3302.0 - Deaths, Australia, 1999  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 18/12/2000   
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December 18, 2000
Embargoed 11:30am (AEST)

Life expectancy gap decreases

The difference between male and female life expectancy at birth in Australia continues to decline, according to figures published today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

In 1997-1999 life expectancy at birth was 76.2 years for males and 81.8 years for females, a difference of 5.6 years. The highest ever recorded difference of seven years occurred in 1980-82.

Internationally, Australia's life expectancy is estimated to rank behind Japan, Switzerland, Hong Kong and Sweden by about one to two years; is about the same as France, Canada, Spain and Greece; and is higher by about two years than New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States of America.

Experimental Indigenous life expectancy for 1997-1999 is estimated to be about 20 years less than for the total population, 56 years for Indigenous males compared to 76 years for all Australian males, and 63 years for Indigenous females compared to 82 years for all Australian females. Proportionately more Indigenous people die from external causes of death, diabetes and diseases of the liver than non-Indigenous people.

In 1999, although drug-related deaths were responsible for only 2% of all deaths, almost one out of every five deaths in the 20-49 years age group were drug-related.

Half of all deaths in 1999 occurred after 77.8 years of age. This compares with an equivalent figure of 52.6 years for the Indigenous population of Australia.

The 1999 infant mortality rate was 5.7 deaths per 1,000 live births, a slight increase from the 1998 rate of 5.0 deaths per 1,000 live births. Over one-third (37%) of all infant deaths occurred within one day of birth. The Indigenous infant mortality rate at 14 deaths per 1,000 live births in 1999 was estimated to be two and half times the rate for the total Australian population in that year.

ABS has released detailed data on all deaths registered in 1999 in two publications, Deaths, Australia 1999 (cat. no. 3302.0) and Causes of Death, Australia 1999 (cat. no. 3303.0). The latter publication was released on 11 December. Both publications are available from ABS Bookshops. The main findings of this publication can be found on this site. If you wish to purchase a copy of this publication contact the ABS bookshop in your capital city.