Technical notes

ABS Australian Bureau of Statistics
AIHW Australian Institute of Health and Welfare
ERP estimated resident population
IRSD Index of Relative Socio-Economic Disadvantage
MCoD multiple causes of death
NMD National Mortality Database
SEIFA Socio-Economic Indexes for Areas
SES socioeconomic status
UCoD underlying cause of death
WHO World Health Organization
p probability


age-standardisation: A method of removing the influence of age when comparing populations with different age structures. This is usually necessary because the rates of many diseases vary strongly (usually increasing) with age. The age structures of the different populations are converted to the same ‘standard’ structure, and then the disease rates that would have occurred with that structure are calculated and compared.

cause of death: Using information reported on the medical certificate for cause of death, each death is classified by the underlying cause of death according to rules and conventions of the 10th revision of the International Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems (WHO 2016). The underlying cause is defined as the disease that initiated the train of events leading directly to death. Deaths from injury or poisoning are classified according to the circumstances of the fatal injury, rather than to the nature of the injury. See also underlying cause of death.

external cause: The term used in disease classification to refer to an event or circumstance in a person’s external environment that is regarded as a cause of injury or poisoning.

Index of Relative Socio-economic Disadvantage: One of the set of Socio-Economic Indexes for Areas for ranking the average socioeconomic conditions of the population in an area. It summarises attributes of the population such as low income, low educational attainment, high unemployment and jobs in relatively unskilled occupations.

International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems: The World Health Organization’s internationally accepted classification of death and disease. The 10th revision (ICD-10) is currently in use.

multiple causes of death: All causes listed on the death certificate. This includes the underlying cause of death and all associated causes of death.

population estimates: Official population numbers compiled by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) at both state/territory and statistical local area levels, by age and by sex, at 30 June each year. These estimates allow comparisons to be made between geographical areas of differing population sizes and age structures.

socio-economic status: An indication of how ‘well off’ a person or group is. In this report, socioeconomic status is mostly reported using the Socio-Economic Indexes for Areas, typically for 5 groups, from the most disadvantaged (worst off) to the least disadvantaged (best off).

Socio-Economic Indexes for Areas: A set of indexes, created from Census data, that aim to represent the socioeconomic status of Australian communities and identify areas of advantage and disadvantage. The index value reflects the overall or average level of disadvantage of the population of an area; it does not show how individuals living in the same area differ from each other in their socioeconomic status. This report uses the Index of Relative Socio-economic Disadvantage.

underlying cause of death: The disease or injury which initiated the train of morbid events leading directly to a person’s death, or the circumstances of the accident or violence which produced the fatal injury.

usual residence: Refers to the area of the address at which the deceased lived or intended to live, for 6 months or more prior to death.