Deaths by suicide by remoteness areas

About 28% of the Australian population live in regional and remote areas—areas outside Australia’s major cities. There are many positive aspects about living in regional and remote areas, including higher levels of life satisfaction compared with those in urban areas (Wilkins 2015), increased community interconnectedness and social cohesion, and higher levels of community participation, volunteering and informal support from their communities (Ziersch et al. 2009). However, Australians living in these areas face unique challenges due to their geographic isolation, and often have poorer health and welfare outcomes than those living in major cities.

For further information on how the statistics reported here were calculated see Technical notes.

Suicide deaths by remoteness area, Australia, 2010 to 2018.

The line graph shows the age-standardised rates of suicide for Very Remote, Remote, Outer Regional and Inner Regional areas and Major Cities from 2010 to 2018. Users can also choose to view age-standardised rates and numbers of deaths by suicide for remoteness areas by sex. Between 2010 and 2018, residents of Very Remote areas had the highest rates of suicide, except for 2015, when the highest rates were in Remote areas, followed by Outer Regional areas and then Very Remote areas. Major Cities recorded the lowest rates of deaths by suicide over the period and had almost half the rate of Very Remote areas in 2018 (10.6 deaths per 100,000 population compared with 20.7).

Are people in regional and remote areas at greater risk of deaths by suicide?

From 2010 to 2018:

  • numbers of deaths by suicide were highest in Major Cities and fell according to the remoteness of usual place of residence, while age-standardised suicide rates tended to increase with the remoteness of usual place of residence
  • suicide rates for residents of Major Cities were the lowest of all 5 remoteness areas each year and remained relatively stable over the period (approximately 10 deaths per 100,000 population)
  • suicide rates for residents of Inner Regional, Outer Regional and Remote areas increased from 12.6, 14.4 and 17.5 deaths per 100,000 population to 14.8, 16.8 and 20.1, respectively
  • suicide rates in Very Remote areas increased from 22.2 deaths per 100,000 population in 2010 to 27.8 in 2016, but have since fallen to 20.7 deaths per 100,000 population in 2018. These fluctuations in rates were largely due to the small population and small numbers of deaths by suicide in these areas.

In 2018:

  • the age-standardised suicide rate for residents of Major Cities (10.6 deaths per 100,000 population) was lower than the national rate of 12.1 deaths per 100,000 population
  • rates for residents of all other remoteness areas were above the national rate
  • the rate for residents of Very Remote areas (20.7 deaths per 100,000 population) was almost double the rate for residents of Major Cities (10.6 deaths per 100,000 population); however, numbers of deaths were small (40 deaths in 2018).

References

Wilkins R 2015. The Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia Survey: selected findings from waves 1 to 12. Melbourne: Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research.

Ziersch A, Baum F, Darmawan I, Kavanagh A & Bentley, R 2009. Social capital and health in rural and urban communities South Australia. Australian and New Zealand journal of public health 33:7–16. Adelaide: Flinders University.