Source: The Mercury, 24 December, 1998, p.7
By DAVID LUFF AUSTRALIANS can ex- pect to live long lives, with official statistics yesterday revealing life expectancy is among the highest in the world. Heart disease and cancer stood out as the biggest kill- ers of Australians, account- ing for more than half of the deaths registered last year, according to a new report. The Australian Bureau of Statistics report also showed married people live longer than single Australians. Unmarried adult men died at rates up to four times higher than wedded males. Single women also died at a higher rate than married women, but the margin was less significant. Life expectancy has im- proved during the past 25 years, adding seven years to the life of the average Aust- ralian woman and eight years to male life expectancy. Aust- ralian babies now have a better chance of survival than at any time on record. A boy born in Australia can expect to live for 75.6 years while a baby girl's life expect- ancy is 81.3 years. Australians are among the most "long-lived" people in the world, with life expectan- cies approaching the world's best in Japan, Sweden, Hong Kong and Switzerland. Australians born overseas have significantly lower death rates, particularly mi- grants from Italy, Greece, Vietnam, Phillipines, Malay- sia and China. Heart disease accounts for 28% of deaths and cancer is the cause of death in 27% of cases. External causes-includ- ing car accidents, falls, drowning, violence, poisoning and suicide-account for 6%, or one in 16 deaths. Accidents are the prime cause of death for Aust- ralians aged up to 44 years. Australia's death rates are generally uniform across the country, expect for the North- ern Territory. The high pro- portion of Aboriginal resi- dents in the Top End left the Northern Territory with a death rate 58% higher than the national average.
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