Leading Causes of Death: Males vs Females

Published: 22 July 2021

In 2019 there were 88,346 male deaths and 80,955 female deaths in Australia.

What is the leading cause of death among men and women in Australia?

Coronary heart disease is the leading cause of death among males in Australia, while dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease, is the leading cause of death among females.

In 2019:

  • Coronary heart disease was the top-ranked cause of death among males accounting for 10,822 deaths (12.2% of all male deaths) compared to 7,422 among females (9.2% of all female deaths).
  • Males accounted for 59.3% of all coronary heart disease deaths at a rate of 76.0 per 100,000 compared to a female death rate of 37.7 per 100,000. 
  • The top-ranked cause of death among females was dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease accounting for 9,592 deaths (11.8% of all female deaths) compared to 5,424 deaths among males (6.1% of all male deaths). 
  • Females accounted for 63.9% of all dementia deaths at a rate of 46.1 per 100,000 compared to a death rate of 38.1 per 100,000 among males.
Leading causes of death in Australia - male vs female

Other leading causes of death

Prostate cancer and breast cancer

  • Prostate cancer accounted for 3,611 deaths (4.1% of all male deaths), while breast cancer accounted for 3,230 deaths (4% of all female deaths). Both ranked as the 6th leading cause of death among males and females respectively.
  • The death rate for prostate cancer is slightly higher among males than breast cancer is for females at 25.2 per 100,000 and 20.0 per 100,00 respectively.
  • The median age at death for breast cancer is significantly lower (72.3 years) than prostate cancer (82.4 years).
Leading causes of death for women in Australia

Women accounted for 41.9% more cerebrovascular disease deaths (such as due to stroke) than men.  

Suicides

  • Suicide was the 10th leading cause of death among males.
  • Male suicides accounted for 75% (2,502) of all suicide deaths at a rate of 19.8 males per 100,000. Female suicides accounted for 25 % (816) of all suicide deaths, with a significantly lower death rate of 6.3 females per 100,000. 
  • The median age at death due to suicide was 43.9 years for a male and 44.0 years for females.
Leading causes of death for men in Australia

Related resources

Sources

  • ABS: Causes of Death, Australia (release: 2020)

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