This web report measures and describes the impact of premature mortality in Australia—that is, deaths among people younger than 75.

In Australia, as in most developed countries, the vast majority of deaths occur at older ages. In general, cancers and chronic diseases such as coronary heart disease are the leading causes of death at older ages, while among younger ages injury and poisoning deaths (external causes of death) such as suicide and accidents are more common. Summary mortality statistics are usually influenced by diseases among the elderly and are less reflective of the patterns of deaths in younger age groups.

These web pages are accompanied by 15 fact sheets and 15 GRIM books on leading causes of premature mortality, including coronary heart disease, lung cancer and suicide. Supplementary data tables and PowerPoint slides are also available.

In 2012, there were 49,692 premature deaths in Australia

Over 1 in 3

deaths (34%) occurred among people younger than 75


accounted for 62% of premature deaths.

1 in 2

premature deaths were considered potentially avoidable.


the decrease in the rate of premature deaths between 1997 and 2012.

4 in 5

Indigenous deaths (2008–2012) occurred among people under 75.


Australia’s rank out of 34 OECD countries for lowest premature mortality due to all causes.

Leading causes of premature mortality in 2010–2012 varied by age group


of infant deaths (aged less than 1) were due to conditions originating in the perinatal period and congenital conditions.

Land transport

accidents were the leading cause of death among children aged 1–14.

More than 3 in 4

deaths among young people aged 15–24 were considered potentially avoidable.

1 in 5

deaths among adults aged 25–44 were due to suicide. 

Breast cancer

was the leading cause of death among 45–64 year old women and coronary heart disease among 45–64 year old men.


of all premature deaths were among people aged 65–74. 

Information in this section was last updated in October 2015.