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

Deaths from circulatory system diseases, persons aged 0 to 74 years, 2017 to 2021


Policy context:  Circulatory system diseases encompass abnormalities of the heart and blood vessel system. They include cardiovascular diseases, such as heart disease and stroke, and hypertensive diseases [1]. Circulatory system diseases can be genetic or acquired. The leading conditions contributing to circulatory system disease burden and mortality are hypertension (high blood pressure), stroke, and ischaemic heart disease (coronary heart disease). These diseases are mainly caused by a damaged blood supply to the heart, brain and/or limbs, and share a number of risk factors. Behavioural risk factors, such as poor diet, physical inactivity and tobacco smoking, contribute significantly to the likelihood of developing a circulatory system disease [2]. Modifiable biomedical factors include hypertension, high blood cholesterol, overweight and obesity, and depression. Certain related health conditions, particularly diabetes and chronic kidney disease, can also increase the risk of developing these diseases [3]. Non-modifiable risk factors that can influence risk include, age, sex, family history, and ethnicity [3]. Circulatory system diseases are also largely age-related. In 2022, 5.2% (1.3 million) people had heart, stroke and vascular disease [1].

Circulatory system diseases (mainly from ischaemic heart disease and cerebrovascular diseases, the first and fourth leading causes of death at all ages, respectively) remain Australia’s biggest killer, mostly because of the deaths caused among older people [2]. Forty per cent more males die from CVD compared to females, while people in the lower socioeconomic groups, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and those living in regional and remote areas, generally have higher rates of death resulting from CVD than other Australians [3].

For 2017 to 2021, over one fifth (23.2%) of deaths from circulatory system diseases were premature, 27.9% for ischaemic heart disease and 18.5% for cerebrovascular disease, although with over twice the proportion for males (32.1%) than females (14.2%) – these and other details are available here.


  1. Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) National Health survey, Canberra: ABS; 2022 accessed 15 December 2023
  2. Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) accessed 21 March 2022
  3. Heart Foundation. Key statistics: Cardiovascular Disease. Available from

Notes:  International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems 10th Revision (ICD-10) codes: I00-I99

For detailed data files released since 2007, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (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 are designated preliminary, the second latest as revised and the data for the remaining years as final. For further information about the ABS revisions process see the following and related sites:

Data published here are from the following releases: 2017, final; 2018, revised; 2019, 2020, and 2021, preliminary.


Geography: Data available by Population Health Area, Local Government Area, Primary Health Network, Quintile of socioeconomic disadvantage of area and Quintiles within PHNs, and Remoteness Area


Numerator:  Deaths from circulatory system diseases at ages 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 2017 to 2021 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 average of the ABS Estimated Resident Population (ERP) for Australia, 30 June 2017 to 30 June 2021.


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