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4704.0 - The Health and Welfare of Australia's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples, Oct 2010  
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 19/12/2011  Final
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Contents >> Mortality >> Age structure and age at death


MORTALITY: AGE STRUCTURE AND AGE AT DEATH
This article is part of a comprehensive series released as The Health and Welfare of Australia's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples.


KEY MESSAGES
In the five year period from 2006 to 2010:
  • mortality rates for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population were higher than those for the non-Indigenous population in each age group
  • in New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia and the Northern Territory, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mortality (adjusted to account for age structure) has decreased from 1196 deaths in 2001 to 1099 deaths in 2010, per 100,000 standard population.

AGE AT DEATH

A larger proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander deaths occur at younger ages than non-Indigenous deaths. For example, 6% of deaths of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander males were in the 15–24 age group, compared to 1% of deaths of non-Indigenous males.

4.1 PROPORTION OF DEATHS BY AGE GROUP (a), Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and non-Indigenous people(b)—2006–2010
Graph: Proportion of deaths by age group, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and non-Indigenous people—2006–2010
(a) Includes deaths of people usually resident in New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia and the Northern Territory.
(b) Excludes deaths for which Indigenous status was not stated.
Source: ABS Deaths collection. These estimates are available for download in the Mortality datacube.


AGE SPECIFIC DEATH RATES

In 2006–2010, the age-specific death rates (Endnote 1) for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population were higher than those for the non-Indigenous people in each age group. The age groups with largest disparity were the 35–44 age group for both men and women, at 4.3 and 4.9 times the non-Indigenous age-specific rates respectively.


4.2 RATE RATIO OF AGE-SPECIFIC DEATH RATES (a)(b), Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and non-Indigenous people(c)—2006–2010
Graph: Rate Ratio of Age-Specific Death Rates, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and non-Indigenous people—2006–2010
(a) Includes deaths of people usually resident in New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia and the Northern Territory.
(b) The rate ratio is the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander rate divided by the non-Indigenous rate.
(c) Excludes deaths for which Indigenous status was not stated.
Source: ABS Deaths collection. These estimates are available for download in the Mortality datacube.

AGE-STANDARDISED DEATH RATES

The age-standardised death rate provides a summary measure which can be used to compare the mortality rates of populations with different age structures by relating them to a standard population (Endnote 2). The age-standardised death rate enables the comparison of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and non-Indigenous mortality rates as if both populations shared the age structure of the Australian population in 30 June 2001. In 2006–2010, the age-standardised death rate of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population in New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia and the Northern Territory was nearly twice that of the non-Indigenous population.

ABORIGINAL AND TORRES STRAIT ISLANDER MORTALITY OVER TIME

In New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia and the Northern Territory, the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander age-standardised death rate has decreased from 1196 deaths in 2001 to 1099 deaths in 2010 per 100,000 standard population. The non-Indigenous age-standardised mortality rate decreased from 641 to 587 deaths per 100,000 standard population over the same period.

4.3 AGE-STANDARDISED DEATH RATES (a), Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and non-Indigenous people(b)—2001–2010
Graph: Age-Standardised Death Rates, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and non-Indigenous people—2001–2010
(a) Includes deaths of people usually resident in New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia and the Northern Territory.
(b) Excludes deaths for which Indigenous status was not stated.
Source: ABS Deaths collection. These estimates and associated variability bands are available for download in the Mortality datacube.

In South Australia and the Northern Territory, the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander age-standardised death rate has decreased from 1,963 deaths in 1991 to 1,355 deaths in 2010 per 100,000 standard population. The age-standardised mortality rate for other Australians in these jurisdictions decreased from 812 deaths to 623 deaths per 100,000 standard population over the same period.

4.4 AGE-STANDARDISED DEATH RATES (a), Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and other Australians(b)—1991–2010
Graph: Age-Standardised Death Rates, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and other Australians—1991–2010
(a) Includes deaths of people usually resident in South Australia and the Northern Territory.
(b) 'Other Australians' include deaths of non-Indigenous people and those for whom Indigenous status was not stated.
Source: ABS Deaths collection. These estimates and associated variability bands are also available for download in the Mortality datacube.

ENDNOTES
1. Age-specific death rates are calculated by dividing the number of deaths in a particular age group, by the estimated resident population for that age group.

2. An age-standardised death rate is calculated by first multiplying the age-specific death rate for each age group by the number of people in that age group in the standard population, which are then added together. The standardised rate is then calculated by dividing this aggregated number of deaths by the total standard population and multiplying by 100,000. Standardised death rates are calculated using the total persons in the Australian population at 30 June 2001 as the standard population.


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