Life Expectancy in Australia

Find out how life expectancy has increased over the last half-century and how Australia compares to the rest of the world.

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What is life expectancy?

The term life expectancy is used to define how long someone will live, on average. It is also used by experts to gauge population health on the whole as well as life insurance companies to assess your premiums. Life expectancy is determined by a range of statistics and data used to measure the likely age people will die. This is achieved by analysis of current age and sex-specific mortality rates.

It's also important to note that socio-economic factors like race, income and day-to-day working and living conditions could impact an individual's life expectancy.

Life expectancy in Australia

Your life expectancy will change based on your date of birth and your current age. To keep it simple, we looked at the average life expectancy in Australia at the age of zero (at birth).

Year of birthLife expectancy at birth
196070.82
196170.97
196270.94
196370.91
196470.88
196570.85
196670.82
196770.87
196870.92
196970.97
197071.02
197171.07
197271.46
197371.85
197472.24
197572.63
197673.01
197773.34
197873.67
197974.00
198074.33
198174.66
198274.90
198375.15
198475.39
198575.63
198675.87
198776.15
198876.43
198976.71
199076.99
199177.28
199277.38
199377.88
199477.88
199577.83
199678.08
199778.48
199878.63
199978.93
200079.23
200179.63
200279.94
200380.24
200480.49
200580.84
200681.04
200781.29
200881.40
200981.54
201081.70
201181.90
201282.05
201382.15
201482.30
201582.45
201684.60
201784.60
Life expectancy
201680.4
201780.5
1960-19622011-2013
Current ageLife expectancyEstimated years leftLife expectancyEstimated years left
Birth67.967.980.180.1
169.568.580.479.4
1570.155.180.565.5
2570.845.880.855.8
4572.427.481.836.8
6577.512.584.219.2
8589.14.191.16.1
9597.32.397.92.9
Life expectancy
201684.6
201784.6
1960-19622011-2013
Current ageLife expectancyEstimated years leftLife expectancyEstimated years left
Birth74.274.284.384.3
175.574.584.683.6
15766184.769.7
2576.351.384.959.9
4577.432.485.440.4
6580.715.787.122.1
8589.84.892.17.1
9597.62.698.33.3

Are Australians living longer?

Australia has long been called the "lucky country" and keeping in tune with this title, life expectancy has continued to increase for Australians. Quality of life is on the rise, with living conditions improving thanks to advancements in vital sectors like health care.

Government data shows the lifespan of both sexes has increased. People born in 2015–2017 are now tipped to live to around 33–34 years longer than Australians born between 1880 and 1890.

Males born in 2015–2017 are expected to live nearly twice as long as those born in 1881–1890. Women born in the same time are expected to live an extra four years than their contemporary male counterparts to 84 years, compared to 50 years old for women born between 1881 and 1890.

In 2015–2017, 65-year-old men and women both saw significant increases, with men expecting an additional 20 years of life, and women 22 years.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders

The above stats only apply to non-indigenous Australians. 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 has still increased overall for indigenous Australians. Compared to 2005-2007, indigenous lifespans at birth in 2015-2017 increased by 4 years for males and 3 years for females.

What factors affect life expectancy?

How is it calculated?

Researchers use what's called a life expectancy table to forecast when someone will die according to current age and sex-specific death rates. Your life expectancy is calculated on the average age of death within a population at any given time, and is inversely related to the population's death rates at that time.

  • Rule of thumb: low death rates = longer life span for that population.

Why does age affect life expectancy?

It's important to understand that an individual's life expectancy changes as they reach new stages of life, like surviving birth, childhood and adolescence.

What factors lead to a higher life expectancy?

A higher life expectancy is generally attributed to factors like low infant and child deaths, and also an ageing population due to advancements in the healthcare sector.

Note: The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) assesses the mortality rates from three years worth of data to help alleviate any variations in death rates from year to year.

Does life expectancy affect life insurance?

An individual's age and current date does influence how much you'll pay for the cost of a life insurance policy, as it provides a timeline for when an individual is likely to die. In insurance terms, this 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.

Here's how it works

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 15-year-old male in 2015–2017 is forecast to have a lifespan of 80.9 years of age (65.9 more years).
  • A male who is 45 in the year of 2015-2017 is forecasted to live to 82 years of age (37 more years).

This means the cost of a policy will be significantly more as you get older (and the risk of death increases) and the likelihood of a fund having to fork out compensation sooner grows.

When should I purchase life insurance?

As a rule of thumb, remember that lower death rates equals a longer life span for that population. So generally, the earlier you secure life insurance the cheaper it will be, as your life expectancy is generally longer.

It's a good idea to remember that insurers will also take into account health conditions and lifestyle when assessing your premium.

Life expectancy in Australia vs the rest of the world

In 2017 life expectancy at birth was 82.5 years.

Life expectancy in Australia vs the USA (2017)

AustraliaUnited States of America
82.578.6

Life expectancy in Australia vs the UK (2017)

AustraliaUnited Kingdom
82.581.3

Top life expectancies across the world (2017)

Australians enjoy the sixth longest lifespan of countries across the globe, with both males and females on average among the top 10.

CountryMalesCountryFemales
Switzerland81.7Japan87.1
Italy81.0Spain86.3
Japan81.0Italy85.6
Israel80.7Switzerland85.6
Norway80.7France85.5
Sweden80.6Korea85.4
Spain80.5Luxembourg85.4
Australia80.4Australia84.6
Iceland80.4Finland84.4
Luxembourg80.1Portugal84.3

Statistics compiled by the members of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development show that for females born in the country in 2017, the likely age they would die is 85 years of age. This was ranked eighth best in the world among OECD members. Aussie men also ranked eighth with a lifespan of 80 years.

That same year, Australia came in sixth among the OECD, with men and women in a combined group estimated to live to around 83 years of age.

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