Impact of remoteness on injury

Injury hospitalisations and deaths vary according to the regions in which Australians live. Nearly 3 in 10 Australians (28%, or around 7 million people) live in rural and remote areas. In this report, the term ‘rural and remote’ covers all areas outside Australia’s Major cities and encompasses many diverse locations and communities (AIHW 2019c, 2020).

In 2017, the proportion of Australians by area of remoteness was:

  • 72% in Major cities
  • 18% in Inner regional areas
  • 8.2% in Outer regional areas
  • 1.2% in Remote areas
  • 0.8% in Very remote areas (ABS 2018).

Generally, rates of injury hospitalisations and deaths increase with remoteness of usual residence. The number and rate of injury hospitalisations and deaths also varies by sex, age and the type of external cause according to the remoteness of usual residence (AIHW 2019a, 2019b). Differences in rates of injury hospitalisations and deaths by remoteness could be due to factors such as distance or access to services.

Classification of remoteness area

Australia can be divided into several regions based on their distance from urban centres. In this report, ‘remoteness area’ refers to the place of usual residence of the person who was admitted to hospital or died as a result of an injury, assigned on the basis of the reported Statistical Area Level 2 (SA2) of residence. The remoteness areas were specified according to the ABS Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS).

  • Major cities (for example, Sydney, Geelong, Gold Coast)
  • Inner regional (for example, Hobart, Ballarat, Coffs Harbour)
  • Outer regional (for example, Darwin, Cairns, Coonabarabran)
  • Remote (for example, Alice Springs, Broome, Strahan)
  • Very remote (for example, Coober Pedy, Longreach, Exmouth)

Analyses presented here are based on the place of usual residence of the person, rather than the place the injury occurred. The injury that led to a person's hospitalisation or death might not have occurred in the area in which the person resided. For example, Major cities residents may have been injured in transport crashes while in Inner regional or Remote areas.