Life expectancy in Australia has declined for the first time in almost 30 years due to deaths from the Covid-19 pandemic, the national statistics bureau said on Wednesday.
According to data published by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), life expectancy for all Australians fell by 0.1 years between 2020 and 2022.
As a result, an Australian female born in 2022 was expected to live 85.3 years -- down from 85.4 in 2021, and a male 81.2 years -- down from 81.3 in 2021.
It marks the first time that Australia's life expectancy has declined since 1995 when newborn females were expected to live 80.8 years and males 75 years.
Beidar Cho, head of demography at the Canberra-based ABS, said in a statement that the fall could be attributed to a spike in deaths in Australia due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
"This is the first time that deaths across all three years of the Covid-19 pandemic have been used in calculating life expectancy. The first two years of the pandemic had the two lowest mortality rates on record from all causes, however, in 2022 the number of deaths increased by 20,000, with close to 10,000 of these being due to Covid-19," she said.
The impact of the increase in deaths on life expectancy was minimal because, according to ABS data, 56 per cent of all deaths in 2022 were of people aged 80 years and over, Cho said.
Despite the drop, she noted that Australia's life expectancy was higher in 2022 than pre-pandemic and among the highest in the world.
The Australian Capital Territory (ACT) had the highest life expectancy for both females and males in 2022 -- 86.0 years and 82.2 years, respectively, and the Northern Territory (NT) had the lowest.
However, the NT has had the largest gains in life expectancy for both females and males of any state or territory over the past 30 years. (IANS)