Socioeconomic outcome area 1

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people enjoy long and healthy lives

TARGET 1

Close the Gap in life expectancy within a generation, by 2031

The data below are the most recent at the time of preparing the July 2021 report.
Please go to the Dashboard to access the current data.

Nationally, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander boys born in 2015–2017 are expected to live to 71.6 years and girls to 75.6 years, and non-Indigenous boys and girls to 80.2 years and 83.4 years respectively (figure CtG1.1). This results in a gap of 8.6 years for boys and 7.8 years for girls.

Nationally, based on the most recent year of data, the target is not on track to be met.

Figure CtG1.1 displays the life expectancy of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and non-Indigenous people. The aim under Closing the Gap is to close the gap in life expectancy between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and non-Indigenous males and females by 2031. The trajectories incorporate assumptions of future increases in both Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and non-Indigenous life expectancy. The gap in years at 2005-2007 (the baseline) was 11.4 years for boys and 9.5 years for girls. The gap in years at 2015-2017 (the most recent period) was 8.6 years for boys and 7.8 years for girls – wider than the trajectory gaps of 6.9 years and 5.7 years respectively. While improvements in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander life expectancy have narrowed the gap, based on the current trend the target is not on track to be met.
  Caution is required when interpreting trends in life expectancy estimates, because of changes in Indigenous identification across data collection and over time, and variation across geographies and socioeconomic groups.

The assessment below reflects progress from the baseline year to the current year (ie improvement or otherwise in life expectancy). This differs to the national assessment against the trajectory (above), which compares the current year gaps to non-Indigenous males and females, to the gaps on the target trajectories at the same time period.The assessment (taking into account variability in the data) indicates ‘improvement’ from the baseline years in the life expectancy of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander males in Queensland, the NT and nationally, with ‘no change’ in NSW and WA. 
  The assessment (taking into account variability in the data) indicates ‘improvement’ from the baseline years in the life expectancy of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander females in Queensland and nationally, while there was ‘no change’ in NSW, WA and the NT. 
  Life expectancy data for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are not available for Victoria, SA, Tasmania and the ACT.

Target data specifications

Target 1: Close the Gap in life expectancy within a generation

Outcome:

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people enjoy long and healthy lives.

Target:

Close the Gap in life expectancy within a generation, by 2031.

Indicator:

Life expectancy.

Measure:

This measure is defined as:

The average number of years that a newborn baby could expect to live, if they experienced the age/sex specific death rates that applied at their birth throughout their lifetimes.

Target established:

National Agreement on Closing the Gap July 2020

Latest dashboard update:

23 June 2021

Indicator type:

Target

Interpretation of change:

A high or increasing life expectancy is desirable. An increase from the baseline year is an improvement.

Data source(s):

Name: ABS Life Tables for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians

Frequency: Five-yearly

Documentation (links): https://www.abs.gov.au/statistics/people/aboriginal-and-torres-strait-islander-peoples/life-tables-aboriginal-and-torres-strait-islander-australians/

Data provider:

Provider name: Australian Bureau of Statistics

Provider area: Demography

Baseline year:

2006 (3-year average of 2005-2007)

Target year:

2031 (3-year average of 2030-2032)

Disaggregations:

Selected states and territories and Australia, by Indigenous status, by sex.

Computation:

Counting rules

Direct estimation of the life expectancy gap at birth between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and non-Indigenous people using the average number of deaths in the relevant three-year period and the estimated resident population (ERP) at the mid-point of that 3-year period, with adjustments for incomplete identification by Indigenous status.

The Australian headline life expectancy estimates are calculated taking age-specific identification rates into account.

The Australian total includes all states and territories (including Other Territories).

Supporting calculations

The difference in life expectancy estimates between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and non-Indigenous people, and confidence intervals (upper and lower limits). Calculation of differences are based on unrounded estimates.

Data quality considerations:

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and non-Indigenous life tables are based on ERP (ABS 2017) (based on the Census of Population and Housing and the Census Post Enumeration Survey), death registration information provided by the State/Territory Registrars of Births, Deaths and Marriages, and the ABS Census Data Enhancement Indigenous Mortality Quality Study.

Life expectancy estimates by Indigenous status are produced for NSW, Queensland, WA and the NT only. These estimates are calculated without taking age-specific identification rates into account. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander estimates of life expectancy are not produced for Victoria, SA, Tasmania and the ACT due to the small number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander deaths reported in these jurisdictions.

Caution is required when interpreting trends in life expectancy estimates, because of changes in Indigenous identification across data collection and over time, and variation across geographies and socioeconomic groups.

Future reporting:

Additional disaggregations required for future reporting:

  • Remoteness areas
  • Socioeconomic status of the locality.

Supporting indicators

Driver

  • All-cause mortality
  • Leading causes of death
    Infant mortality, child mortality, and five-yearly age groups
  • Potential avoidable mortality rates
  • Prevalence rates of health risk factors
    Smoking, alcohol and drug use, overweight and obese, dietary factors, physical activity
  • Rates of accessing/utilisation of health services
    General Practitioner (GP) visits, health assessments (Medicare Benefit 715), chronic disease care items (Team Care arrangement and GP Management Plan)

Contextual information

  • Hospitalisation rates by leading causes
  • Discharge against medical advice
  • Burden of disease from socioeconomic factors

The Productivity Commission acknowledges the Traditional Owners of Country throughout Australia and their continuing connection to land, waters and community. We pay our respects to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Cultures, Country and Elders past and present.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people should be aware that this website may contain images, voices or names of people who have passed away.