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New information released today by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) presents the latest data on causes of death in Australia, and looks at differences among population groups.

'Today's release shows that chronic disease continues to be the major cause of death among people aged over 45, with suicide the leading cause among people aged 15-44,' said AIHW spokesperson Louise York.

Coronary heart disease was the most common underlying cause of death in Australia for people aged over 45, followed by cerebrovascular disease, cancers, dementia and Alzheimer disease and respiratory conditions.

'People who die of chronic disease often have more than one cause of death recorded on their death certificate,' Ms York said.

'For example, coronary heart disease was listed as an associated cause of death for 50% of diabetes deaths and 25% of deaths due to kidney failure.'

Land transport accidents were the leading cause of death among children aged 1-14, while perinatal and congenital conditions were the leading cause among infants.

Overall, there were 147,678 deaths in Australia in 2013, two-thirds of which were in people aged over 75 years. More women died when they were aged over 75 years than men (73% and 58%, respectively).

'Life expectancy in Australia continues to be among the highest in the world, with more women outliving men,' Ms York said.

Among OECD countries in 2012, Australian men improved their ranking from 6th to 3rd, whilst Australian women remained steady at 7th.

Current life expectancy figures show that an Australian girl born in 2011-13 can expect to live to 84.3 years and an Australian boy can expect to live to the age of 80.1 years.

'Life expectancy is still lower for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, with Indigenous males living, on average, 10.6 years less than their non-Indigenous counterparts. For Indigenous females, this figure is 9.5 years,' Ms York said.

The information published today also includes the latest AIHW General Record of Mortality (GRIM) Books, which are interactive workbooks-presenting summary statistics on death and trend information on deaths and causes of death in Australia.

The AIHW is a major national agency set up by the Australian Government to provide reliable, regular and relevant information and statistics on Australia's health and welfare.

Deaths web snapshot

Canberra, 13 March 2015

Further information: Ms Louise York, AIHW, tel. 02 6244 1271 mob. 0407 915 851