Mortality patterns of Australian male farmers and farm managers

Aust J Rural Health. 2011 Aug;19(4):179-84. doi: 10.1111/j.1440-1584.2011.01209.x.


Objective: To compare the all-cause and specific-cause death rates of Australian male farmers and farm managers aged 25-74 years, with other Australian men.

Methods: Data were extracted from the Australian Bureau of Statistics Death Registration Collection covering the calendar years of 1999-2002. Denominator data for male farmers and farm managers were drawn from the 2001 Australian Population Census. Direct age-standardized death rates were calculated and compared with the general Australian male population.

Results: The 4025 male farmers or farm managers who died in this period represented 3.35% of all male deaths in the 25-74 year age range. The all-cause death rate for farmers and farm managers (730/100,000) was 33% higher than that of the Australian male population of the same age (549/100,000) (standardized mortality ratio (SMR)=1.33). Causes of death related to neoplasms (SMR=1.37), circulatory disease (SMR=1.40) and all external causes (SMR=1.37), were all statistically higher than the comparison population. Within these groupings, ischaemic heart disease (SMR=1.39), other circulatory disease (SMR=1.42), prostate cancer (SMR=2.40), lymphohaematopoietic cancer (SMR=1.80) and transport injuries (SMR=2.06), were all significantly higher.

Conclusion: These data indicate that Australian male farmers and farm managers are a disadvantaged group in terms of health status. The elevated rates of all-cause and specific-cause mortality compared with the Australian comparison population, illustrate both the need and scope for further investigation of these issues.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Agricultural Workers' Diseases / mortality*
  • Agriculture / statistics & numerical data*
  • Australia / epidemiology
  • Cause of Death
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Rural Health / statistics & numerical data