Health status and morbidity

The interactive visualisations on this page allow you to compare data across 37 OECD member countries for the following indicators of health status and ill-health (morbidity):

  • perceived health status by age, sex, level of education and income
  • infant health
  • incidence of communicable diseases
  • incidence of cancer
  • injuries in road traffic accidents
  • absence from work due to illness.

Key findings

In 2019 (or based on the latest year of data):

Perceived health status

  • Among those aged 15 and over, Canadians were most likely to perceive their health as ‘good/very good’ (89%), followed by those living in the United States (88%), New Zealand (86%) and Australia (85%). Those living in Korea (17%) and Lithuania (16%) were most likely to rate their health as ‘bad/very bad’
  • Looking across age groups, those in the 15-24 year age group were most likely to rate their health as ‘good/very good’ in Greece (98%), while among those aged 65 and over, those in New Zealand were most likely to rate their health as ‘good/very good’ (87%)
  • People with a high level of education (tertiary level) were more likely to rate their health as ‘good/very good’ than those with a low level of education. In Australia, this ranged from 75% to 91% between the low, medium and high levels of education.
  • Across all OECD countries, people in the lowest income quintile (the lowest 20%) were less likely to perceive their health as ‘good/very good’ than those in the highest income quintile (the highest 20%). In Australia, this ranged from 84% to 93% between the lowest and highest income quintiles

Cancer

  • Australia had the second highest rate of cancer (all malignant neoplasms (C00-C97)) among OECD countries (323 cases per 100,000 population), while Denmark had the highest rate (338 per 100,000 population).
  • Among males only, Australia’s rate of cancer (all malignant neoplasms) was higher than in any other OECD country, while it was 7th highest for females.
  • Relatively high cancer incidence rates for Australia may be due in part to Australia’s high-quality and virtually complete cancer incidence data. Across OECD countries, the quality and completeness of cancer registry data may vary, in turn affecting the cancer incidence rates provided to the OECD and presented here

Infant health

  • Among OECD countries, Colombia had the highest proportion of low birthweight babies, at 10% of total live births. The proportion of low birthweight babies in Australia was 6.7%, slightly higher than the OECD average, 6.6% of total live births

Communicable diseases

  • The rate of pertussis (whooping cough) in Australia was second highest among OECD countries, at 48 cases per 100,000 people. The highest rate was in Switzerland, at 145 cases per 100,000 people.
  • International comparisons of COVID-19 cases are not in scope for this publication. For more information see the article ‘Four months in: what we know about the new coronavirus disease in Australia’ in Australia’s health 2020: data insights

Injuries in road traffic accidents

  • The rate of injuries in road traffic accidents was highest in New Zealand, at over 8,700 injuries per 1 million population. Australia was below the OECD average, at around 1,600 injuries per 1 million population

Absence from work due to illness

  • Based on self-reported data, Australia was below the OECD average for the number of days absent from work, per person, per year, due to illness (7.3 days), while the highest rate was in Lithuania, at 24 days absent from work per person, per year due to illness.

 

The figure compares perceived health status for OECD countries for 2019 or nearest year. Canada had the highest proportion of people who rated their health as ‘Very good/good’ (88.6%), Australia had the 4th highest proportion (85.2%) and Korea had the lowest proportion (32.0%). The OECD average was 67.8%.

This figure compares morbidity for OECD countries such as cancer incidence, infant health and communicable diseases for 2019 or nearest year. Australia had the second highest incidence of malignant neoplasms (323.0 per 100,000 population) behind Denmark (338.1 per 100,000 population). The OECD average was 266.4 per 100,000 population and the lowest rate incidence rate was in Mexico (131.5 incidence per 100,000 population).