glance - Mortality
Using Causes of Death Statistics
 
 


AVAILABILITY

Data releases

The registration of deaths is the responsibility of the individual state and territory Registrars of Births, Deaths and Marriages. This information is provided to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) by individual Registrars for coding and compilation into aggregate statistics. To produce causes of death data, the ABS supplements the data from registries with information from the National Coroners Information System (NCIS).

Deaths, Australia (cat. no. 3302.0) presents statistics on deaths and mortality for Australia, states and territories, and sub-state regions. Information on characteristics of the deceased include; place of usual residence, age at death, sex, Indigenous status and country of birth. Information is also provided on infant deaths, life expectancy and death rates.

Main outputs of Causes of Death, Australia (cat. no. 3303.0) include; reference year, year of occurrence, age at death, sex, usual residence of the deceased, country of birth, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander deaths, underlying cause of death, multiple causes of death, standardised death rates and years of potential life lost. The 2008 publication included the first round of 2007 revised data.

For Perinatal Deaths, Australia (cat. no. 3304.0) causes of death are assigned in terms of the main condition in the fetus/infant and in terms of the main condition in the mother. Perinatal deaths are presented by state or territory of usual residence of the mother, main condition in fetus/infant and main condition in mother, and Indigenous status. In addition, perinatal deaths are also presented according to World Health Organisation (WHO) standards.

These publications are available free of charge in PDF and/or online formats from the ABS website <http://www.abs.gov.au>. More detailed deaths and mortality statistics can be obtained from the data cubes associated with each publication which are available for download from the ABS website.

For more information please refer to the Explanatory Notes, Technical Notes, Quality Declarations and other relevant explanatory materials associated with each publication, and to the Information Papers and other information sources listed on the Statistical Releases mortality theme page.

Customised data

To obtain information that is more detailed than that provided in publications and data cubes you can contact the Information Consultancy Service.

DATA LIMITATIONS

A discussion of data quality issues relating to Indigenous deaths data can be found in:
4704.0 The Health and Welfare of Australia's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, 2008, Chapter 9
4704.0.55.001 Recent Developments in the Collection of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health and Welfare Statistics, 2005

Comparability of causes of death data over time, including concordances of ICD-9 to ICD-10, can be found in Causes of Death, Australia, 2007 (cat. no. 3303.0) Appendix 1.

A quality declaration of relevance, timeliness, accuracy, coherence, interpretability and accessibility is available for all publications:
3302.0 Deaths, Australia, 2008 Quality Declaration
3303.0 Causes of Death, Australia, 2008 Quality Declaration
3304.0 Perinatal Deaths, Australia, 2008 Quality Declaration

DIRECTORY OF STATISTICAL SOURCES

The Directory of Statistical Sources is an on-line tool for data users to identify and access reference information about ABS statistical collections. Information about the collection, such as its purpose, scope and coverage, and summary information about the various data items is available. A range of information related to mortality statistics is available under the Health Topic.

GLOSSARY

3302.0 Deaths, Australia, 2008 Glossary
3303.0 Causes of Death, Australia, 2008 Glossary
3304.0 Perinatal Deaths, Australia, 2008 Glossary

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

For more frequently asked questions see Health FAQs on the ABS website.

Q. Is the number of deaths being revised?
A. No. The revisions process impacts only on the specificity of cause of death code(s) assigned to death records. The data presented in the Deaths, Australia (cat. no. 3302.0) publication, including the number of deaths and related demographic information, will not be revised or altered through the revisions process.

Q. Why is 2007 causes of death data being revised? Was there an error in the originally presented data?
A. No. To improve the quality of causes of death data, all coroner certified deaths registered after 1 January 2007 are now subject to a revisions process. The revisions process enables the use of additional information relating to coroner certified deaths either 12 or 24 months after initial processing. This increases the specificity of the assigned ICD-10 codes over time. As 12 or 24 months of time has passed since initial processing, further information may have become available to the ABS about the causes of these deaths. For more information see Causes of Death, Australia, 2008 (cat. no. 3303.0) Technical Note 2: Causes of Death - Revisions Process.

Q. Has the revisions process increased the number of Suicides?
A. No, the revisions process enables the ABS to code any further information loaded to the National Coroners Information Service (NCIS) after the preliminary coding took place. This allows the ABS to code a more specific cause of death. If the case remains open on the NCIS, ABS will investigate and use additional information from police reports, toxicology reports, autopsy reports and coroners findings to assign a more specific cause of death to these open cases. It is expected that all open cases will be investigated in this manner from 2008 onwards.

Q. What are the key statistics relating to Suicide deaths?
A. For 2008, key figures include:
  • there were 2,191 deaths from Suicide (X60-X84, Y87.0) registered in 2008.
  • over three quarters (78%) of Suicides were males.
  • the highest age-specific Suicide death rate for males in 2008 was observed in the 40-44 year age group (26.4 per 100,000 population); 16% of total male deaths in this age group.
  • Suicide accounted for 20% of male deaths in the 15-24 age group.
  • for females, the highest age-specific Suicide death rate in 2008 was for the 50-54 year age group (8.6 deaths per 100,000).
  • Please note that comparing 2007 revised data and 2008 preliminary data should be done with caution, due to the additional processing that has occurred for 2007 revised data
See the Suicides chapter in Causes of Death, Australia, 2008 (cat. no. 3303.0) for more information.

Q. What are the leading causes of death for 2008?
A. In 2008, Ischaemic heart disease (I20-I25) remained the leading cause of death, responsible for 16% (23, 665) of all deaths. Heart disease was also the leading cause of death in the Indigenous population, accounting for 13% of Indigenous deaths. Cerebrovascular disease [Strokes] (I60-I69) remained the second leading underlying cause of death, while Dementia and Alzheimer's disease (F01, F03, G30) was the third leading cause. Trachea and lung cancers (C33-C34) were the fourth leading cause of death in 2008.
See the Leading causes of death chapter in Causes of Death, Australia, 2008 (cat. no. 3303.0) for more information.

Q. What is ICD-10?
A. ICD-10 is the tenth revision of the International Classification of Diseases, endorsed by the World Heath Organisation. It is used to classify diseases and other health problems recorded on many types of health and vital records including death certificates and health records.

Q. What is the difference between reference year and year of occurrence?
A. Reference year is the year in which the data is received by the ABS, year of occurrence is the year in which the death occurred. For more information see Causes of Death, Australia, 2008 (cat. no. 3303.0) Explanatory Notes.

Q. Can I access data that is not available in the publications?
A. Yes, information tailored to your needs can be provided on a fee-for-service basis. Contact the National Information and Referral Service on 1300 135 070 for assistance.

Q. Can 2008 causes of death preliminary data be compared to 2007 causes of death revised data?
A. Comparing preliminary 2007 data against preliminary 2008 data is acceptable, however, comparing 2007 revised data and 2008 preliminary data should be done with caution, due to the additional processing that has occurred for 2007 revised data.

Q. Major improvements were introduced in processing 2008 data; are previous data of poor quality?
A. No. The ABS remains committed to the continuous improvement of causes of death data quality - this is also evident in the application of the revisions process. For more information see Causes of Death, Australia, 2008 (cat. no. 3303.0) Technical Note 1: 2008 COD Collection - Process Improvements.



Commonwealth of Australia 2008

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