EXTERNAL CAUSES (V01-Y98)
External causes of death relate to cases where the underlying cause of death is determined to be one of a group of causes external to the body (for example suicide, transport accidents, falls, poisoning etc). See Explanatory Note 40 for further information.
In 2011, external causes accounted for 9,123 deaths, or 6.2% of all registered deaths. The standardised death rate was 37.5 per 100,000 population in 2011, a decrease from 39.6 per 100,000 population in 2002. Males were more likely to die from external causes than females in 2011. The standardised death rate for males was 52.3 per 100,000 compared with 23.4 females per 100,000.
In 2011, the median age at death from these causes was 56.0 years. The median age at death for external causes was considerably less than the median age of 81.5 years for all registered deaths in 2011. The median age at death for males who died of external causes was 49.8. years, with the median age at death for females 76.4 years.
Consistent with previous years, close to two-thirds of the total number of people who died from external causes were male (5,852). The difference between the number of deaths of males and females was most apparent amongst the 20-44 year age group, with 2,165 male deaths compared to 660 female deaths, with a sex ratio of 328 male deaths per 100 female deaths in this age group.
Transport Accidents (V01-V99, Y85)
Transport accidents (V01-V99, Y85) accounted for 1,543 deaths registered in 2011. This represented 1.1% of all registered deaths in 2011, and 16.9% of all external causes of death. Of these, 670 deaths were of Occupants of a car (V40-V49), 213 deaths were of Motorcycle riders (V20-V29) and 224 deaths were of Pedestrians (V01-V09).
As with most other external causes, more males than females died from transport accidents in 2011 (1,122 compared with 421). For males, 1.5% of deaths registered in 2011 were caused by transport accidents. This was compared with 0.6% of all female deaths. The median age at death from transport accidents for males was 40.2 years compared to 43.9 years for females. Of all male deaths from external causes, 19.2% were attributed to transport accidents.
For further information on transport accidents, refer to Explanatory Note 89.
Accidental Falls (W00-W19)
Accidental Falls (W00-W19) accounted for 1,845 deaths registered in 2011. This represented 1.3% of all registered deaths in 2011, and 20.2% of all external causes of death. Falls have increased by 38.0% over the last five years (1,337 in 2007).
Falls were the underlying cause of death for more females than males (950 females, compared with 895 males). The median age at death for falls was 86.1 years, which was considerably higher than the median age at death of 56.0 for all external causes. Of all deaths due to falls, 87.6% (1,616) were of people aged 70 years or more.
Accidental Poisoning (X40-X49)
Accidental poisoning (X40-X49) accounted for 987 deaths registered in 2011. This represented 0.7% of all registered deaths in 2011, and 10.8% of all external causes of death. The number of deaths due to accidental poisoning may be affected by the number of open coroner certified cases, as well as changes in coding practices. See Explanatory Notes 56-67 or further information.
More than twice as many males as females died from accidental poisoning in 2011, with 686 male and 301 female deaths. The median age at death for accidental poisoning was 41.8 years. Median age at death for males was 38.5 years, compared with 49.1 years for females.
Assault (X85-Y09, Y87.1) accounted for 190 deaths in 2011. The deaths from assault represented 0.1% of all registered deaths and 2.1% of all external causes of death in 2011. Almost twice as many males (120) as females (70) died from assault in 2011, closely following the trend since 2001. The median age at death for assault was 40.1 years. Median age at death for males was 40.5 years, compared with 37.5 years for females.
ABS statistics for deaths due to assault may differ from other sources of data due to differences in scope and coverage, but also due to the impact of open coroner certified cases on data. See Explanatory Notes 90-91 for further information.
Intentional Self-Harm [Suicide] (X60-X84,Y87.0)
Care should be taken in using and interpreting suicide data contained in this publication. For further information refer to Explanatory Notes 92-95.
There were 2,273 deaths coded to Intentional self-harm (X60-X84, Y87.0) in 2011. Deaths from Intentional self-harm represented 1.5% of all registered deaths and 24.9% of all external causes of death in 2011. More than three times as many males as females died from Intentional self-harm in 2011, continuing the trend since 2001. The median age at death for Intentional self-harm was 42.6 years for females and 43.2 years for males.
For more detailed information on deaths due to Intentional self-harm, see Chapter 5 of this publication.