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So, everyone has been talking about this 776 figure and how bad it is

I wanted to figure out some point of reference as to how bad it might actually be #notmydebt #Robodebt 1/
The number comes from a Department of Human Services report that you can access here:…

The specific figure is 776 deaths for people aged under 45 in a population of ~410,000 debt notices 2/
This means that the rate of death for people aged 45 or below as a proportion of the total sample is 776/410000 = 0.002 = 0.2%

But what does that MEAN? 3/
It's important to remember that this rate of death was over 2 years. So we halve that for the yearly rate: 0.2/2 = 0.1% 3.5/
(Note: This isn't the best statistic, but because we don't have the age breakdown of debt recipients we can't get the exact rate of death for 45 and below) 4/
If we look at the last 10 years (2008-2018), we see that the average number of deaths in Australia in this age group was 6,607

The population >15 years was ~19.5 million 5/
Plugging those numbers in we get 6607/19500000 = 0.0007 = 0.07%

So the VERY CRUDE rate of death in the sample of robodebt recipients was about 0.1/0.07 = 40% higher than the national average 6/
(This is what's known as a relative risk, which means the risk of one thing happening compared to another) 6.5/
What does this mean?

Well, not that much. As I said, this is very crude. We know that the debt notices were probably sent to less healthy than average people (some of them were disability recipients, for example) 7/
So the fact that the relative risk of death was about 40% higher in the robodebt recipients may not mean anything at all (although it's worth noting that we HAVE - mostly - controlled for age by definition here) 8/
Ultimately, you'd need to do a much more robust analysis to get a particularly strong answer

What we CAN say is that ROBODEBT DEFINITELY DIDN'T CAUSE 776 DEATHS #notmydebt #robodebt 9/
People who received debt notices *may* be at a higher risk of death than the general population - it's hard to be sure - but the debt notices definitely didn't kill people en masse

End 10/
Worth noting - because it's my eternal bug-bear - that the ABSOLUTE risk of death appears to have been increased by 0.03% by debt notices, which is somewhat less impressive and scary as well
CORRECTION TO THIS THREAD - I actually miscalculated the relative and absolute risk - I halved the estimate twice accidentally

This is why peer review is important thank you @AndrewHayen
The true relative risk is 3, or a 300% increased risk of death, and the absolute risk should be 0.07 or an 0.07% increased risk of death @not_my_debt
But still probably worth remembering that this is not very meaningful and we'd have to at the very minimum compare to other Centrelink recipients - not the general population like I did - to get a decent estimate
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