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LIFE EXPECTANCY AT BIRTH OF ABORIGINAL AND TORRES STRAIT ISLANDER AUSTRALIANS
Ratio of mortality rates
Graph 1.2 illustrates the differences in mortality rates for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and non-Indigenous Australians for 2010-2012.
For males, the largest differences were in the 35-39 year and 40-44 year age groups, where mortality rates for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander males were over four times higher than rates for non-Indigenous males.
For Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander females, the largest differences were in the 25-29 year to 35-39 year age groups, where mortality rates were around five times higher than rates for non-Indigenous females.
1.2 RATIO OF MORTALITY RATES(a), Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and non-Indigenous Australians(b) - 2010-2012
State and territory life expectancy at birth
State and territory estimates are calculated on a different methodological basis to the headline Australia estimates. For this reason a comparable Australia level series has been calculated without an age-specific adjustment and is included in the table below. Life expectancy at birth differs across the four states and territories for which estimates could be produced. For Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander males, life expectancy at birth was highest in New South Wales (70.5 years) and lowest in the Northern Territory (63.4 years). A similar pattern exists for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander females, with the highest life expectancy at birth in New South Wales (74.6 years) and the lowest in the Northern Territory (68.7 years).
Differences in life expectancy at birth estimates between non-Indigenous and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians are largest for males in Western Australia (15.1 years) and for females in the Northern Territory (14.4 years).
Life Expectancy by remoteness areas
The ABS has produced life expectancy at birth by remoteness area (RA) for the first time. Data has been published by grouping Major Cities and Inner Regional RAs together and Outer Regional, Remote and Very Remote together. The RAs were grouped together due to insufficient data for some RAs to be published individually, particularly at the lower ages. While Major Cities had sufficient data to be published separately, the Inner Regional RA displayed mortality characteristics that were more consistent with Major Cities than the other three RAs of Outer Regional, Remote and Very Remote.
The use of two groupings is less than ideal, given the under-identification of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander deaths decreases with each level of remoteness (it is greatest in Major Cities and lowest in Very Remote areas). The estimates will be different to those that would be derived using identification rates specific to each of the five individual remoteness areas, were it possible to produce them. The two groupings should therefore not be used as a proxy measure for 'urban' and 'rural' comparisons, but instead only used to illustrate that life expectancy estimates show less of a difference by remoteness than unadjusted mortality data show, reinforcing the importance of adjusted data.
Differences in life expectancy at birth between non-Indigenous and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander males was largest in Major Cities and Inner Regional areas (11.9 years). However, for females the difference was largest in Outer Regional, Remote and Very Remote areas (10.2 years).