Life expectancy hits a new high

Media Release
Released
4/11/2021

Life expectancy in Australia continues to rise, with a baby boy expected to live to 81.2 years and a girl to 85.3 years, according to the latest figures released from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

"Babies born today have the highest estimated life expectancy ever recorded in Australia", ABS Demography Director Beidar Cho said.

Male life expectancy at birth reached 81.2 years in 2018-2020, increasing from 80.9 in 2017-2019. Female life expectancy also increased to 85.3 years from 85.0 in the previous year. ­

Life expectancy for males has improved at a faster rate than that for females. Around 30 years ago (1990), life expectancy at birth in Australia was 73.9 years for males and 80.1 years for females, a gap of 6.2 years. The gap has now narrowed to 4.1 years in 2018-2020.

"Australians have a higher life expectancy than comparable countries such as New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the USA and lower life expectancy than Japan, Singapore and Switzerland" Ms Cho said.

Today an Australian male aged 50 years can expect to live another 33.2 years, and a female another 36.6 years. This is longer than life expectancies at birth, as 50 year olds have successfully made it through the first several decades of life.

The Australian Capital Territory recorded the highest male and female life expectancy (82.1 years and 85.9 years).

The Northern Territory recorded the lowest life expectancy for both males (76.2 years) and females (81.0 years). Despite this, male and female life expectancies in the Northern Territory showed the largest gains of all the states and territories over the last 30 years (9.9 years and 8.7 years).

Further details are in Life Tables, 2018-2020. Australia, state, territory and sub-state information is also available for free download from the ABS website http://www.abs.gov.au.

Life expectancy at birth, states, territories and Australia - selected years
1990201020192020Change: 1990-2020Change: 2010-2020Change : 2019-2020
Australia(a)
Malesyears73.979.580.981.27.31.70.3
Femalesyears80.1848585.35.21.30.3
New South Wales
Malesyears73.479.680.781.27.81.60.5
Femalesyears79.884.18585.45.61.30.4
Victoria
Malesyears74.38081.881.97.61.90.1
Femalesyears80.384.385.585.85.51.50.3
Queensland
Malesyears74.179.480.380.66.51.20.3
Femalesyears80.283.984.885.14.91.20.3
South Australia
Malesyears74.179.480.480.76.61.30.3
Femalesyears80.383.884.785.24.91.40.5
Western Australia
Malesyears74.879.780.981.36.51.60.4
Femalesyears80.684.385.485.75.11.40.3
Tasmania
Malesyears72.67879.579.97.31.90.4
Femalesyears79.382.383.684.3520.7
Northern Territory
Malesyears66.37475.576.29.92.20.7
Femalesyears72.379.280.6818.71.80.4
Australian Capital Territory
Malesyears7580.581.682.17.11.60.5
Femalesyears80.184.785.685.95.81.20.3

a) Includes Other Territories

Media notes

  • Deaths that occurred in 2021 (including those which occurred from the Delta variant of COVID-19) are not in scope of the 2020 reference year and are therefore excluded from this issue.
  • Deaths attributed to COVID-19 only made up 0.6% of deaths in 2020.
  • When reporting ABS data you must attribute the Australian Bureau of Statistics (or the ABS) as the source.
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