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Healthy Communities: Child and maternal health in 2009–2012 - Technical Supplement - Infant and young child mortality rates

Healthy Communities: Child and maternal health in 2009–2012

Infant and young child mortality rates

Definitions

Infant and young child mortality is the death of a liveborn child before the age of 5 years.

Infant mortality is the death of a liveborn child before the age of 1 year.

Data sources

Infant and young child mortality rates were calculated using data from the ABS Death Registrations Collection and the ABS Birth Registrations Collection data for 2010, 2011, and 2012.

ABS births and deaths data contain administrative information supplied by the births, deaths and marriages registries in each state and territory. For further details on scope, coverage and registration of births and deaths refer to ABS Births, Australia, 2012 and ABS Deaths, Australia, 2012.2,3

Unit of measurement

Infant and young child mortality rates are reported as the number of deaths among children aged less than 5 years per 1,000 live births during the three calendar years from 1 January 2010 to 31 December 2012.

Infant mortality rates are reported as the number of deaths among liveborn infants aged less than 1 year per 1,000 live births during the three calendar years from 1 January 2010 to 31 December 2012.

The denominator for both measures is the number of live births reported during the three calendar years from 1 January 2010 to 31 December 2012. A live birth is the birth of a child who, after delivery, breathes or shows any other evidence of life such as a heartbeat.

For further information, refer to the indicator specification on METeOR.

Geography

Infant and young child mortality rates are presented in this report at Medicare Local catchment level for the total population. Deaths are attributed to the Medicare Local catchment in which the infant or young child usually resided, irrespective of where they died. Births are attributed to the Medicare Local catchment of usual residence of the mother regardless of where in Australia the birth occurred.

Infant and young child deaths at Medicare Local catchment level were compiled by the ABS based on Statistical Area Level 2 (SA2) of usual residence. Deaths that could not be allocated to a specific SA2 were allocated in proportion to the distribution of infant and young child deaths for all valid SA2s, i.e. those with a Medicare Local concordance, within each state and territory. This was done for each individual year and by sex. On average, less than 3% of deaths could not be directly allocated to a specific SA2 of usual residence. Deaths data at SA2 level were then mapped to Medicare Locals so that the sum of the Medicare Local totals matched the yearly total for Australia.

The same approach was used to compile births data at the Medicare Local catchment level. On average, less than 0.3% of births could not be directly allocated to a specific SA2 of usual residence.

Years of data

Numbers of deaths were reported as the average number of deaths for the three calendar years from 2010 to the end of 2012, and were calculated by dividing the total number of deaths over the threeyear period by three, the number of years reported. Similarly, numbers of live births were reported as the average number of all live births for three calendar years from 2010 to the end of 2012. The average annual number of deaths and average number of live births over the three-year period have been rounded to the nearest whole number when presented in the report.

To determine how many years of data were appropriate for reporting infant and young child mortality rates, the Authority aimed to report the most recent data possible for each of the 61 Medicare Local catchments. Single years of data for the five calendar years from 2008 to 2012 were examined for variability over time, and this analysis indicated a decline in infant and young child mortality rates in many Medicare Local catchments over the five-year period, particularly from 2010 onwards. Mortality rates based on the three-year period 2010–2012 were then compared with those based on the five-year period 2008–2012, and mortality rates based on the three-year period were found to be sufficiently stable when compared to those based on the five-year period. It was therefore decided that the three years of data from 2010 to 2012 was sufficient to provide reliable infant and young child mortality rates at Medicare Local catchment level.

Suppression of estimates

The Census and Statistics Act 1905 requires that the ABS does not publish or disseminate statistical output in a manner that is likely to enable the identification of a particular person or organisation. This requirement means that the ABS must take care and make assurances that any statistical information about individual respondents cannot be derived from published data. Therefore, where necessary, infant and young child mortality rates based on small numbers of deaths have been suppressed to protect confidentiality.

2. Australian Bureau of Statistics. Births, Australia, 2012 [Internet]. 2013 Oct 24 [cited 2014 May 26]; ABS cat. no. 3301.0. Available from: http://www.abs.gov.au/AUSSTATS/abs@.nsf/Lookup/3301.0Explanatory%20Notes12012?OpenDocumentExternal link, opens in a new window.

3. Australian Bureau of Statistics. Deaths, Australia, 2012 [Internet]. 2013 Nov 11 [cited 2014 May 26]; ABS cat. no. 3302.0. Available from: http://www.abs.gov.au/AUSSTATS/abs@.nsf/Lookup/3302.0Explanatory%20Notes12012?OpenDocumentExternal link, opens in a new window.