Mortality – has the improvement died down?

Source: ABS

Mortality has been improving in Australia (and indeed most of the world) for a long time.  As my dad found out recently, the life expectancy at birth for a boy born in Australia has improved from 63 when he was born, to 79.7 years now.

But there is considerable debate about whether that will keep going. I posted here in 2009 that there appeared to be a plateau for the mortality statistics in 2008. In the 2009 statistics, there  some improvement, and in 2010, improvement seemed to slow down again. So what has happened in 2011? The statistics were released by the ABS in November, and here are a few snippets.

As you can see from the graph above, mortality has kept improving over the past 10 years. For both men and women, population mortality as a whole has improved, but it does look as if it is flattening off a bit. Interestingly, the plateau looks more pronounced for women than for men.

Source: ABS, actuarialeye analysis

For the population of working age, the improvement hasn’t been as good, but it is still happening. Mortality for both men and women has improved over the past 10 years.

There is continuing speculation as to whether the rise in obesity will lead to a worsening in health, and hence mortality.

So far, at least, when you look at the combination of all causes of death in Australia, the news is still good.