Indigenous Australians Still Dying Earlier Than Non-Indigenous People

13/11/2015 5:57 AM AEDT | Updated 15/07/2016 12:51 PM AEST
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Aboriginal flag painted on stone wall. Official flag of indigenous people of Australia Aborigines also called Aboriginal Australians. South Australia.

Indigenous Australians are living longer than ever, but still die 25 years earlier than the non-indigenous population.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics released its Deaths report for the 2014 year on Wednesday, revealing life expectancies at birth for both males and females has risen to its highest ever levels; 80.3 years for men, 84.4 years for women. The ABS said only six other countries in the world -- Japan, Italy, Switzerland, Iceland, Israel and Sweden -- can boast life expectancies over 80 years.

More than 153,000 people died in Australia in 2014, a four percent rise on 2013, including 78,000 men and 75,000 women. South Australia had the highest median death age, at 83; the Northern Territory the lowest median death age, at 63.

Age 88 saw the highest number of deaths. Infant mortality rates dropped to their lowest levels since at least 2004, with 1012 deaths of children under one year old.

However, it is the comparison between indigenous and non-indigenous life expectancies which makes the starkest reading in the ABS report. While life expectancy for indigenous women dipped slightly from a record high of 61.6 in 2013 to 61.5 in 2014, for indigenous men it jumped from 54.6 to a record high of 55.4 over the same period.

However, as mentioned, the gulf between the median age of death for indigenous and non-indigenous still a yawning gap. The median death age for non-indigenous men and women is 78.6 and 85 respectively, while the ages for indigenous men and women clock in at 55.4 and 61.5 -- a gap of 23.2 and 23.5 years respectively.

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