Australian life expectancy increases during COVID-19 pandemic

Media Release

Life expectancy in Australia has increased in the 2019-2021 period, with a boy born today expected to live to 81.3 years and a girl to 85.4 years, according to the latest figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) today.

Emily Walter, ABS Demography Director, said this was an increase of 0.1 years for both males and females when compared to the 2018-2020 period.

Australia was one of the few countries that showed increases in life expectancy in the first two years of the COVID-19 pandemic and has the third highest life expectancy in the world according to the United Nations’ estimates.

“Life expectancy in Australia is 11.9 years longer for males and 10.6 years longer for females compared with the United Nations’ 2020 world average of 69.4 years and 74.8 years,” Ms Walter said.

Today, a 65 year old Australian male can expect to live another 20.3 years and a female another 23.0 years. This is longer than life expectancy at birth, as they have successfully made it through the first several decades of life.

States and territories

The Australian Capital Territory recorded the highest life expectancy, 82.7 years for males and 86.3 years for females. 

The Northern Territory had the lowest life expectancy, 76.3 years for males and 81.0 years for females. Despite this, male and female life expectancy in the Northern Territory showed the largest gains of all states and territories over the past 30 years (9.2 years and 8.7 years).

Further details are in Life Tables, 2019-2021. Australia, state, territory and sub-state information is available to download from the ABS website at

   19912011201920202021Change: 1991-2021Change: 2011-2021Change: 2019-2021Change: 2020-2021
New South Wales           
South Australia           
Western Australia           
Northern Territory           
Australian Capital Territory           
  1. Includes Other Territories

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