1.19 Life expectancy at birth

This measure reports on life expectancy at birth for Indigenous Australians.

Why is it important?

Life expectancy refers to the average number of years a person of a given age and sex can expect to live, if current age and sex specific death rates continue to apply throughout his or her lifetime. It is widely used internationally as a measure of the general health of populations. There is currently a large gap in life expectancy between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians. Social and economic factors such as poverty, racism, stressors, educational exposure and employment status affect the individual’s likelihood to engage in health risk behaviours as well as their access to the health system. These factors combined lead to increased risk of circulatory disease (Dong et al. 2004) and cancer (Kelly Irving et al. 2013) the leading causes of death.

Related measures

Data sources

  • Life tables, states, territories and Australia (ABS)


  • Dong M, Giles WH, Felitti VJ, Dube SR, Williams JE, Chapman DP et al. 2004. Insights into causal pathways for ischemic heart disease adverse childhood experiences study. Circulation 110:1761–6.
  • Kelly‑Irving M, Mabile L, Grosclaude P, Lang T & Delpierre C 2013. The embodiment of adverse childhood experiences and cancer development: potential biological mechanisms and pathways across the life course. International Journal of Public Health 58:3–11.7.