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1370.0 - Measures of Australia's Progress, 2010  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 15/09/2010   
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Health

Life expectancy at birth - selected OECD countries
Graph Image for Life expectancy at birth - selected OECD countries

Source(s): OECD Health Data 2010 ISSN 20743963 (online)

Infant mortality rate(a) - selected OECD countries
Graph Image for Infant mortality rate(a) - selected OECD countries

Footnote(s): (a) Deaths per 1,000 live births (b) 1996 for Korea. (c) 2007 for Canada and Korea. 2006 for United States of America.

Source(s): OECD Health Data 2010 ISSN 20743963 (online)

INTERNATIONAL COMPARISONS

Life expectancy at birth

In 2007, Australians were among the longest lived OECD members, ranking fourth in life expectancy at birth for the total population (81 years). Australia was ranked sixth in the OECD for female life expectancy at birth (84 years) and fourth in male life expectancy (79 years).

Japan reported the longest life expectancy in 2007 for females: a girl born in Japan could expect to live for 86 years. Switzerland had the longest male life expectancy (80 years) in 2007. In 2007, Turkey had the lowest life expectancy of all OECD countries for females (76 years), and the Slovak Republic had the lowest life expectancy for males (71 years).

Of the OECD countries for which information is available, Korea experienced the greatest increase in life expectancy for both males and females during the period 1997-2007, where life expectancy for females increased from 78 years in 1997 to 83 years in 2007, and from 71 years in 1997 to 76 years in 2007 for men.

Infant mortality rate

Australia's infant mortality rate was 4.1 infant deaths per 1,000 live births in 2008. Luxembourg had the lowest infant mortality rate in the OECD with a rate of 1.8 per 1,000 live births. The two countries with markedly higher infant mortality rates than any other OECD countries were Turkey and Mexico with infant mortality rates of 17.0 per 1,000 live births and 15.2 per 1,000 live births respectively.

Given its overall wealth and level of development, the United States has a relatively high infant mortality rate at 6.7 per 1,000 live births in 2006 (latest available data), the fourth highest rate in the OECD. Factors such as the high level of teenage pregnancy and lack of free prenatal and perinatal care in the United States have been suggested as contributory factors underlying the higher observed infant mortality rate (OECD 2005).

All OECD countries achieved reductions in their infant mortality rate in the period between 1998 and 2008. Turkey, Portugal and Poland had large reductions in their infant mortality rate during this period. Infant mortality in Turkey went from 36.5 to 17.0 per 1,000 live births, in Poland from 9.5 to 5.6 per 1,000 live births, and in Portugal from 6.0 to 3.3 per 1,000 live births.

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