Indicator 5.4 Age-standardised death rate for diabetes by Indigenous status


In 2018, the age-standardised death rate for diabetes (underlying and/or associated cause) was 4.0 times as high among Indigenous Australians as non-Indigenous Australians (210 and 52 deaths per 100,000 population, respectively).


Between 2012 and 2018, the difference in deaths rates remained relatively stable, fluctuating between 3.5 and 4.0 times as high among Indigenous Australians as non-Indigenous Australians (Figure 5.4.1).

Age and sex

The disparity in rates between the Indigenous and non-Indigenous populations was greater among females (5.3 times as high) than males (3.2 times as high). The death rate for diabetes increased with age for both Indigenous Australians and non-Indigenous Australians, and was higher among Indigenous than non-Indigenous Australians in each age group (Figure 5.4.1).

State and territory

The difference between Indigenous and non-Indigenous death rates for diabetes was greatest in Western Australia and the Northern Territory where the rate was 7.9 and 7.5 times as high, respectively. The disparity was lowest in New South Wales where the diabetes-related death rate among Indigenous Australians was 2.4 times as high as non-Indigenous Australians (Figure 5.4.2).

About the data

Diabetes is rarely listed as the underlying cause of death. A more complete picture of mortality is obtained by examining both diabetes as the underlying cause and as an associated cause of death. However, deaths from diabetes are known to be under-reported in national mortality statistics, as diabetes is often omitted from death certificates as a cause of death (Harding et al, 2014).

Explore the data

5.4 Deaths from diabetes (underlying or associated cause) by Indigenous status, age and sex, 2012 to 2018 and by selected population group, 2018

Trends figure 5.4.1 shows deaths from diabetes as an underlying or associated cause remained relatively stable between 2012 and 2018 among both Indigenous and non-Indigenous persons. Rates in 2018 were 4 times higher among Indigenous as non-Indigenous persons (210 and 52 per 100,000, respectively). Rates increased with age amongst both population groups.

Population group figure 5.4.2 shows the death rate from diabetes as an underlying or associated cause in 2018 increased notably with age among both Indigenous and non-Indigenous people and was 4 times higher overall among Indigenous as non-Indigenous Australians. This disparity was more pronounced among Indigenous females where the death rates was 5.3 times that of their non-Indigenous counterparts. Diabetes death rates among Indigenous Australians varied by state and territory from 136 per 100,000 in New South Wales to 443 per 100,000 in the Northern Territory. Among the non-Indigenous population, diabetes death rates varied from 21 per 100,000 in Western Australia to 65 per 100,000 in South Australia.

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Indicator 5.4 data specifications



Data source


Number of Indigenous diabetes related deaths (underlying and/or associated cause, ICD-10; E10-E14, O24).

AIHW National Mortality Database (NMD)


Estimated Australian Indigenous and non-Indigenous resident populations.

AIHW Population Database (sourced from ABS Australian Demographic Statistics and Estimates and Projections, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians)


Harding JL, Shaw JE, Peeters A, Guiver T, Davidson S, Magliano DJ. 2014. Mortality trends among people with type 1 and type 2 diabetes in Australia: 1997–2010. Diabetes Care 37.