AIHW Board AIHW senior staff Annual report Capability statement Collaboration AIHW corporate plan 2016–17 to 2019–20 Customer care charter FOI - freedom of information Indexed list of files Nous review Organisation chart Presentations Privacy of data Public Interest Disclosure Tenders
By category Ageing, disability & carers Families & children Hospitals Housing & homelessness Indigenous Australians Population groups Risk factors, diseases & death Services, workforce & spending
By subject Adoptions Aged care Ageing Alcohol & other drugs Arthritis & musculoskeletal conditions Asthma Australia's health Australia's welfare Burden of disease Cancer Cardiovascular disease Child health, development & wellbeing Child protection Children's services Chronic diseases
Chronic kidney disease Chronic respiratory conditions COPD Deaths Dementia Dental & oral health Diabetes Disability Expenditure Eye health Food & nutrition Health indicators Health performance Homelessness Hospitals Housing assistance Indigenous Australians Injury Life expectancy
Male health Mental health Mothers & babies Overweight & obesity Palliative care services Population health Primary health care Prisoner health Risk factors Rural health Safety & quality of health care Veterans' health Workforce Youth health & wellbeing Youth justice
In other sections Data Publications Contact AIHW
Publications CatalogueOrdering publicationsForthcoming publications Online reports Subscribe to release notices
By subject Adoptions Aged care Ageing Alcohol & other drugs AIHW annual reports Arthritis & musculoskeletal conditions Asthma Australia's health Australia's welfare Burden of disease Cancer Cardiovascular disease Child health, development & wellbeing Child protection Children's services Chronic diseases Chronic kidney disease
Chronic respiratory conditions Corporate publications Data linkage Data standards Deaths Dental & oral health Diabetes Disability Expenditure Eye health Food & nutrition General practice Health indicators Health performance Homelessness Hospitals Housing assistance Indigenous Australians Indigenous housing
Injury Life expectancy Male health Mental health services Mothers & babies Overweight & obesity Palliative care Population health Primary health carePrisoner health Risk factors Rural health Safety & quality of health care Veterans' health Workforce Youth health & wellbeing Youth justice
In other sections Subjects Data Contact AIHW
About AIHW data METeOR—metadata online registry Data by subject AIHW data collections Customised data analysis request Data governance framework Data linking Data standards GovHack Privacy of data Accessing Australian Government health and welfare data
By subjectAboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Performance Framework Adoptions Aged care Alcohol and other drugs Alcohol data sources Cancer Children's headline indicators (CHI) Child protection Data sources for monitoring health conditionsDeaths Diabetes Disability
Expenditure FHBH - Fixing houses for better health General Record of Incidence of Mortality (GRIM) books Hospitals Indigenous Australians International collaboration Maternity Information Matrix (MIM) Medical indemnity Mental health Mortality Over Regions and Time (MORT) books National Aged Care Data Clearinghouse
National core maternity indicators (NCMI) National framework for protecting Australia’s children (NFPAC) National indicator catalogue National Youth Information Framework (NYIF) Perinatal data Primary Health Network (PHN) Specialist Homelessness Services (SHS) Workforce
In other sections Subjects Publications Contact AIHW
AIHW committeesAIHW Board AIHW Ethics Committee
National & advisory committeesACFADD AHSAC AODTS NMDS WG Cancer CKDMAC CVDMAC HEACIGIHM JJ RIG MHISSC
NAGATSIHID NCSIMG NDDWG NDIMG NHISSC NIAG NIRAPIMG NMDDNMDS NMHPSC NOPSAD
NPDDC NPHEP NPHIC PCDWG PDWG PHIDG PHIG REDWG Workforce committees
In other sections About the AIHW Data Publications Contact AIHW
Education worksheets Infographics What's in the pipeline Subscribe to education notices Other educational links
Resources by subject All Latest Ageing Australia's health Australia's welfare Carers
Children & youth Disability Disease Drugs
Health Health prevention Indigenous Australians Injury
In other sections Subjects Data Publications Contact AIHW
Job vacancies How to apply for a position at the AIHW Conditions of employment Benefits of working for the AIHW Temporary employment register Occupational Training Program Contact the People Unit Graduates
AIHW Access magazine Media releases Subscribe to release notices Embargoed access to AIHW material Media contacts
You are here:
On this page
The majority of deaths in Australia, like other developed countries, occur among older people. Sixty-six per cent of deaths registered in Australia in 2014 were among people aged 75 or over (58% for males and 73% for females). The median age at death was 78.5 years for males and 84.8 years for females (Table S1).
