Technical notes

Data gaps and opportunities

Comprehensive, accurate and timely data are needed for effective population health monitoring. Although national health information collections and research continue to develop and improve, data and information gaps remain.

Current gaps and emerging male health issues include:

  • Data on sexual and reproductive health issues including prevalence, health service use and the impacts of:
    • infertility
    • contraception, including vasectomy
  • Data for priority population groups relating to reproductive and sexual health, such as males who:
    • are Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
    • live in rural and remote areas
    • identify as LGBTIQA+
    • live with a disability
    • are from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) communities
    • are in the justice system
    • are carers or receiving care.

Commonwealth investment in male health research

Between 2000 and 2022, the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) has expended $386 million towards research relevant to male health.

For its inception in 2015 to 31 March 2023, the Medical Research Future Fund has invested $31.05 million in 12 grants with a focus on male health research. This includes research grants focussing on suicide prevention, prostate cancer, and male fertility, such as:

  • $6.02 million to The Movember Foundation to carry out research projects with a potential for near-term, transformative impact on the clinical management of prostate cancer.
  • $5.62 million to The University of Melbourne to trial interventions designed to prevent suicide in men and boys.
  • $4.60 million to the University of New South Wales to apply advanced epidemiological and analytical techniques to answer key questions in male reproductive health. 

Data sources and quality

The data presented in this report come from multiple data sources, including surveys and administrative data sources. These sources include:

  • Australian Government Department of Health and Aged Care
  • Australian Institute of Health and Welfare’s (AIHW) Australian Burden of Disease Study 2018: Interactive data on risk factor burden
  • AIHW Australian Burden of Disease Study: Impact and causes of illness and death in Australia 2018.
  • AIHW Australian Burden of Disease Study 2022
  • AIHW National Drug Strategy Household Survey 2019
  • The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) 2020–21 National Health Survey (NHS)
  • ABS 2018–19 Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Survey
  • ABS 2017–18 NHS
  • ABS National Study of Mental Health and Wellbeing
  • ABS 2016 Personal Safety Survey
  • COVID-19 Epidemiology and Surveillance Team
  • National Mental Health Commission
  • National Study of Mental Health and Wellbeing
  • Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)
  • Safe Work Australia
  • Services Australia – Medicare
  • Ten to Men Study
  • University of NSW – The Kirby Institute
  • World Health Organisation

Data considerations

Previous versions of the NHS have primarily been administered by trained ABS interviewers and were conducted face to face. The 2020−21 NHS was conducted during the COVID-19 pandemic. To maintain the safety of survey respondents and ABS Interviewers, the survey was collected via online, self-completed forms.

Non-response is usually reduced through interviewer follow-up of households who have not responded. As this was not possible during lockdown periods, there were lower response rates than previous NHS cycles, which impacted sample representativeness for some sub-populations. Therefore, the 2020–21 NHS was not used to produce estimates at sub-national levels. For this reason, 2017–18 NHS data are used when there are sub-national levels estimates.

As the 2020–21 NHS was considered a break in cycle, therefore direct comparisons to previous NHS surveys cannot be made.

For further information, refer to the ABS National Health Survey: First results methodology.