Notes on the data: Aboriginal premature mortality by selected cause

Deaths from diabetes, Aboriginal people aged 0 to 74 years, 2016 to 2020


Policy context:  Diabetes is a serious complex condition which can affect the entire body. Diabetes requires daily self-care and, if complications develop, can have a significant impact on quality of life and can reduce life expectancy. The three main types of diabetes are type 1, type 2 and gestational diabetes: type 2 diabetes is one of the major consequences of the obesity epidemic. The combination of massive changes to diet and the food supply, combined with massive changes to physical activity, with more sedentary work and less activity, means most populations are seeing more type 2 diabetes.[1]

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and others who are socioeconomically disadvantaged are at higher risk of developing diabetes mellitus and have much greater hospitalisation and death rates from diabetes than other Australians [2].

The data show that, for 2016 to 2020, more than three quarters (76.5%) of deaths from diabetes among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people were premature (over two and a half (2.56) times the proportion for non-Indigenous Australians) – details here.


  1. Diabetes Australia, 2018, What is diabetes?, Available from:; Accessed 4 March 2019.
  2. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW). Multiple causes of death. (AIHW Cat. no. AUS 159). Canberra: AIHW; 2012.

Notes:  International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems 10th Revision (ICD-10) codes: E10-E14

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. In general, 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:

However, data published here are from the following releases: 2016 and 2017, final; 2018, revised; and 2019 and 2020, preliminary.

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, Primary Health Network, Quintile of socioeconomic outcomes (based on IRSEO) and Remoteness Area


Numerator:  Aboriginal deaths from diabetes at ages 0 to 74 years


Denominator:  Aboriginal population aged 0 to 74 years


Detail of analysis:  Average annual indirectly age-standardised rate per 100,000 Aboriginal 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 2016 to 2020 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), developed by PHIDU, 2016 to 2020 average: click herefor more details.


© PHIDU, Torrens University Australia This content is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Australia licence.<