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3101.0 - Australian Demographic Statistics, Jun 2002  
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Feature Article - Regional mortality


This article was published in Australian Demographic Statistics, June Quarter 2002 (ABS cat. no. 3101.0).

INTRODUCTION

Life expectancy at birth is a well recognised and understood measure of the mortality of a population and is used for assessing trends and differentials in mortality. Life expectancy refers to the average number of additional years a male or female of a given age might expect to live if the age-specific death rates of the given period continued throughout his/her lifetime.

Currently Australia enjoys one of the best life expectancy rates in the world. In 1999-2001 life expectancy at birth was calculated at 77 years for males and 82 years for females. Given that approximately two-thirds of Australia's population live in capital cities, how does the life expectancy in capital cities compare with the life expectancy in the balance of states/territories within Australia?

REGIONAL LIFE EXPECTANCY

Australia's more rural and remote populations tend to have higher mortality rates and consequently lower life expectancy (AIHW, 1998) (Footnote 1) than populations living in either a capital city or urbanised area. Where there is a higher proportion of Indigenous people living in these rural and remote areas there is an additional impact upon mortality rates and life expectancy (AIHW, 1998) (Footnote 1).

In 1999-2001 life expectancy at birth for males and females varied across the regions of Australia by up to 11 years. Male life expectancy at birth was highest in Canberra (79 years) followed by Melbourne, Perth, Sydney and Adelaide (each 78 years), while female life expectancy was highest at 83 years in Perth, Canberra, Melbourne, Sydney, Adelaide and Brisbane.

Male life expectancy was lowest in the balance of the Northern Territory (68 years) followed by Darwin (74 years) and the balance of Tasmania (76 years). Female life expectancy was lowest in the balance of the Northern Territory (73 years), Darwin (79 years) and the balance of Tasmania (81 years).

Further to the capital city and balance of state/territory breakdown, life expectancies for Statistical Divisions (SD) have also been calculated. SDs that recorded a low life expectancy for both males and females were the Kimberley, which incorporates the Statistical Local Area (SLA) of Broome, and the SD of North-West (Queensland), which includes the SLAs of Mount Isa and Cloncurry. The SDs that experienced lower life expectancy were primarily located in rural and remote areas.

Within the balance of state/territory the more urbanised SDs tended to have the highest life expectancies. Examples of these SDs were Moreton (Queensland), which incorporates the Gold and Sunshine Coasts Statistical Subdivisions (SSD), Richmond-Tweed SD (New South Wales), which includes the SLAs of Ballina and Lismore, and the SD of Barwon (Victoria), which includes the Greater Geelong City Part A SSD and Queenscliffe SLA.

(Footnote 1) Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 1998. AIHW Cat. No. PHE 6. Health in rural and remote Australia. Canberra: AIHW.


REGIONAL MORTALITY

State and territory
Capital city/balance of state
Selected Statistical Divisions
Life expectancy
at birth males(a)
Life expectancy
at birth females(a)
years
years

New South Wales
Capital city - Sydney
77.8
82.8
Balance of state
76.3
82.0
Richmond - Tweed
77.2
82.7
Mid-North Coast
76.3
82.2
Far West
74.5
79.7
Total
76.9
82.4
Victoria
Capital city - Melbourne
78.1
82.9
Balance of state
76.6
82.2
Barwon
77.3
82.5
Mallee
76.6
82.0
Western District
75.9
81.9
Total
77.5
82.7
Queensland
Capital city - Brisbane
77.4
82.5
Balance of state
76.7
82.2
Moreton
77.9
83.3
Fitzroy
75.9
81.4
North-West
71.4
78.1
Total
76.9
82.3
South Australia
Capital city - Adelaide
77.5
82.7
Balance of state
76.4
82.1
Outer Adelaide
78.4
82.8
Northern
74.9
81.1
Total
77.0
82.5
Western Australia
Capital city - Perth
78.0
83.2
Balance of state
76.2
82.1
Lower Great Southern
77.3
82.5
South-West
77.8
82.9
Kimberley
69.8
77.7
Total
77.3
82.8
Tasmania
Capital city - Hobart
76.4
81.2
Balance of state
75.6
80.8
Southern
75.9
80.2
Mersey - Lyell
75.4
80.8
Total
76.0
81.2
Northern Territory
Darwin
74.0
79.1
Balance of territory
68.3
73.2
Total
70.8
76.5
Australian Capital Territory
Canberra
78.9
83.0
Total
78.5
82.9
Australia(b)
77.0
82.4

(a) Average annual life expectancy at birth during 1999-2001.

(b) Includes Other Territories.



ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Further information about regional mortality and deaths in general is available in Deaths, Australia, 2001 (cat. no. 3302.0) released on 10 December 2002.



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