Death by suicide continues to maintain high ranking for males: ABS 2021 data released
New data released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics this week shows that male suicide continues to rate highly as a leading and preventable cause of death in males.
Suicide ranked No.10 in leading causes of death in males, with 2,358 deaths by suicide registered in 2021, compared to 786 females. This was slightly less than 2020 figures (2,384 and 755 females) but nevertheless an increase on 2012, when 1,929 male deaths by suicide were recorded.
Men continued to account for 75% of all deaths by suicide.
The median age at death for people who died by suicide was 44.8 (45.8 for males and 42.9 for females).
Alcohol-induced death in 2021 for males was the highest it has been in 10 years.
There were 1,559 people who died of an alcohol-induced death during the term with males accounting for twice as many deaths [1,156] as females . While the rates for females remained the same as in 2020, for males the rate was the highest in the ten-year time series at 8.3 deaths per 100,000 people (8.1% increase since 2020).
The top five leading causes of death for both sexes remained the same with Ischaemic Heart Disease [IHD] the leading cause of death in males at 10,371 deaths and dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease, the second highest cause of death in males, 5664 deaths.
Cerebrovascular diseases, lung cancer and chronic lower respiratory diseases rounded out the top five leading causes.
Of the 171,469 deaths in 2021, 52.1% were male (89,401) and 47.9% were female (82,068).
Their median age at death was 82.0 years (79.4 for males, 84.8 for females).
Potentially avoidable mortality
There were 26,967 people who died from potentially avoidable causes in 2021 (17,113 males and 9,854 females). Potentially avoidable causes include those from natural diseases, many types of cancer, IHD, diabetes, infectious diseases and external causes of death, suicide, assault of people aged under 75].
This compares to 26,995 deaths from potentially avoidable causes in 2020 (17,231 males and 9,764 females).
Together with deaths by suicide, men also rose to the top of the class for other preventable deaths
- Out of 1206 people who died from a motor vehicle accident in 2021, 917 were male and 289 were female.
- Out of 213 deaths in 2021 due to assault, 152 were male and 61 were female.
- Out of 1704 drug-induced deaths in 2021, 1069 were male and 635 were female.
- Out of 1559 people who died of an alcohol-induced death in 2021, 1156 were male and 403 were female.
Prostate cancer (Malignant neoplasm of the prostate) was the 6th-ranked cause of death in men with 3620 cases and a median age of 83.3. In 2012 it was 11th with 3078 cases. Prostate cancer was the second leading cause of cancer deaths in males behind lung cancer (4968).
By comparison, breast cancer ranked 14th for males and 6th for females, with 3159 cases overall and a median age of 73.0.
Men’s top 10 leading causes of death 2021
|Ranking||Cause||Cases||Rate per 100,000|
|1.||Ischaemic heart disease||10,371||68.6|
|2.||Dementia, including Alzheimer's||5,664||37.3|
|3.||Malignant neoplasm of trachea, bronchus and lung||4,968||32.2|
|5.||Chronic lower respiratory disease||3,951||25.8|
|6.||Malignant neoplasm of prostate||3,620||23.6|
|7.||Malignant neoplasm of lymphoid, haematopoietic and related tissue||3,083||19.2|
|9.||Malignant neoplasm of colon, sigmoid, rectum and anus||1,893||19.2|
*Deaths from COVID-19 in males were 660 in 2021 and ranked #33 in overall leading causes of death. In 2021, COVID-19 killed 462 females.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander deaths
In 2021, there were a total of 4081 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander deaths, of which 2229 were male and 1,852 female.
Across five jurisdictions: Qld, NSW, WA, SA and NT, there were 3,696 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander deaths. The median age at death was 62.5 for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in 2021, compared to 82.2 for the non-indigenous population.
Ischaemic heart disease was the leading cause of death for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander males. Suicide was the second leading cause of death for males in 2021, compared to 7th for females.
The Standardised Death Rate (SDR) was consistently higher for males compared to females, between 1.2 to 1.3 male deaths for every female.
Suicide of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people by sex
In 2021 there were 134 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander males who died by suicide.
- Suicide was the 2nd leading cause of death.
- Their median age at death was 29.8 years.
- Over two thirds of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who died by suicide were male.
*ABS data is preliminary for 2021 and 2020 - interpretation should take into account that numbers of deaths due to suicide will increase when the ABS revisions process is applied. Revised data for deaths due to suicide in 2021 will be published in early 2023.