Population health statistics

This webpage contains reports and fact sheets that:

  • describe the health status of the Western Australian community
  • identify health disparities of various population sub-groups
  • provide geo-spatial distributions of specific health outcomes and determinants
  • monitor trends in health status and health care delivery
  • evaluate the impact of intervention programs relating to disease and risk factors.

We collect data from various sources, providing important information that helps identify and address critical and emerging health issues. Through collaboration with health service planners, policy makers and research groups we provide information that is used to design and evaluate health programs.

The Epidemiology Directorate

The Epidemiology Directorate is responsible for the collection and analysis of a wide range of population health data. Requests for specific population-based information can also be submitted to the Epidemiology Directorate.

COVID-19 in WA Bulletins

The Epidemiology Directorate is investigating changes in population health that may have occurred during the period of the COVID-19 interventions in WA.

Bulletin 1: impact on lifestyle was designed to provide insight into the effects of COVID control measures on the WA population during March, April and May and draws on the responses of more than 1800 adults to a range of questions about lifestyle behaviours. The results suggested the COVID-19 pandemic has had minimal effect on the lifestyle habits of Western Australians.

Bulletin 2: impact on mental health did not find statistically significant increases in psychological distress or feelings of a lack of control during the ‘COVID-19-period’ (March-April-May 2020) as compared to the ‘Baseline period’ (March-April-May 2015-2019 average). However, 22% of participants were unable to work in their existing employment, 35% experienced a loss of income, 44% were fairly or very worried about the outbreak and 44% felt isolated from family and friends.

Bulletin 3: impact on other communicable disease showed a decrease in cases of Influenza and Dengue Fever, which have remained at very low levels since April 2020. Similarly, Chickenpox and Chlamydia decreased during the COVID-19 period but have since returned to normal levels. During the most stringent lockdown period, there was an increase in Legionella, but this has also since returned to usual levels.

Bulletin 4: impact on emergency care identified a downturn in ambulance call-outs and ED presentations during the COVID-19 period across most major causes; however, there was no evidence that this had led to people presenting later to hospital with more severe disease. A small excess of deaths was seen in WA during the COVID-19 period, which is consistent with what has been reported in other states and nationally.

View the COVID-19 in WA bulletins

Burden of Disease

Results are not comparable across years due to methodology differences.

Western Australian Burden of Disease Study 2015

The Western Australian Burden of Disease Study (WABODS) was conducted by the Epidemiology Directorate, WA Department of Health in partnership with the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. The study provides an assessment of the impact of 216 diseases and 29 risk factors on the WA population and allows for disease comparisons due to loss of life and disability in a consistent manner. Findings from this study are useful for policy formulation, research, practice and health service planning.

The burden and cost of excess body mass in Western Australian adults and children

This report was a collaboration between the Chronic Disease Prevention Directorate and Epidemiology Directorate, at the Western Australian Department of Health.

Excess body mass resulting from the accumulation of fat mass increases the risk of a range of chronic diseases, including heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, several types of cancer, and is an important cause of preventable illness and premature death. Excess body mass therefore causes significant personal, health care, and societal costs.

If population levels of overweight and obesity continue to climb, it is projected that the cost to the WA health system will increase by 80 per cent in the decade between 2016 and 2026.

The burden and cost of excess body mass in Western Australian adults and children (PDF 1MB)

Western Australia Burden of Disease Fact Sheets

The Western Australia (WA) burden of disease factsheet series presents WA findings from the Australian Burden of Disease Study 2011 on the impact of 200 diseases and nearly 30 risk factors.

View our fact sheets:

Burden of Disease: The burden of disease and injury attributed to preventable risks to health in Western Australia, 2006 (April 2010)

This report quantifies the burden of disease and injury in Western Australia in 2006 that could have been prevented if nine preventable health risk factors were reduced to a level that is considered a theoretical minimum. The risk factors chosen were limited to public health priority areas, namely tobacco, alcohol, physical inactivity, illicit drugs, inadequate fruit and vegetable consumption, unsafe sex, high body mass, high blood pressure and high blood cholesterol.

Read the Burden of Disease report (PDF 302KB).

Drug and alcohol related harm reports

The Epidemiology Directorate has developed the Western Australia specific alcohol-related aetiological fractions that can be used to determine alcohol-related hospitalisations and deaths in populations of WA.

Methodology for Developing Western Australia Specific Alcohol-related Aetiological Fractions (May 2017) (PDF 4MB)

Health overviews

Lessons of Location Report

While the rate of admission to hospitals in Western Australia has stabilised in recent years, it remains high and unsustainable. To reduce this, strategies are required to prevent the occurrence of disease and to deliver more care in community-based services, when appropriate.

Read the Lessons of Location report.

