POPULATION: We're a nation on the age rise according to the latest ABS Life Expectancy at Birth report.
POPULATION: We're a nation on the age rise according to the latest ABS Life Expectancy at Birth report.

Aussies longer and stronger than ever before

AUSTRALIA is continuing it's 10-year life expectancy at birth climb according to data released by the Bureau of Statistics this week.

The new figures for 2014-16 show an increased life expectancy of 80.4 for males and 84.6 years for females.

These numbers put Australia up to third in the world for males and sixth for females. Ahead of Australia are Japan and Switzerland.

Australian National University's Centre for Research on Ageing Health and Wellbeing director Professor Kaarin Anstey, said as global life expectancy increases Australia typically sits in the top few.

"It does bounce around year to year, but Australia has got very life expectancy for men and women," Professor Anstey said.

"We have good public health systems, access to healthy food and we have treatment for chronic disease.

"It probably isn't any single factor. It's a whole lot of factors around having a wealthy, stable country with good health services and lifestyle."

Thirty years ago the numbers were quite different; males were about 73 years while females were just over 79 years.

POPULATION: We're a nation on the age rise according to the latest ABS Life Expectancy at Birth report.
POPULATION: We're a nation on the age rise according to the latest ABS Life Expectancy at Birth report. Australian Bureau of Statistics

Leaders and laggers

Both males and females born in the ACT have the highest life expectancy across Australia. Males have a life expectancy of 81.3 years and females is 85.2 years.

Professor Anstey said while there isn't a definitive answer to the ACT's status among the life statistics, but she has been running a longitudinal study where she has been following ACT people for 16 years.

"We do know quite a lot about their health and health habits," Professor Anstey said.

"We have noticed the decline in smoking and the increase in physical activity.

"We have slightly higher rates of higher education than the rest of the country and, on average, we have more disposable income.

"On the whole, in the ACT, life styles are better, there is less stress, less traffic, less pollution and probably all of these things contribute."

At the other end of the scale, the Northern Territory is lowest at 75.6 years for males and 78.7 years for females.

Overall, Australian females are recorded as having the highest life expectancy, ever. They are at 84.6 years while the highest, Japan, is recorded as 86.4 years.

Why are the overall numbers better?

"Life expectancy in Australia increased by 33.2 years for males and 33.7 years for females," the ABS report.

Improvements in everything from social and economic to living standards and health have impacted on these increases in the life expectancy numbers.

"There has been a major shift in causes of death from infectious diseases to chronic diseases within older age groups over the century," the ABS reports.

"This has resulted in larger gains in life expectancy over time for people aged 65 years and over.

"From 1890 to 2015, males aged 65 years and over shared 5.3% of total male life expectancy gain, which accelerated to 59.4% during 1997 to 2015.

"Similarly, the gain in life expectancy for females aged 65 years and over increased from 13.0% during 1890 to 2015 to 68.2% by 1997 to 2015."


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