Life expectancy* for Australian women has reached 85 years for the first time, but men are slowly catching up.
A boy born in Australia today can be expected to live to 80.9 years of age, up 1.6 years over the last decade* compared to a 1.1 year increase for girls, the Australian Bureau of Statistics has found.
And Australia’s life expectancy remains higher than countries such as New Zealand, the UK and the US, the ABS said.
Australia currently has the sixth highest overall life expectancy in the world at 83 years for males and females combined, behind Japan, Switzerland, Singapore, Spain and Italy.
Australian males have the fifth highest life expectancy, and females the eighth.
“Male life expectancy has increased by 0.2 years since 2016-2018, and by 1.6 years in the past 10 years,” said ABS demography* director Lauren Ford.
“Female life expectancy has increased by 0.1 years since 2016-2018, and by 1.1 years in the past decade.”
Ms Ford said the life expectancy gap between men and women had closed significantly from three decades ago.
In the mid-1960s life expectancy at birth in Australia was 67.6 for males and 74.2 for females, a gap of 6.6 years.
By 1988, the figures had reached 73.1 years for males and 79.5 years for females, a 6.4 year difference.
That gap, on the most recent available figures (2017-2019), is now down to 4.1 years.
Longer life expectancy is the result of better health services, safer working environments and medical and technological advances.
Those who have made it to 50 can expect a few additional years of life too, with a 50-year old male today expected to live another 32.9 years and a female another 36.3 years.
Men do best in Victoria, where the male life expectancy is 81.8 years, compared to NSW at 80.7 years and Queensland at 80.3 years.
Women have never before had an average life expectancy of 85 across the country.
For women, the ACT is the place to be, with female life expectancy sitting at 85.6 years, down to 84.7 years in South Australia and 83.6 years in Tasmania.
The Northern Territory recorded the lowest life expectancy for both males (75.5 years) and females (80.6 years).
But male and female life expectancy in the Northern Territory showed the largest gains of all the states and territories over the past decade, with an increase of 2.2 years for males and 1.6 years for females.
The life expectancy figures represent the average number of years that a newborn baby could expect to live. The figures assume* that current death rates stay the same for the life of a child born today.
Life expectancy is generally higher in cities than in remote areas.
- expectancy: what is expected to happen
- decade: 10 years
- demography: the study of human populations
- assume: take as true
- What is the life expectancy of a female born today?
- What is the life expectancy of a male born today?
- What was the gap between male and female life expectancy three decades ago?
- Which country has the highest life expectancy for males and females combined?
- Where does Australia rate in the world for life expectancy for males and females?
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