Women still live longer, but men are closing the life expectancy gap

Life expectancy for males is increasing at a faster rate than that of females, according to data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

Nov 04, 2020, updated Nov 04, 2020
Life expectancy in Australia is improving

Life expectancy in Australia is improving

The ABS said a boy born today could expect to live to 80.9 years and a girl to 85.0 years.

“Male life expectancy has increased by 0.2 years since 2016-2018, and by 1.6 years in the past 10 years. Female life expectancy has increased by 0.1 years since 2016-2018, and by 1.1 years in the past decade,” ABS demography director Lauren Ford said.

Life expectancy for males has improved at a faster rate than that for females. Around 30 years ago (1988), life expectancy at birth in Australia was 73.1 years for males and 79.5 years for females, a gap of 6.4 years. The gap has now narrowed to 4.1 years in 2017-2019.

“Australians have a higher life expectancy than comparable countries, such as New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the USA,” Ford said.

Today an Australian male aged 50 years can expect to live another 32.9 years, and a female another 36.3 years.

“This is longer than life expectancies at birth, as most 50 year olds have successfully made it through the first several decades of life”.

Victoria recorded the highest male life expectancy (81.8 years), followed by the Australian Capital Territory (81.6 years), Western Australia (80.9 years), New South Wales (80.7 years), South Australia (80.4 years), Queensland (80.3 years) and Tasmania (79.5 years).

The Australian Capital Territory recorded the highest female life expectancy (85.6 years), closely followed by Victoria (85.5 years) and Western Australia (85.4 years), then New South Wales (85.0 years), Queensland (84.8 years), South Australia (84.7 years) and Tasmania (83.6 years).

The Northern Territory recorded the lowest life expectancy for both males and females (75.5 years and 80.6 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 decade (2.2 years and 1.6 years).

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