Published: 22 July 2021
The way Australians are living and dying has changed considerably over recent decades.
Awareness of these changing patterns allows for a better understanding of the population’s health and for improved consideration of individual health and lifestyle choices.
How many Australians die each year?
- In 2019 there were 169,301 registered deaths in Australia, an increase of 6.8% (10,808) from 2018.
- 52.2% of deaths were male (88,346) and 47.8% were female (80,955).
What are the leading causes of death in Australia?
- The leading cause of death was coronary heart disease accounting for 10.8% of all deaths (18,244). Dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease, was the 2nd leading cause of death accounting for 8.9% of all deaths (15,016).
- Cerebrovascular diseases, such as stroke, were the 3rd leading cause of all deaths accounting for 5.8% (9,891 deaths).
- Cancer of the trachea, bronchus and lung was the 4th leading cause of all deaths accounting for 5.2% (8,821 deaths).
- Chronic lower respiratory diseases including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, bronchitis, emphysema and asthma rounded out the top five leading causes accounting for 4.9% of all deaths (8,372).
- Influenza and pneumonia were the 9th leading cause of all deaths (4,124) in 2019, a 33% increase from 2018.
- Suicide was the 13th leading cause of death, with the lowest median age at death at 43.9.
The five leading causes accounted for over one-third of all deaths (35.6%) among males and females in 2019.
Changes in standardised death rate (SDR)
From 2010 to 2019 the standardised death rate (SDR) for:
- coronary heart disease decreased by 34.6%
- dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease increased by 27.2%
- cerebrovascular diseases, such as stroke decreased by 31.5%
- cancer of the trachea, bronchus and lung decreased by 15.8%
- chronic lower respiratory diseases increased by 5.3%
- suicides increased by 15.2%
Coronary heart disease
Coronary heart disease has been the leading cause of all deaths for over half a century. It reached its peak in 1968 when it was responsible for almost one-third of all deaths, and has been declining since.