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AIHW: Injury in Australia web report update

Injury is a major cause of hospitalisations and deaths in Australia, making up 8.0% of the total burden of disease in 2023, and 7.3% of health expenditure in 2020-21. Injuries are the leading cause of death for people aged 1–44. Injuries accounted for: 

  • 1.9 million ED presentations (7,000 per 100,000 population) in 2022–23 
  • 549,000 hospitalisations (2,100 per 100,000 population) in 2022–23 
  • 14,700 deaths (57 per 100,000 population) in 2021-22

The main causes of injury

The top three causes of injury hospitalisations in 2022-23 were falls (238,000 hospitalisations), contact with objects (78,700 hospitalisations) and transport (61,200 hospitalisations). In 2021–22, the leading causes of injury deaths were falls (6,400 deaths), suicide (3,100 deaths), and accidental poisoning (1,500 deaths).

Differences by sex and age groups

Males are more likely to present to the emergency department (ED), be hospitalised and die from injuries than females. Causes of injury differ by age – for example, the youngest and oldest people are most likely to have an injury from a fall. 

In 2021–22, around 3 in 5 (61%) injury deaths were for males, and falls were the leading cause of death for both sexes. Most assault-related injury hospitalisations occurred among 15–49-year-olds (78%).

Injury causes and age

Nature of injuries

For hospitalisations in 2022–23, the top 3 types of injuries were fractures (about 820 per 100,000 persons or 215,000 cases), open wounds (around 345 per 100,000) and soft tissue injuries (around 202 per 100,000) with the home being the most commonly recorded place of injury (about 162,000 cases).

Across all ages,  the top 3 body parts injured were:

  • the head and neck (450 per 100,000 persons or 119,000 cases)
  • hip and lower limb (around 425 per 100,000)
  • shoulder and upper limb (around 360 per 100,000)

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples

In 2022-23, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples accounted for 20% of total ED presentations due to injury, 33,400 injury hospitalisations and 600 injury deaths. Falls, assault and contact with objects were the three most common causes of injury that led to hospitalisations among Aboriginal peoples, with the likelihood of a falls-related hospitalisation increasing with age.

Aboriginal females are 1.2 times as likely to be hospitalised due to an assault and 1.6 times as likely to be hospitalised due to intentional self-harm compared to Aboriginal males. Furthermore, Aboriginal males are 1.2 times as likely to be hospitalised due to an injury overall and 2.1 times as likely to be hospitalised due to a transport-related injury compared to females.

Region and socioeconomic status

Remoteness and socioeconomic disadvantage impact the risk of injuries. Compared to people who live in urban areas, those living in rural and remote areas experience higher rates of injury hospitalisation and death. In 2022-23 the number and rate of injury hospitalisations were highest among the most socioeconomically disadvantaged quintile of the population (2,300 per 100,000 people), compared to those in the least disadvantaged quintile (1,900 per 100,000 people).

Read AIHW: Injury in Australia Web Report.

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