• Trends in national mortality rates •  

Graphs showing time trends in mortality rates

Male all-cause mortality at age 15-34 years:

Australia and selected other countries, 1930-2004

Graph showing Australian, UK, US and Japan mortality, 1930-2003

Comment: The stratospheric increase in the mortality rate for young English/Welsh men was caused by the Second World War. (The graph does not display the peak England/Wales rate, in 1945, because if the vertical axis had a maximum value big enough to do so, a lot of other informative detail would be lost.) For England/Wales, the mortality rates include civilian and military deaths, whether they occurred in the UK or abroad. The mortality rate among young Japanese men must also have been extremely high during the first half of the 1940s, but Japan's smoothed mortality data begin only in 1949. By contrast with England/Wales, Australian deaths that occurred abroad are not included in Australia's rates. Curiously, the death rate among young men who remained in Australia during the Second World War dipped substantially, to a level that would not be seen again among young Australian men for another four decades.

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