Life tables

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Statistics about life tables for Australia, states and territories and life expectancy at birth estimates for sub-state regions

Reference period
2018 - 2020

Key statistics

  • Life expectancy at birth was 81.2 years for males and 85.3 years for females in 2018-20
  • The Australian Capital Territory had the highest male (82.1 years) and female (85.9 years) life expectancy of the states and territories

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 recent years, life expectancy for males has improved at a faster rate than that for females.

  • Over the past decade, life expectancy for males increased by 1.7 years and females by 1.3 years
  • 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 2018-20

Reasons for improvements in life expectancy include:

  • improved health services
  • safer working environments
  • medical and technological advances

States and territories

Life expectancy at birth was:

  • highest for both males (82.1 years) and females (85.9 years) in the Australian Capital Territory
  • lowest for both males (76.2 years) and females (81.0 years) in the Northern Territory, 5.0 years and 4.3 years lower than for Australian males and females
Life expectancy at birth by state and territory of usual residence
 2008-20102018-2020Change over 10 years
State or territoryMalesFemalesMalesFemalesMalesFemales

a. Includes Other Territories.


Life expectancy at birth:

  • varied between Statistical Area Level 4s (SA4s) by 12.7 years for males and 10.7 years for females
  • was generally higher in capital city SA4s than remote SA4s
  • was highest for males in Sydney - North Sydney and Hornsby (85.7 years)
  • was highest for females in Sydney - Baulkham Hills and Hawkesbury, Sydney - Ryde, and Brisbane - West (each 88.1 years)
  • was lowest for both males and females in Northern Territory - Outback (73.0 years and 77.4 years)

International comparison

  • Australia has the sixth highest male and female combined life expectancy in the world
  • Japan, Switzerland, Singapore, Spain and Italy have higher life expectancies than Australia
  • Australia's male life expectancy ranked fifth and female eighth in the world
Life expectancy at birth, top 10 countries in the world(a), United Nations 2019
Japan84.63(rank 1)81.50(rank 4)87.67(rank 1)
Switzerland83.78(rank 2)81.87(rank 1)85.60(rank 5)
Singapore83.62(rank 3)81.53(rank 2)85.73(rank 4)
Spain83.57(rank 4)80.83(rank 10)86.25(rank 2)
Italy83.51(rank 5)81.33(rank 7)85.54(rank 6)
Australia83.44(rank 6)81.49(rank 5)85.40(rank 8)
Channel Islands83.09(rank 7)81.17(rank 8)84.92(rank 9)
Republic of Korea83.03(rank 8)79.94(rank 18)85.95(rank 3)
Iceland82.99(rank 9)81.50(rank 3)84.49(rank 15)
Israel82.97(rank 10)81.33(rank 6)84.51(rank 14)

a. Based on life expectancy for persons.
Source: For all countries, see United Nations, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division (2019). World Population Prospects 2019, online edition. Rev. 1.

For both males and females, Australia has a higher life expectancy than similar countries such as New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States of America.

Male life expectancy at birth for selected countries

Female life expectancy at birth for selected countries

Data downloads

Table 1: Life tables, states, territories and Australia - 2018-2020

Table 2: Life tables, statistical area level 4 - 2010-2012 to 2018-2020

All data cubes

Previous catalogue number

This release previously used catalogue number 3302.0.55.001

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