Luck at birth can mean a longer life


The economic and social divide has far-reaching impacts on life, with research revealing a boy born into the most advantaged parts of Australia will live almost nine years longer than one born into the most disadvantaged. Source: The Age.

Compiled by the Australian Government Actuary for the Centre for Population, the research also confirms that the home into which girls are born has a vital impact on their lifespans that barely changes through the teenage, middle age and twilight years.

It has prompted health experts to urge the Australian Government to use the lessons of the COVID-19 pandemic, by providing a better “living wage” to the most disadvantaged to narrow the life gap across society.

The Government Actuary broke down average lifespans based on socio-economic background for men and women, at birth, at age 25, 65 and 85.

At birth, a boy born in the most socially disadvantaged 10 per cent of the population can expect an average lifespan of 75.9 years. But one born in the most socially-advantaged 10 per cent of population can look forward to 84.6 years.

At age 25, the gap is even wider. The most socially disadvantaged men can expect another 51.6 years of life while among the top 10 per cent, young men can expect another 60.1 years.

By age 65 the gap narrows to a little over four years and at age 85 there is still a gap, albeit just eight months.

It’s a similar story among women. A girl born in the most socially disadvantaged circumstances has an average lifespan of 81.2 years compared to 87.6 years for socially-advantaged girls.

At 25, the gap is almost six years (56.8 years versus 62.5 years) while by age 65 the gap narrows to three. At 85, there is still a gap of months.


Australia’s age gap: luck at birth can mean nine years extra life (By Shane Wright, The Age

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