Provisional Mortality Statistics, September 2022

Centre for Population analysis of two Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) publications, Provisional Mortality Statistics, January – September 2022 and COVID-19 Mortality in Australia.

Reference period: -

In the period from 1 January to 30 September 2022, there were 144,700 deaths in Australia. This was 12.5 per cent higher than in the same period in 2021, and 16.0 per cent above the historical average.1

  • The number of monthly deaths in Australia peaked in July at 18,200 deaths. Since July, deaths have slowly begun to decline, with 15,500 deaths recorded in September 2022.

The age‑standardised death rate for September was 43.9 deaths per 100,000 people. This is the first month since the start of 2022 that the rate was below the historical average, suggesting that the increase in deaths in September was driven by changes in the size or age structure of the population.

COVID‑19 was the underlying cause of 8,200 doctor‑certified deaths during this period and remained significantly above levels seen during the same period of 2020 (800) and 2021 (400).  

  • While the number of monthly deaths due to COVID‑19 peaked again in July at 1,300 deaths, this was still below the peak in January of 1,600 deaths. Since then, deaths have begun to decline again in September, falling to the lowest levels since March.

Deaths from COVID‑19 that occurred up to 30 November 2022 were concentrated amongst those aged 80-89 years, while the median age of those who died from COVID‑19 remained high at 85.4 years.

  • Almost three‑quarters of all deaths due to COVID‑19 occurred in Victoria and New South Wales.
  • Deaths due to COVID‑19 were more prevalent in areas with greater socio‑economic disadvantage.

Deaths due to dementia and diabetes remained elevated over the year to September 2022, 16.3 per cent and 19.2 per cent higher than the historical average.

  • Dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease, and diabetes are among the most commonly reported pre‑existing chronic conditions that increase the risk of developing severe illness and dying from COVID‑19 in Australia.

1 The historical average for 2022, which is the default used throughout this note, is calculated as the average number of deaths over the 2017-19 period and 2021. 2020 is not included as during that year there were periods when deaths were significantly lower than expected. If another historical average is used it will be noted in the text.

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