Notes on the data: Aboriginal median age at death

Aboriginal median age at death - males/ females/ persons, 2011 to 2015

Policy context: Median age of death is an indicator of premature mortality. It is the age at which exactly half the deaths registered in a given time period were deaths of people above that age and half were deaths below that age.

The median age at death in 2014 for Indigenous males ranged from 49.9 years for those living in Western Australia to 57.4 years for those living in New South Wales [1]. These levels were around 20 years less than those for non-Indigenous males, which ranged from 68.3 years (Northern Territory) to 80.3 years (South Australia).

Similarly, the median age at death for Indigenous females in 2014 ranged from 57.5 years for those living in Northern Territory to 64.1 years for those living in New South Wales [1]. These levels were also around 20 years less than those for non-Indigenous females, which ranged between 71.3 years (Northern Territory) and 85.8 years (South Australia).


  1. Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS). Deaths, Australia. (ABS cat. no. 3302.0.) ABS: Canberra; 2014 [released 2015 Nov 12; cited: 2017 Feb 22]. Available from:


Deaths data

For deaths data released since 2007, the ABS has applied a staged approach to the coding of cause of death which affects the number of records available for release at any date. This release is comprised of preliminary data for 2015, revised data for 2014 and final data for 2011, 2012 and 2013. For further information about the ABS revisions process, see the following and related sites:

Data quality

Almost all deaths in Australia are registered. However, Indigenous status is not always recorded, or recorded correctly. The incompleteness of Indigenous identification (referred to as completeness of coverage) means that the number of deaths registered as Indigenous is an underestimate of the actual number of deaths which occur in the Indigenous population. It should also be noted that completeness of coverage is likely to vary between geographical areas.

While there is incomplete coverage of Indigenous deaths in all state and territory registration systems, some jurisdictions have been assessed by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) as having a sufficient level of coverage to enable statistics on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mortality to be produced. Those jurisdictions are New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Western Australia and the Northern Territory.

Geography: Data available by Indigenous Area, Indigenous Quintiles and Indigenous Remoteness Areas


Numerator: Median age at death - males/ females/ persons

Denominator: ..

Detail of analysis: Median age at death (years)

Source: Data compiled by PHIDU from deaths data based on the 2011 to 2015 Cause of Death Unit Record Files supplied by the Australian Coordinating Registry and the Victorian Department of Justice, on behalf of the Registries of Births, Deaths and Marriages and the National Coronial Information System.

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