According to this article in the Guardian, while Australians have among the highest life expectancy in the world, premature deaths associated with inequality and living in remote and regional areas are contributing to a stagnation in the nation’s overall life expectancy.
Data examining Australians’ life expectancy found people living in outer regional, remote and very remote areas had premature death rates about 40% higher than those in major cities.
Researchers from the University of Melbourne analysed de-identified death registration data from the decade to the end of 2016. The data recorded age of death and place of residence, allowing analysts to match it to location remoteness and socioeconomic profile.
They found premature deaths between the ages of 35 and 74 occurred in the lowest socioeconomic areas at double the rate of those in the highest. This gap widened by 26% for women and 14% for men. People living in outer regional, remote and very remote areas had premature death rates about 40% higher than those in major cities, and this gap was also increasing, the research published in the peer-reviewed journal, Australian Population Studies, on Monday found.
The overall life expectancy for Australia is 80.5 years for men and 84.6 years for women. The study found the highest excess mortality compared with the national average was reported for the Northern Territory, Hobart, outer regional, remote and very remote areas in New South Wales. Notably, death rates between the ages of 35 and 74 among the lowest area socioeconomic quintile and outside of major cities have not fallen since 2011.