Notes on the data: Potential years of life lost, by age and sex
Potential years of life lost from deaths of males/ females/ persons by broad year age groups 0 to 14, 15 to 24, 25 to 44, 45 to 64 and 65 to 75 years, 2016 to 2020
Policy context: As noted for premature mortality, above, some 34% of deaths over the years 2016 to 2020 occurred before 75 years of age, although the proportion varies by sex and by cause, as shown 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 . In Australia, there were 892,598 PYLL each year over the five years 2016 to 2020, almost two thirds of which were for males (62.9%) and over one third for females (37.1%) . This number represents a decrease of 90% from 1907, when there were 382 PYLLs per 1,000 population, to 2019, when this figure was 50 PYLLs per 1,000 population .
Some notable variations shown by the data for the five years 2016 to 2020  are:
- the range between the States and territories was from 32.4 PYLLs per 1,000 population in the Australian Capital Territory and 35.0 in Victoria, to 46.3 PYLLs per 1,000 population in Tasmania and 76.8 in the Northern Territory;
- the capital cities in these jurisdictions had the highest rates, with the lowest in Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra;
- in the majority of instances, the rates for females were around 40 per cent below the rates for males – however, in the Northern Territory, the rate for females was a smaller 27 per cent below the male rate, 32% below in Darwin and 25% in the Rest of the Northern Territory (which excludes Darwin). Another way to see this greater burden borne by females in the Northern Territory, and in particular in the Rest of the Northern Territory is that the female rate in the Rest of the Northern Territory is 3.8 times the national rate for females (in comparison, the male rate is 3.0 times the national rate for males);
- Hobart had the second highest rate for females, after Darwin;
- the rate of PYLLs for the people who lived in the most disadvantaged areas was over twice that in the least disadvantaged areas across Australia (2.22 times) – in the Northern Territory this inequality gap was 4.36 and in the Australian Capital Territory, with the smallest gap, it was 1.81; and
- for those living in the Very Remote areas, PYLL rates were over two and a half (2.58) times those in the Major Cities areas – the variation between the Very Remote areas of the Northern Territory and Darwin (an Outer Regional Remoteness Area) was the largest, at 3.06 times (and 3.42 times for females); and the variation in Tasmania was reversed, with the rate in the rest of the state 7% below that in Hobart (Inner Regional).
- 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 (www.phidu.torrens.edu.au), 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; 2016 to 2020.
- Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW), Deaths in Australia. Available from https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/life-expectancy-death/deaths-in-australia/data; last accessed 21 March 2022.
Notes: 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 preliminary, the second latest are revised and the data for the earlier years are final. In this way, the majority of records are released earlier than would be the case than were no data released until files had been returned from Coroners’ offices. 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.
However, data published here are from the following releases: 2016 and 2017, final; 2018, revised; and 2019 and 2020, preliminary.
Geography: Data available by Population Health Area, Local Government Area, Primary Health Network, Quintile of socioeconomic disadvantage of area and Remoteness Area
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 males, females, persons aged 0 to 14, 15 to 24, 25 to 44, 45 to 64, and 65 to 74 years over the years 2016 to 2020
Denominator: Males, females, persons aged 0 to 14, 15 to 24, 25 to 44, 45 to 64, and 65 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 14, 15 to 24, 25 to 44, 45 to 64, and 65 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 ABS Estimated Resident Population (ERP) for Australia, 30 June 2016 to 30 June 2020.