New Estimates Of Indigenous Life Expectancy Released: Abs

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25th May 2009, 01:32pm - Views: 888

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New estimates of Indigenous life expectancy released: ABS

Life expectancy at birth of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (Indigenous) Australians was 67.2

years for men and 72.9 years for women for 2005–2007, according to experimental figures

released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

The ABS reported that the life expectancy of Indigenous men is 11.5 years lower than for non-

Indigenous men, while life expectancy of Indigenous women is 9.7 years lower than for non-

Indigenous women.

In releasing the data today, the ABS noted that the life expectancy estimates were derived using a

new method which drew on information from the ABS Indigenous Mortality Quality Study

conducted in 2006-07 as part of the Census Data Enhancement Project.  The availability of that

information considerably improved the quality and robustness of the estimates.  Previously

published Indigenous life expectancy estimates had been derived using methods based on a range

of assumptions and those estimates were very sensitive to the assumptions made.

Australian Statistician Brian Pink said "The ABS has made significant improvements to statistics

about a matter of national concern," but he warned, "due to the considerable methodological

changes, the current estimates can’t be compared with the previously published 1996-2001 life

expectancy estimates and the differences in the estimates should not be interpreted as changes in

Indigenous life expectancy over time".    

At the state/territory level, estimates could only be compiled for New South Wales, Queensland,

Western Australia and Northern Territory. Of these New South Wales had the highest life

expectancy for Indigenous men (69.9 years) and women (75.0 years). The Northern Territory had

the lowest life expectancy for Indigenous men (61.5 years) and women (69.2 years).

Further details are available in Experimental Life Tables for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander

Australians, 2005–2007 (cat. no. 3302.0.55.003) available for free download from the ABS website

Media Notes- 

Life expectancy at birth refers to the average number of years a group of new-born babies could

expect to live, if they experienced the 2005–2007 death rates throughout their lifetimes. This does

not equate to how long any one person or group of persons will actually live, as life expectancy is

calculated using current death rates and does not account for any future changes in death rates. 

Please ensure when reporting on ABS data that you attribute the Australian Bureau of

Statistics (or the ABS) as the source.


Media requests and interviews:

Corporate Communications 1300 175 070

Statistical clarification: 

Matthew Montgomery (02) 6252 6487

25 May, 2009

Embargoed 11.30 am (AEST)


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