Source: ABS 2015 (Table S1).
Deaths in early childhood have reduced substantially over the past 100 years. In 1907 deaths in the 0–4 age group accounted for 26% of all deaths compared to less than 1% in 2014.
Child death rates presented here are calculated as the number of deaths among young children (aged 0–4) divided by the population of the same age and expressed as per 100,000 population.
In 2014, there were 78 deaths per 100,000 population—32% lower than a decade earlier (2004) and 97% lower than in 1907 when recording began. The death rate was higher for boys than girls.
The drop in child deaths in Australia mostly reflects a decline in infant deaths, which is linked to:
Source: AIHW GRIM books (Table S2).
Other measures of deaths in early childhood and infancy are also commonly used to describe the health status of a population:
Premature deaths can be summarised in terms of potential years of life lost (PYLLs). This measure considers only deaths that occur before a certain age. For example, if dying before the age of 75 is considered premature then a person dying at age 40 would have lost 35 potential years of life.
Using the age of 75 as the cut-off, there were 880,437 PYLLs in Australia in 2014. This is a little over half the number in 1907 when there were 1,576,383 PYLLs. Expressed another way, in 1907 there were 382 PYLLs per 1,000 population and in 2014 this figure was 40 PYLLs per 1,000 population; a decrease of 89%.
Males are more likely than females to experience premature death however the difference between the sexes is narrowing. In 1974 there were 137 PYLLs per 1,000 males compared to 78 PYLLs per 1,000 females: a difference of 59 PYLL per 1,000. This gap decreased to 35 PYLL in 1994 (76 PYLLs per 1,000 males and 41 PYLLs per 1,000 females) and 19 PYLL in 2014 (50 PYLLs per 1,000 males and 31 PYLLs per 1,000 females).
Source: AIHW GRIM books (Table S3).
PYLLs can be used to estimate the burden of mortality, which is the loss associated with early death. On this basis it is sometimes used as an indicator of the social and economic impact of premature deaths. Burden of disease measures include a component of years of life lost that is weighted according to the remaining life expectancy at that age of death, rather than using the age of 75 as the cut-off.
For more information, see Burden of disease.
Potentially avoidable deaths are deaths among people younger than 75 that are potentially avoidable within the present health care system. They include deaths from conditions that are potentially preventable through individualised care and/or treatable through existing primary or hospital care.
In 2014 there were over 26,000 potentially avoidable deaths: half (50%) of all deaths for people aged less than 75. Of these deaths, 63% were male and 37% were female.
Potentially avoidable death rates fell by 44% between 1997 and 2014 (from 193 to 108 deaths per 100,000 population). Rates fell by 45% among males (from 252 to 139 deaths per 100,000 males) and by 43% among females (from 136 to 78 per 100,000 females).
Source: AIHW National Mortality Database (Table S4).
Potentially avoidable deaths are classified using nationally agreed definitions based on cause of death for people aged less than 75. Historical data may differ from previous reports as the nationally agreed revisions to the definition of potentially avoidable deaths in 2014 have been applied.
ABS (Australian Bureau of Statistics) 2015. Deaths, Australia, 2014. ABS cat. no. 3302.0. Canberra: ABS.
AIHW 2016. National Healthcare Agreement: PI 16-Potentially avoidable deaths, 2016.
AIHW GRIM (General Record of Incidence of Mortality) books.