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Injuries are a major cause of morbidity, permanent disability, and mortality affecting the quality of life of individuals and families across Australia (AIHW 2008).

Injuries are the leading cause of death for people aged 1–44.

Injuries accounted for:

  • 1.9 million ED presentations (7,000 per 100,000 population) in 2022–23
  • 549,000 hospitalisations (2,100 per 100,000 population) in 2022–23
  • 14,700 deaths in 2021–22 (57 per 100,000 population) in 2021–22
  • 8.0% of the total burden of disease in 2023 (AIHW 2023a)
  • 7.3% of health spending in 2020–21 (AIHW 2023b).

Main causes of injury

In 2022–23, the leading causes of injury hospitalisations were:

  1. falls (238,000 hospitalisations or 760 per 100,000 people)
  2. contact with objects (78,700 hospitalisations or 300 per 100,000 people)
  3. transport (61,200 hospitalisations or 235 per 100,000 people).

In 2021–22, the leading causes of injury deaths were:

  1. falls (6,400 deaths or 17 per 100,000 people)
  2. suicide (3,100 deaths or 12 per 100,000 people
  3. accidental poisoning (1,500 deaths or 5.8 per 100,000 people).

For more information, see The main causes of injury.

From 2017–18 to 2022–23, the age-standardised rate of injury hospitalisations fell marginally by an annual average of 0.7%. There was a noticeable fluctuation in hospitalisation cases seen between 2019–20 and 2021–22, possibly related to disruptions caused by COVID-19.

The number of injury deaths have generally been increasing over time (from 13,200 in 2017–18 to 14,700 in 2021–22), but the age-standardised death rate from injuries has remained relatively stable (ranging from 47.0 to 48.7 per 100,000 persons over the same period). 

For more information, see The main causes of injury.

Injuries by age and sex

Males are more likely to present to the emergency department (ED), be hospitalised and die from injuries than females. Causes of injury differ by age – for example, the youngest and oldest people are most likely to have an injury from a fall. 

ED presentations

In 2022–23:

  • males presented to ED with injuries more than females (8,000 per 100,000 people compared with 6,100 per 100,000, respectively)
  • young children aged 0–4 had the highest rates of ED presentations of any age group (10,800 per 100,000 0–4-year-olds).


In 2022–23:

  • males accounted for 55% of all injury hospitalisations
  • falls were most common among those aged 75+ (46% of reported falls)
  • most assault-related injury hospitalisations occurred among 15–49-year-olds (78%).
  • males were more likely to be injured and hospitalised across all causes except for falls (about 770 females and 730 males per 100,000) and intentional self-harm (about 130 females and 65 males per 100,000).


In 2021–22:

  • around 3 in 5 (61%) injury deaths were for males 
  • males were more likely to die from any cause of injury than females
  • falls was the leading cause of death for both sexes.

Trends over time

Over the past decade:

  • rates of injury hospitalisation have remained steady or decreased slowly for most younger age groups but increased for adults aged 45+
  • injury death rates have remained steady or decreased for most younger age groups but increased for adults aged 45+.

For more information, see Differences by sex and age group and Injury causes and age.

Injuries can happen to anyone, but some population groups are more at risk than others. For example, see First Nations people and Region and socioeconomic status.

Injury types

In 2022–23, fractures (about 412,000 presentations) and open wounds (about 320,000 presentations) were the most frequent ED presentations where injury type was recorded.

For hospitalisations in 2022–23, the top 3 types of injuries were fractures (about 820 per 100,000 persons or 215,000 cases), open wounds (around 345 per 100,000) and soft tissue injuries (around 202 per 100,000).

For more information, see Nature of injuries.

Place of occurrence

In 2022–23, the home was the most commonly recorded place of injury (about 162,000 cases) followed by streets or highways (51,900 cases), sports areas (29,700 cases) and aged care facilities (about 27,500 cases).

For more information, see Place of occurrence.


The severity or seriousness of an injury can be measured in several ways. Some of these are:

  • emergency department presentation metrics such as triage category
  • average length of hospital stay (ALOS) measured in days
  • time in an intensive care unit (ICU) or receipt of continuous ventilatory support (CVS)
  • in-hospital deaths.

For more information, see Severity.