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Life expectancy and mortality

Causes of death

Between 2014 and 2018, the leading broad causes of death among Indigenous Australians were cancer and circulatory diseases (23.0% of deaths and 22.5% of deaths, respectively).

Among Indigenous males, circulatory diseases were the most common cause of death (23.1% of deaths). Cancer caused the most deaths among Indigenous females (24.1% of deaths) (Figure LM 6).


Accounting for year-to-year variability, long-term trends in selected causes of death spanning 2008 to 2018 showed that rates of death among Indigenous Australians decreased for:

  • circulatory diseases (20% lower)
  • kidney diseases (42% lower)
  • diabetes (26% lower).

Over the same period, rates of death among Indigenous Australians increased for:

  • cancer (9% higher)
  • respiratory diseases (33% higher) (Figure LM 7).