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Life expectancy and mortality

Data and notes

Key concepts

  • Age-standardised death rates are weighted averages of age-specific death rates. The weights are the proportions of persons in the corresponding age groups of a standard population (in this case, the total Australian population on 30 June 2001). Age standardisation makes the importance of the death rate of each age group to the overall average death rate the same as in the standard population. Without standardisation, the importance of each age group will depend on the number of people in each age group – that is, the age structure of the population. For example, whereas the average death rate in a population with mostly old people will depend mostly on the death rates in the older age groups, the average death rate of a population with mostly young people will depend mostly on the death rates in the younger age groups. These populations would be likely to have very different average death rates simply because death rates tend to be higher in the older age groups. Age standardisation makes the death rates of populations with different age structures comparable.
    • Note that some of the death rates presented in this topic were published by the ABS (Figures LM 4 and LM 5). These are not directly comparable with AIHW analyses, due to differences in scope and methodology.
  • Potentially avoidable deaths are deaths from conditions that are considered avoidable, given timely and effective health care (including disease prevention and population health initiatives) (AIHW 2018; Page et al. 2006).

Related material

Data sources

National Mortality Database

The AIHW National Mortality Database (NMD) holds records for deaths in Australia from 1964. The database comprises information about causes of death and other characteristics of the person, such as sex, age at death, area of usual residence and Indigenous status.

The data quality statements underpinning the AIHW National Mortality Database can be found in the following ABS publications:

Data tables

Life expectancy and mortality - Data tables (Dec 2022)
XLSX, 111 KB