Now that the ABS has released it population data for the last financial year, we can calculate the circumcision rate for preschool aged boys (ie aged 0-4 years).
Nationally there were 755,730 boys in that cohort and 21,145 Medicare rebates, so the cumulative rate for the year to June 2011 was 14.0%.
Note that public hospitals no longer offer elective circumcision so these figures include all procedures except:
This probably accounts for about another 1 per cent, making the final, total rate for boys aged 0-4 years about 15%.
- "Medically necessary" circumcisions performed by hospital doctors on public patients.
- Circumcisions performed outside a medical setting (ie mohels).
- Circumcisions eligible for a rebate but not claimed by the parents.
The absolute number of rebates declined in all States and the NT (there were 5 more in the ACT), with the largest fall being in Queensland, from 6,190 to 4,543, bringing the rate in that State down from 19.4% to the national average. The highest rate was NSW, at almost 20%, and the lowest was Tasmania at 2.5%. Victoria and WA were both around 10%, SA somewhat higher and the ACT and NT less.
The rates for older boys remain small (less than 1% for each five-year cohort) and stable, suggesting these procedures are medically indicated rather than elective.
Most circumcisions were performed on boys aged under 6 months (18,503) with a rate for that cohort of 12.2%.
This gentle fall in the rate can be expected to continue over the next decade as the proportion of fathers who are themselves intact increases.