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LIFE EXPECTANCY AT BIRTH
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 2015-2017, life expectancy at birth was 80.5 years for males and 84.6 years for females (see graph 1.1). In the past 10 years, life expectancy has increased by 1.5 years for males and 0.9 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.
Footnote(s): (a) Life expectancy at birth estimates for earlier years are available from Australian Historical Population Statistics, 2014 (cat. no. 3105.0.65.001).
In recent years, life expectancy for males has improved at a faster rate than that for women. Around 40 years ago (1976), life expectancy at birth in Australia was 69.4 years for males and 76.4 years for females, a gap of 7.0 years. The gap has now narrowed to 4.1 years in 2015-2017.
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 2015-2017, Victoria had the highest life expectancy at birth of all states and territories for males (81.3 years) and the Australian Capital Territory for females (85.2 years). Life expectancy at birth was lowest in the Northern Territory at 75.9 years for males and 79.4 years for females. These were 4.6 years and 5.2 years lower than the life expectancies for Australian males and females respectively.
STATISTICAL AREA LEVEL 4
In 2015-2017, life expectancy at birth varied between Statistical Area Level 4s (SA4s) by 12.5 years for males and 12.3 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 (85.3 years and 88.0 years respectively). The lowest life expectancies for both males and females were in the SA4 of Northern Territory - Outback (72.8 years and 75.7 years respectively).
For detailed data, see data cube Table 2: Life expectancy at birth, Statistical Area Level 4, 2010-2012 to 2015-2017, from the Downloads tab.
Tables 1.2 and 1.3 present life expectancy estimates for selected countries, sourced from the respective countries website except for Switzerland, Japan and the USA which were sourced from the World Health Organization. According to these estimates, for both men and women, Australia has a higher life expectancy than similar countries such as New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the USA.
Table 1.2 Male life expectancy estimates at birth and at age 65 for selected countries(a)
Table 1.3 Female life expectancy estimates at birth and at age 65 for selected countries(a)
(b) Source: Japan [World Health Organization]
(c) Source: France [INSEE]
(d) Source: Singapore [Department of Statistics Singapore]
(e) Source: Switzerland [World Health Organization]
(f) Source: Australia [Australian Bureau of Statistics]
(g) Source: Sweden [Statistics Sweden]
(h) Source: New Zealand [Stats NZ]
(i) Source: UK [Office for National Statistics]
(j) Source: USA [World Health Organization]
Table 1.4 presents life expectancy estimates for the top eight countries produced by the United Nations (including Australian estimates). According to these estimates, Australia has the sixth highest male and female combined life expectancy in the world. Japan, Switzerland, Spain, Singapore and Italy have higher life expectancies than Australia. Australia's male life expectancy ranked third and female eighth in the world.
Table 1.4 Life expectancy estimates at birth by sex, top 8 countries in the world(a), United Nations 2015 - 2020
Source: For all countries, see United Nations, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division (2017). World Population Prospects: The 2017 Revision, Interpolated demographic indicators by region, subregion and country, reference period 2015-2020.
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