3302.0.55.001 - Life Tables, States, Territories and Australia, 2013-2015  
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LIFE EXPECTANCY AT BIRTH

Australia

Life expectancy at birth estimates represent the average number of years that a newborn baby could expect to live, assuming current age-specific death rates are experienced through his/her lifetime. In 2013-2015, life expectancy at birth was 80.4 years for males and 84.5 years for females (see graph 1.1). Ten years ago (2003-2005), life expectancy was lower by 1.9 years for males and 1.2 years for females. The increase in life expectancy at birth reflects declining death rates at most ages. For detailed data see data cube Table 1: Life Tables, States, Territories and Australia, from the Downloads tab.

Graph Image for 1.1 LIFE EXPECTANCY AT BIRTH(a) - 1985 TO 2013-2015

Footnote(s): (a) Previous life expectancy at birth figures are available from Australian Historical Population Statistics, 2014 (cat. no. 3105.0.65.001).

Source(s): Australian Historical Population Statistics (3105.0.65.001); Life tables, States, Territories and Australia (3302.0.55.001)



Life expectancy estimates continue to improve for both males and females. However, the improvement in male life expectancy has outpaced that of female life expectancy in recent years. Around 50 years ago (1965-1967), life expectancy at birth in Australia was 67.6 years for males and 74.2 years for females, a gap of 6.6 years. The gap has now narrowed to 4.1 years in 2013-2015.

Reasons for improvements in life expectancy include, but are not limited to, improved health services, safer working environments and medical and technological advances.

States and territories

In 2013-2015, the Australian Capital Territory had the highest estimated life expectancy at birth for both males (81.2 years) and females (85.3 years). Each estimate was 0.8 years higher than the corresponding Australian estimate. Life expectancy at birth was lowest in the Northern Territory, where it was 75.7 years for males and 78.5 years for females. These were 4.7 years and 6.0 years lower than the life expectancies for Australian males and females respectively.


Table 1.1 LIFE EXPECTANCY AT BIRTH, Sex, States and territories - 2003-2005 and 2013-2015

State or territory of usual residence
2003-2005
2013-2015
Increase over 10 years
Males
Females
Males
Females
Males
Females
years
years
years
years
years
years

New South Wales
78.5
83.3
80.4
84.6
1.9
1.3
Victoria
79.0
83.6
81.1
84.7
2.1
1.1
Queensland
78.3
83.2
80.0
84.3
1.7
1.1
South Australia
78.1
83.4
80.3
84.4
2.2
1.0
Western Australia
78.8
83.8
80.5
85.0
1.7
1.2
Tasmania
77.2
82.1
78.9
82.8
1.7
0.7
Northern Territory
72.5
78.2
75.7
78.5
3.2
0.3
Australian Capital Territory
79.9
84.0
81.2
85.3
1.3
1.3
Australia(a)
78.5
83.3
80.4
84.5
1.9
1.2

(a) Includes Other Territories.
Statistical Area Level 4

In 2013-2015, life expectancy at birth varied between Statistical Area Level 4s (SA4s) by 11.6 years for males and 13.0 years for females. Generally, capital city SA4s recorded higher life expectancies than remote SA4s.

The highest life expectancies for both males and females were recorded in Sydney - North Sydney and Hornsby (84.9 years and 87.4 years respectively). The lowest life expectancies for both males and females were in the SA4 of Northern Territory - Outback (73.3 years and 74.4 years respectively).

For detailed data, see data cube Table 2: Life expectancy at birth, Statistical Area Level 4, 2008-2010 to 2013-2015, from the Downloads tab.

International comparison

There are only five other countries worldwide where both males and females have a life expectancy over 80 years. These countries are Iceland, Israel, Italy, Sweden and Switzerland. Australia's life expectancy, for both males and females, is also higher than many similar countries such as Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States of America.

In 2013-2015, the male and female combined life expectancy at birth estimate for Australia was 82.4 years. This was 11.9 years higher than the corresponding latest available world average of 70.5 years in 2010-2015.

The United Nations World Population Prospects: The 2015 Revision (estimates) provides combined life expectancy for countries worldwide. For further information about international life expectancies see graph 1.2.

Graph Image for 1.2 COMBINED MALE AND FEMALE LIFE EXPECTANCY, Selected countries - 2000-2005 and 2010-2015