The findings were contained in a study designed to enhance understanding of how long Australians are currently living, whether we can expect Australians to continue to live to increasingly older ages and how these trends have changed over time.


Data in the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) report shows that over the past five decades, life expectancy in Australia has increased by 13.7 years for males (to 81.3 years) and by 11.2 years for females (to 85.4 years).


Centenarian (people aged 100 or older) deaths experienced unprecedented growth from 1 in 1,214 deaths to 1 in 72 deaths between 1964 and 2021. In other words, an increase from 0.08 percent to 1.40 percent.


AIHW spokesperson Richard Juckes says while there’s no clear answer to the question, “How long can Australians live?”, it’s clear that average life expectancy is increasing.


“From externally validated records, the oldest living person in Australia was female and believed to have died at age 114 in 2002. In comparison, the oldest living Australian male died at 111 years in 2021,” he says.


The oldest living person globally is believed to have died at 122 years in 1997 in France.


Juckes believes the increased life expectancy in Australia is largely attributable to improved medical knowledge and technology, health care availability (such as widespread accessibility to antibiotics and vaccines), improved living conditions and overall better quality of life.


The data also showed the median age at death has increased by 11.5 years for males (to 79.6 years) and by 10.9 years for females (to 84.9 years). In the decade to 2021, the most common age at death was 87 years for males and 91 years for females.