source : www.news.com.au
For the first time in a generation, Australians’ life expectancy has fallen – and it’s all thanks to a pandemic that has turned the world upside down.
Shane Oliver, AMP’s chief economist, says immigration levels in Australia have reached the point where they are “far too high” and this is driving costs into the economy. “We owe this record population growth to record levels of immigration and that of course keeps demand at levels it would otherwise be,” he told Sky News Australia. “Even though individuals may be struggling, there is still aggregate demand because of that strong population growth and that obviously affects the demand for services, which also affects services inflation,” he said. Mr Oliver said the influx of migrants is adding to inflationary pressures and will influence the Reserve Bank of Australia’s interest rate decision in November. The Reserve Bank will meet next Tuesday to decide whether to raise interest rates for the 13th time since May 2022.
While Australians still have the third highest life expectancy in the world, behind only Monaco and Japan, the pandemic has shortened the average lifespan by just over a month in the 2020-2022 period, the Australian Bureau of Statistics said on Wednesday.
The data shows that a boy born today is expected to live to 81.2 years, and a girl will live more than four years longer, to 85.3 years.
During the first two years of the pandemic, all-cause mortality rates reached record lows due to the implementation of a series of public health measures to limit the spread of the virus.
But an extra 20,000 deaths in 2022 – half of which were caused by Covid-19 – pushed the three-year average life expectancy 0.1 year lower.
The agency’s head of demography, Beidar Cho, said that while there was a relatively large increase in deaths, the effect on life expectancy was limited.
“Despite Australia’s slightly lower life expectancy, it is still higher than before the pandemic and remains one of the highest in the world,” Ms Cho said.
“We expect most new babies in Australia today will survive into the 22nd century.”
The Australian Capital Territory had the highest life expectancy: 82.2 years for men and 86 years for women.
Meanwhile, the Northern Territory had the lowest life expectancy: 76.2 years for men and 80.7 years for women.
However, the gap between the Northern Territory and the national average has narrowed, the ABS said, with life expectancy at the higher end showing the biggest gains of any state and territory over the past 30 years.
The federal government’s latest Intergenerational Report, published in August, shows Australians can expect to live longer, with life expectancy expected to rise to 87 years for men and 89.5 years for women by 2062-63.
With Australians living longer and having fewer children, the number of people aged over 65 is expected to double, the report said, while the number of people aged 85 and over will triple from current levels.
The demographic shift is expected to require higher government spending on aged care and support services, the Intergenerational Report said.
source : www.news.com.au