• Trends in national mortality rates •  

Graphs showing time trends in mortality rates

Female mortality at age 35-69 years for selected causes of death:

Australia, 1952-2004

Graph showing Australian mortality, 1952-2003

Comment: This is the same graph as the preceding one (no. 309), except that the maximum value on the vertical axis is only about one-seventh as big. Coronary heart disease mortality peaked in 1966, and began to fall rapidly in 1969. Lung cancer rates between 1990 and 2004 were more-or-less constant. COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) has an artefactual jump—indicated by a dotted line—caused by a change in coding practices in the late 1960s. Death rates from COPD peaked in 1989.

Method: Mortality rates calculated using data from the World Health Organization and the United Nations Population Division, then standardised for age (by taking unweighted averages of component rates) and smoothed (as weighted 3-year moving averages). For details, see the Info page.

Caution: Trends can reflect not only changes in disease occurrence or treatment, but also changes in how a cause of death is defined or coded.

WHO mortality rates for particular countries, ages and causes of death