4125.0 - Gender Indicators, Australia, Jan 2012
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 07/02/2012
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Life expectancy at birth in the decade to 2010 has, on average, been higher for females than males. A baby boy born in 2008-2010 could expect to live, on average, 79.5 years, while a baby girl born in 2008-2010 could expect to live 84.0 years. However, over the decade to 2010, life expectancy at birth for males increased more quickly (up 2.5 years) than for females (up 1.6 years).
Life expectancy at birth is one of the most widely used and internationally recognised indicators of population health. It focuses on the length of life rather than on its quality, and provides a useful summary of the general health of the population.
The increases in life expectancy have been due to lower infant mortality, the promotion of healthier lifestyles, continued improvements in living standards, and ongoing medical advances leading to improvement in prevention, diagnosis and treatment of diseases. (Endnote 1)
RESIDUAL LIFE EXPECTANCY AT AGE 65
There has been an increase in the average number of additional years that persons at all ages can expect to live. Women aged 65 years in the period 2008-2010 could expect to live another 21.8 years, up from 20.7 years in 1999-2001, while men aged 65 years could expect to live another 18.9 years in 2008-2010 compared to 17.2 years in 1999-2001.
These increases in residual life expectancy at age 65 years are mainly due to improvements in aged care management, a decline in the number of deaths from chronic conditions such as heart disease, cancer and strokes (because of medical advances), and behavioural changes such as improvements in diet and lower rates of smoking. (Endnote 2)
PROBABILITY OF SURVIVAL FROM BIRTH TO AGE 85
The probability of surviving from birth to age 85 has gradually increased for both males and females over the past decade. About 42% of males born in 2008-2010 could expect to live to at least 85 years, while for females, the proportion is 16 percentage points higher at 58%. In 1999-2001, the probability of males surviving to age 85 was 33%, and was 52% for females.
Life expectancy of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples
While Australians can generally expect to live a relatively long life, there are differences in life expectancy between population groups within Australian society. In particular, life expectancy at birth for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians is lower than it is for the non-Indigenous population.
In 2005-2007, life expectancy at birth for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander males was 67.2 years, 11.5 years less than that for non-Indigenous males (78.7 years). For Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander females, life expectancy at birth was 9.7 years less than for non-Indigenous females (72.9 years and 82.6 years respectively). The lower life expectancy for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians can be attributed to a higher infant mortality rate, and a higher incidence of diseases such as diabetes mellitus, respiratory disorders, ear disease, eye disorders and some cancers, among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. (Endnote 1)
For Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, the difference in life expectancy for males (67.2 years) and females (72.9 years) reflects the situation for the non-Indigenous people, with higher life expectancy for females (82.6 years) than for males (78.7 years).
1. Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2010, Measures of Australia's Progress, 2010, (cat. no. 1370.0), ABS, Canberra, <www.abs.gov.au>.
2. Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2011, Australian Social Trends, Mar 2011, (cat. no. 4102.0), ABS, Canberra, <www.abs.gov.au>.
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