Interest was piqued in a recent front page at the Cairns Post:
I’m no expert on health statistics but a few things here bothered me so it was off to the source PDIHU Social Health Atlas of Australia
This quickly addressed the most immediate concerns from the front page:
- The data is a median age of death not an average.
- The median age of death is NOT life expectancy.
- The median deaths data is NOT a mortality rate.
The PDIHU data aggregates some of the SA2 areas within an SA4 region. Basic demographic knowledge of Cairns would identify that the Bentley Park – Mt Sheridan aggregation is a smaller population region with the youngest demographic profile in the Cairns SA4. It has relatively few older people. Some may intuitively observe that this would be because they had all died before they got old. This would be mistaken.
If the Cairns Post had bothered to go to the next step in the extensive data provided it would have found:
What’s that skip? Bentley Park is the opposite of the Cairns Post yarn on premature deaths defined as all deaths before age 74? What the Cairns Post has identified for Bentley Park – Mt Sheridan is predominantly a consequence of the age profile.
Noted here is that the bottom two also feature zero aged care places in the data for 2016. Never mind says Cairns Post. How many clicks can we get with a good fat shaming.
Note: Excellent data source so Cairns Post deserves praise for bringing it to my attention. I have added a link in maps.