• Trends in national mortality rates •  

Graphs showing time trends in mortality rates

Male mortality at age 35-69 years, overall and for

selected causes of death: Australia, 1952-2004

Graph showing Australian mortality, 1952-2003

Comment: Not only does the decline in vascular mortality since the early 1970s account for most of the decline in all-cause mortality, but a great deal of the overall decline is accounted for a single disease: coronary heart disease. Mortality from this disease peaked in 1967, but began to fall precipitously in 1971. Declines in stroke, lung cancer, and COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) have also made notable contributions to the overall decline. (The impressive trend for lung cancer is somewhat obscured in this graph: see the next graph, no. 310, for a clearer depiction.) All of the specific causes of death on this graph are strongly smoking-related, except for motor vehicle crashes, which is added for interest. (CHD and stroke, however, also have other major causes besides smoking.)

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