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Life expectancy and mortality

Causes of death

Between 2015 and 2019, the leading broad causes of death among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples were cancer and circulatory diseases (23% of deaths respectively).

Among Indigenous males, circulatory diseases were the most common cause of death (23% of deaths). Cancer caused the most deaths among Indigenous females (24% of deaths) (Figure LM 6).


Accounting for year-to-year variability, long-term trends in selected causes of death spanning 2008 to 2019 showed that rates of death among Indigenous Australians decreased for:

  • kidney diseases (40% lower)
  • diabetes (28% lower)
  • circulatory diseases (20% lower).

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

  • cancer (9% higher)
  • respiratory diseases (35% higher) (Figure LM 7).