Priorities and Preferences for Cancer Control in Western Australia, 2016

A new report by the Department of Health's Chief Health Officer has revealed that while respondents to a statewide survey on cancer prevention were knowledgeable about many aspects of cancer, a third were unaware that much could be done to prevent the disease.

Almost 12,000 Western Australians are diagnosed with cancer every year and about 4,000 lose their lives to the disease. However, recent studies have shown that about 30 to 40 per cent of these cancers could be prevented.

View all the survey findings on the Healthy WA website (external site).

Read Priorities and Preferences for Cancer Control in Western Australia (PDF 1.47MB).

Chief Health Officer's Report 2010

The inaugural Chief Health Officer's Report 2010 provides an in-depth examination of the health status of the WA population and examines trends over the past 150 years.

The report demonstrates the vital role both public health interventions and the delivery of modern clinical care services play in containing the impact of disease and improving health outcomes.

Read the Chief Health Officer's Report 2010.

Health surveys

The WA Health and Wellbeing Surveillance System (HWSS) is a continuous data collection that was developed to monitor the health and wellbeing of Western Australians. Each month, more than 550 people throughout Western Australia are interviewed.

Nutrition Monitoring Survey Series has been conducted in Western Australia (WA) since 1995 to investigate knowledge, attitudes and beliefs of West Australians relating to food, nutrition and the Australian Dietary Guidelines. The surveys include assessments of dietary change as well as barriers and promoters of dietary change.


Epidemiology of injury in Western Australia, 2000-2008

This report provides a comprehensive overview of the epidemiology of injury in Western Australia from 2000 to 2008. Its purpose is to describe the magnitude of the injury problem; trends; characteristics of the population at risk, including socioeconomic and environmental factors; and the impact of injury on health service use. It continues and expands upon the previous “Epidemiology of Injury in Western Australia 1989 to 2000” and the national reports produced by the National Injury Surveillance Unit and will inform government and non-government programs, policies and services to address this major public health problem.

Health determinants

The cost of excess body mass to the acute hospital system in Western Australia 2011

A cost of illness study was performed using 18 harms that are attributable in part, or wholly, to excess body mass. A proportion attributable to excess body weight was calculated for each harm to determine the cost from inpatient separations and emergency department presentations.

Read The cost of excess body mass to the acute hospital system in Western Australia report 2011.

Specific health studies

Review of Cultural and Linguistic Diversity (CaLD)Data Collection Practices in the WA Health System

This study reviews the current data collection practices to identify the Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CaLD) population within the seven large core data sets held by the WA Department of Health (relating to health events such as emergency department presentations, hospital admissions, births and deaths). It makes preliminary recommendations on ways to improve the identification of the CaLD population in the core datasets.

Read the Review of Cultural and Linguistic Diversity (CaLD)Data Collection.

Bellevue Health Surveillance Register: Follow-up study

In 2001 a fire occurred at a hazardous waste and solvent recycling facility in Bellevue. It was estimated that the facility had up to 500,000 litres of chemicals and toxic solvents in storage. Fire and emergency services responded to the fire and over 50 local residents were evacuated.

An inquiry following the fire recommended that the Department of Health establish a register to monitor the health of those exposed to detect any long term health effects which might arise from the fire.

Read the Bellevue Health Surveillance Register: Follow-up study.

Impact of Phenol-based Cleaners and Royal Perth Hospital

Staff at both the Wellington Street and Shenton Park campuses of Royal Perth Hospital (RPH) reported that phenol-based cleaners caused a range of symptoms. Of greater concern, is the belief that there is an increase in cancer incidence among these staff.

An occupational cohort analysis was conducted to determine if an excess of cancer cases or deaths occurred among Patient Support Services (PSS) staff at RPH compared to the Perth Metropolitan population from 1983 to 2008.

Read the Impact of Phenol-based Cleaners at Royal Perth Hospital Report.

Evaluation of the Heatwave Measurement used in the State Hazard Plan – Heatwave, and Related Health Effects

A report titled “Evaluation of the Heatwave Measurement used in the State Hazard Plan – Heatwave, and Related Health Effects” has been completed by the Epidemiology Directorate. The report evaluated the heatwave measurement (3-day average daily temperature (3DAT)) used in the State Hazard Plan for Heatwave (SHP-HW) and HW related morbidity and mortality in WA before and after the introduction of the SHP-HW. The report compared the sensitivity of 3DAT with the Excess Heat Factor (EHF) defined by the Australian Bureau of Meteorology (the Bureau).

Read the Heatwave Measurement used in the State Hazard Plan - Heatwave, and Related Health Effects Report.

More information

While this page has been designed to provide easy access to a wide range of health data, we welcome constructive comments about our site in order to continually improve our online services. Please send them to epi@health.wa.gov.au

Last reviewed: 25-01-2021
Produced by

Public Health