Statistics

Leading causes of death in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people

There were 3,218 deaths of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in 2018 (1,780 males and 1,438 females). The median age at death was 60.7 years of age, increasing from 56.1 years of age recorded in 2009.

The standardised death rate in 2018 was 927.1 deaths per 100,000 persons. This compares to a death rate of 933.2 deaths per 100,000 ten years ago in 2009. Rates have fluctuated for both males and females over the past decade, but there has been little change overall. The mortality rate for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people for 2009 to 2018 are presented in the graph below.

Intentional self-harm in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people

There were 169 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who died from suicide in 2018, equating to a standardised death rate of 24.1 suicide deaths per 100,000 persons. In 2017, there were 165 suicide deaths at a rate of 24.2. Suicide is the fifth leading cause of death for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

There were 129 male and 40 female suicide deaths in 2018 with standardised death rates of 38.1 and 10.3 respectively. As such the sex ratio (76.3% male, 23.7% female) is very similar to that recorded for all suicide deaths. The median age for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander suicide deaths was 31.8 years of age for males and 26.0 years of age for females.

Australian Bureau of Statistics statistics released – 25 September 2019

2018 – Leading causes of death in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples

2018 – Intentional self-harm in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples

Suicide deaths of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people

2018

For the purposes of the following analysis, children are defined as those between 5 and 17 years of age. In 2018, suicide remaining the leading cause of death for both Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and non-Indigenous children, accounting for more than a quarter (26.5%) of all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander child deaths. Children aged 15 to 17 accounted for 69.2% of all child suicides, while females accounted for more than half (61.5%) of child suicide deaths.

Over the five years from 2014 to 2018, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children accounted for close to a quarter of all child suicide deaths (85 of 357 deaths, 23.8%). The age-specific death rate for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander child suicide was 8.3 deaths per 100,000 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, compared to 2.1 per 100,000 for non-Indigenous children.

2017

For the purposes of the following analysis, children and young people are defined as those aged between 5 and 17 years of age. In 2017, suicide remained the leading cause of death for both Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and non-Indigenous children and young people, accounting for 40% of all Indigenous child deaths. Those aged 15-17 contributed to 94.4% of all suicide deaths in young Indigenous people. When considering gender differences, 91.6% of Indigenous male youth suicides were aged 15-17. There were no female Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander suicide deaths under the age of 15 in 2017.

Over the 5 years from 2013 to 2017, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people accounted for more than a quarter of all suicide deaths in this age group (93 of 358 deaths, 26.0%). The age-specific death rate for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people was 10.1 deaths per 100,000 persons, compared to 2.0 per 100,000 for non-Indigenous persons.

Australian Bureau of Statistics statistics released – 25 September 2018

2017 – Leading causes of death in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples

2017 – Intentional self-harm in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples

Maps and visual insights