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Life Expectancy in Australia

The average life expectancy in Australia is over 80, but men and women vary slightly.

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What you need to know

  • Life expectancy in Australia is among the highest in the world, according to 2021 figures published by the Australian Bureau of Statistics and Australian Institute of Health and Welfare.
  • Life expectancy at birth was 81.2 years for males and 85.3 years for females in 2018-20.
  • Life expectancy for males has increased by 1.7 years and females by 1.3 years over the last 10 years.

Life expectancy in Australia

The graph below shows life expectancy in Australia based on the year you were born. As you can see from the table, the average life expectancy has gone up almost every year since records began.

What is the life expectancy in Australia?

In 2019 the average life expectancy at birth in Australia was 83 years, according to the World Health Organization.

In 2018-20, the average life expectancy for a male at birth was 81.2 years and 85.3 years for females, according to the ABS.

How life expectancy has changed over time

Life expectancy in Australia has improved dramatically for both men and women in the last century. The stats speak for themselves:

  • Australians born in 2017–2019 can expect to live around 30 years longer compared to 1881–1900.
  • Life expectancy for males increased by 1.7 years and females by 1.3 years in the past 10 years (2010-2020).
  • The life expectancy gap between males and females has narrowed from 6.2 years around 30 years ago to 4.1 years in 2018-20.

Life expectancy by country

Australia has the 6th highest life expectancy in the world, according to United Nation statistics. Only Japan, Switzerland, Singapore, Spain and Italy have higher life expectancies. Australia's male life expectancy came 5th in the world and female life expectancy 8th.

PersonsMalesFemales
Countryyearsrankyearsrankyearsrank
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)

Life expectancy by state

The Australian Capital Territory has the highest life expectancy for both males (76.2 years) and females (81.0 years). The Northern Territory had the lowest: 76.2 for males and 81 for females.

2008-20102018-2020Change over 10 years
State or territoryMalesFemalesMalesFemalesMalesFemales
ACT80.584.782.185.91.61.2
Vic.8084.381.985.81.91.5
WA79.784.381.385.71.61.4
NSW79.684.181.285.41.61.3
Aust.(a)79.58481.285.31.71.3
Qld79.483.980.685.11.21.2
SA79.483.880.785.21.31.4
Tas.7882.379.984.31.92
NT7479.276.2812.21.8

a. Includes Other Territories.

Indigenous Australian life expectancy

For those of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander descent, life expectancy is much lower. Indigenous males can expect to live 9 years less than other Australians, while indigenous females have an expected lifespan shorter by 8 years.

Life expectancy at birth fo Indigenous Australians was an estimated 71.6 years for males and 75.6 for females in 2015-17. This is a gap of 8.6 years and 7.8 years compared to non-Indigenous Australians.

Life expectancy has still increased overall for Indigenous Australians. Compared to 2005-2007, lifespans at birth in 2015-2017 increased by 4.4 years for males and 2.7 years for females.

Does life expectancy affect life insurance?

Yes. Life expectancy provides a forecast for a person's lifespan, and in essence allows insurance companies to weigh up the risk of death, and compensation being paid to beneficiaries.

As you reach certain stages in life, the risk of you dying changes and impacts the estimated years you have left to live. For instance, a 30 year old male born between 2018-20 is forecast to have a lifespan of 81.2 years. For someone born between 1960-62, that number is significantly lower at 67.9.

As a result, policies will be much more the older you get as your risk of death increases and the likelihood of a fund having to fork out compensation sooner grows.

When should I purchase life insurance?

The earlier you get life insurance, the cheaper it is likely to be. If you lock-in level premiums, they won't go up over time.

However, it's probably only worth getting life insurance if you have any financial responsibilities: for example, if you own a house, have a family who depend on you in any financial capacity or you have any debt or loans.

If any of these apply to you, you can compare life insurance policies side-by-side here.

FAQs about life expectancy in Australia

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