Notes on the data: Premature mortality by sex - 0 to 74 years

Total deaths, persons aged 0 to 74 years, 2011 to 2015


Policy context:  Deaths before 75 years of age are classified as ‘premature’. The upper age limit reflects current life expectancy of around 80 years in developed countries [1]. Australians who were born during the period 2004-2006 had a life expectancy of 78.7 years for males and 83.5 years for females, while those who were already 74 years of age could expect to live an average of an additional 11.8 years (males) or 14.2 years (females) [2]. Malignant neoplasms (cancer), diseases of the circulatory system and the combined external causes of accidents, poisonings and violence were the main causes of premature death for Australians in this period. Persons most likely to die prematurely included Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, those earning low incomes, and those who were unemployed [3].

Notes:  As Table 1 shows, 34 percent of all deaths occur prematurely. However this proportion is greater for males than females; 41 percent of all male deaths are premature compared to 27 percent for all female deaths.

Table 1: Summary of premature deaths - males, females and persons

0-74 years 75+ years
Premature - Persons 34% 66%
Premature - Males (percentage of male premature deaths) 41% 59%
Premature - Females (percentage of female premature deaths) 27% 73%


  1. Page A, Tobias M, Glover J, Wright C, Hetzel D, Fisher E. Australian and New Zealand atlas of avoidable mortality. Adelaide: Public Health Information Development Unit (PHIDU), The University of Adelaide; 2006.
  2. Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS). Australian historical population statistics, 2008 [Internet]. (ABS Cat. no. 3105.0.65.001). Canberra: ABS; 2008 Aug 5 [cited 2013 Oct 18]. Available from:
  3. Glover J, Harris K, Tennant S. A social health atlas of Australia [second edition] - volume 1: Australia. Adelaide: PHIDU, The University of Adelaide; 1999.

Notes:  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:


Geography: Data available by Population Health Area, Local Government Area, Primary Health Network, Quintiles and Remoteness Areas

Numerator:  All deaths of people aged 0 to 74 years


Denominator:  Population aged 0 to 74 years


Detail of analysis:  Average annual indirectly age-standardised rate per 100,000 population (aged 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 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. The population is the ABS Estimated Resident Population (ERP) for Australia, 30 June 2011 to 30 June 2015.


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