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Australia is one of the healthiest countries in the world. However, despite relatively high standards of health and health care in Australia, not all Australians fare equally well in terms of their health and longevity.

  • Males have a mortality rate that is 1.5 times as high as the rate for females. There would have been 71,400 fewer male deaths over the 2009-2011 period if males had the same mortality rate as females.
  • People living in Remote and Very remote areas had mortality rates 1.4 times as high as those for people living in Major cities, and higher rates of death due to diabetes and land transport accidents.
  • People living in the lowest socioeconomic status (SES) areas had a mortality rate that was 1.3 times as high as the rate among people living in the highest SES areas, and higher rates of death due to diabetes and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
  • Overseas-born Australian residents on average had lower mortality rates than Australian-born residents. Asian-born Australian residents had a mortality rate that was 36% lower than the rate for Australian-born residents.
  • The overall mortality rate among Indigenous Australians was nearly twice that of non-Indigenous Australians, and five times as high among Indigenous people aged 35-44.
  • Australians that fared the worst in terms of mortality rates tended to do so for causes of death that in many cases can be considered either preventable or treatable-these are often referred to as potentially avoidable deaths.

Many of the patterns in mortality inequalities for 2009-2011 were similar to results from 10 years earlier. While we did not examine in depth the extent to which differences between population groups have changed over time, it is clear that mortality inequalities are long-standing.

It is also clear that the greatest inequalities exist for what are considered to be avoidable causes of death.

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