Health status differentials across rural and remote Australia

Health status differentials across rural and remote Australia Journal Article

Australian Journal of Rural Health

  • Author(s): Phillips, Andrew
  • Published: 2009
  • Volume: 17
  • ISBN: 1440-1584

Abstract: This paper describes mortality and disease patterns across five broad remoteness categories of Australia, with reference to the context in which those outcomes develop and are treated. Health and its outcomes become worse as remoteness increases. Some of this phenomenon reflects proportionally greater numbers of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in remote areas coupled with their poorer overall health outcomes; however, mortality for non-indigenous people is clearly higher outside compared with inside major cities. Migration of people seeking services likely reduces the size of interregional health disparity. Poorer health outcomes stem from worse risk factor profiles and average lower levels of income and of education, poorer physical and financial access to services, higher occupational and environmental risk, as well as factors unique to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health. Little is known about the health benefits of living outside major cities. Diseases of the circulatory system and injuries account, respectively, for 40% and 18% of the excess mortality outside major cities. Death rates are declining over time in all (particularly remote) areas, but rates of death due to certain lung diseases in rural women are not, and rates of suicide have increased in remote areas. Ostensibly, prevalence of mental ill-health appears roughly similar in all remoteness areas. Dental health is poorer and disability is more prevalent outside major cities, as are a range of infectious diseases. Although pertinent, the effects on rural health of climate change and resource degradation generally have not been addressed in this paper.

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Suggested Citation
Phillips, Andrew, 2009, Health status differentials across rural and remote Australia, Volume:17, Journal Article, viewed 02 December 2023,

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