Notes on the data: Aboriginal potential years of life lost, by age and sex
Potential years of life lost from deaths of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander males/ females/ persons aged 0 to 54, 0 to 64 and 0 to 74 years, by sex, 2013 to 2017
Policy context: As noted for premature mortality, above, over the years 2013 to 2017, four in five (80.0%) deaths of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people occurred before 75 years of age, almost two and a half (2.42) times the proportion for non-Indigenous females, of 33.0%: details here.
However, depending on the age at which a person dies, the number of years of life lost had they lived until, say, 74 years of age will vary. Potential years of life lost (PYLL) is a measure of the sum of the potential years of life lost from deaths at 15 years (60 years), 45 years (30 years) and so on, assuming they had all lived to 74 years of age.
The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare note that, on this measure, a particular PYLL value will be higher if mortality among children or young people is high; chronic diseases causing death among the elderly, on the other hand, have little effect on these values .
There were 58,810 PYLLs by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people on average over the five years 2013 to 2017 in the five jurisdictions (combined) for which data are available – New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Western Australia and the Northern Territory. Of the PYLLS in these jurisdictions, 59.5 per cent of which were for males and 40.5 per cent were for females .
Some notable variations shown by the data among those aged 0 to 74 years for the five years 2013 to 2017  are:
- the range between the States and territories was from 57.1 PYLLs per 1,000 population in New South Wales, to 118.6 PYLLs per 1,000 population in Western Australia and 148.9 PYLLs per 1,000 population in the Northern Territory;
- similarly, the capital cities in these jurisdictions had the highest and lowest rates;
- in all but the Northern Territory, rates for females were around 30 to 40 per cent below those for males – in the Northern Territory overall, the rate for females was only 12 per cent below the male rate and, in Darwin, the female rate was 4 per cent below the male rate. Another way to see this greater burden borne by females is that the female rate in the Northern Territory is 303 per cent higher than (or 2.03 times) the national rate for females (in comparison, the male rate is 58% higher than the national rate for males);
- the rate of PYLLs for those living in the most disadvantaged areas was over two and a half (2.78) times that in the least disadvantaged areas across Australia – in South Australia this inequality gap was 4.48 and in the Northern Territory, with the smallest gap, it was 1.60 times (but with a higher rate in all but the most disadvantaged areas); and
- for those living in the Very Remote areas in the combined jurisdictions, PYLL rates were 2.41 times those in the Major Cities areas – the variation in rates between the Major Cities and Very Remote areas of New South Wales was the largest, at 2.8 times, and that in Queensland, the smallest, at 1.62 times.
- Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW), Deaths in Australia. Available from https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/web/152/deaths/deaths-in-australia/contents/age-at-death; last accessed 3 February 2020.
- PHIDU, based on 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; 2013 to 2017.
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. In each release, the latest year’s data is preliminary, the second latest is revised and the data for the remaining years is final. For further information about the ABS revisions process see the following and related sites: http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/Lookup/3303.0Explanatory+Notes12012.
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, Primary Health Networks, Indigenous Quintiles and Indigenous Remoteness Areas
Numerator: The sum of the number of years between the actual age at death and 75 years of age for all deaths of each of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander males, females, persons aged 0 to 54, 0 to 64 and 0 to 74 years over the years 2013 to 2017
Denominator: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander males, females, persons aged 0 to 54, 0 to 64 and 0 to 74 years
Detail of analysis: Average annual indirectly age-standardised rate of potential years of life lost per 1,000 population (aged 0 to 54, 0 to 64 and 0 to 74 years); and/or indirectly age-standardised ratio, based on the Australian standard
Source: Data compiled by PHIDU from deaths data based on the 2013 to 2017 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. The population is the proportional estimated resident population (erp) from the Australian Census 2016 click herefor more details.