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Leading Cause of Death in Australia

Recently, Australia’s health and rates of mortality has changed considerably over recent decades. This is due to demographic changes which are the natural result of an ageing population. We should be aware that this is happening so we can make healthier choices in order to prolong our life expectancy as a nation.

Leading Cause of Death

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), in 2020, the leading causes of death in high-income countries were: 

  1. Ischaemic Heart Disease
  2. Alzheimer’s Disease
  3. Stroke
  4. Trachea, Bronchus and Lung Cancers
  5. Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
  6. Lower Respiratory Infections
  7. Colon and Rectum Cancers
  8. Kidney Diseases
  9. Hypertensive Heart Disease
  10. Diabetes Mellitus


1.2 million deaths were caused by Stroke and Ischaemic Heart Disease in 2019, whilst 2.9 million people died from a combination of both diseases. During this year, Stroke overtook Alzheimer’s as the second highest cause of death, and the disease accounted for 65% of Australian women’s deaths that year.

Deaths from HIV/Aids have decreased by 51% in the last two decades and Kidney disease has increased from 13th to 10th in the top causes of deaths globally. 



Leading Causes of Death

Leading Causes of Death for Indigenous Australians

The leading causes of death for Indigenous Australians in 2018 were: 

  1. Circulatory Diseases
  2. Cancer
  3. Respiratory Diseases
  4. Diabetes & External Causes
  5. Kidney Diseases

Indigenous Australians have an elevated risk of chronic diseases, including cancer, diabetes and respiratory disease. They are also likely to experience mental health problems compared to non-indigenous Australians.

 One effort to “close the gap” is by providing free immunisations and other programs that reduce smoking rates among indigenous people.

Leading Cause of Death