All causes of injury

injury to lower leg

Injury is a major health care issue in Australia. In the latest years for which data are available, injury was the cause of:

  • over 532,500 hospitalisation cases
  • over 13,000 deaths—injury is the leading cause of death for people aged 1-44
  • 8.5% of burden of disease in Australia
  • 7.6% ($8.9 billion) of health expenditure in Australia.­

Most injuries, whether unintentional or intentional, are preventable. Injury is one of the major causes of hospitalisation and death in Australia. 

In 2017–18, there were:

532,562 injury hospitalisation cases

2,148 per 100,000 population


13,028 injury deaths

53 per 100,000 population


Defining injury hospitalisation cases and injury deaths

This report aims to count and describe injuries that result in hospital admission or death. This is different to some other AIHW injury reporting, that focuses more on service use (e.g. MyHospitals). If a person dies from an injury after being admitted to hospital, both the hospitalisation and the death is included in this report.

What is an injury hospitalisation case?

The terms ‘injury hospitalisation cases’, ‘hospitalisations’ and ‘hospitalised injuries’ are used in this report to mean instances where a person is admitted to hospital with injury as the main reason. For a full list of injuries included in the scope of this report, see Technical notes.

What is not included?

To avoid double-counting hospitalisation cases, admissions that are transfers from another hospital, transfers from 1 care type to another within the same hospital, or admissions that include rehabilitation procedures are not included in this report.

Emergency department (ED) care is a form of non-admitted hospital care. See the AIHW MyHospitals topic for information on ED presentations due to injury.

Injuries caused by complications of surgery or other medical care, or injuries that are a subsequent condition caused by a previous injury, are not included in this report.

For more information on analysis methods, see Technical notes.