At a glance
- Life expectancy was estimated to be 80.9 years for Queensland males and 85.1 years for females in 2019–2021.
- Queenslanders are living longer. Babies born in 2019–2021 are expected to live 4.0 years longer (males) and 2.8 years longer (females) than those born in 1999–2001.
Health adjusted life expectancy (HALE)
- HALE for Queenslanders born in 2018 was 70.7 (males) and 73.6 (females) years. This is about 10 years less than life expectancy.
- HALE increased between 2003 and 2018 nationally. On average those born in 2018 could expect to live 2.1 more years in full health than those born in 2003 and 1.2 more years in full health than those born in 2003 (females).
- HALE is shorter for regional Australians.
Health-related quality of life measures
- In 2022, the majority of adult Queenslanders rated their health as excellent, very good or good (83.4%). Older adults and those and living in the most socioeconomically disadvantaged were more likely to rate their health fair or poor self-rated health.
- In 2022, Queensland adults averaged 9.0 unhealthy days over the past 30 days. Females averaged 42% more unhealthy days than males (7.4 and 10.5, respectively) with younger females averaging 55% more unhealthy days than their male peers (7.5 and 11.6, respectively).
- From 2017 to 2022, the number of unhealthy days in the past 30 days increased by 1.4 days.
Queensland male life expectancy at birth reached 80.9 years in 2019–2021, increasing from 76.9 in two decades (1999–2001). Female life expectancy also increased to 85.1 from 82.3 years during the same period.1
Similarly, Australian male life expectancy at birth increased to 81.3 from 77.0 years from 1999–2001 to 2019–2021 respectively, while female life expectancy also increased to 85.4 from 82.4 years.
Queensland life expectancy ranked 5th among the eight states and territories in 2019–2021 for males and 6th for females.2
Figure 1: Life expectancy by state and territory, 2019–2021
|New South Wales||Males||81.4|
|New South Wales||Females||85.4|
|New South Wales||Persons||83.3|
|Australian Capital Territory||Males||82.7|
|Australian Capital Territory||Females||86.3|
|Australian Capital Territory||Persons||84.5|
Australian life expectancy ranks highly among the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries. Based on OECD data, Australia ranks 4th at 2022 of the participating countries (Figure 2).1,3
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a number of countries observed a reduction in their life expectancy.4,5 Australia and Queensland, on the other hand, saw a small improvement in the most recent estimate. This may change for 2022 deaths due to the higher number of deaths associated with the COVID-19 Omicron variant.
Health adjusted life expectancy
Health adjusted life expectancy (HALE) extends the concept of life expectancy and provides the time an individual at a specified age (typically at birth or at age 65 years) could expect to live in full health without disease or injury.6
- On average, approximately 88.3% of the years lived by male Queenslanders and 86.9% of the years lived by female Queenslanders in 2018 were in full health, similar to Australia.
- HALE for Queensland males and females born in 2018 was 70.7 and 73.6 years, respectively, some 10 years less than life expectancy.6
- HALE increased between 2003 and 2018 nationally and males experienced the greatest gains. On average those born in 2018 could expect to live 2.1 more years in full health than those born in 2003 (males) and 1.2 more years in full health than those born in 2003 (females).6
- Queenslanders age 65 years in 2018 could expect, on average, three-quarters of their remaining life to be lived in full health 74.8% for males and 72.7% for females.6
Remoteness and socioeconomic differences
- HALE at birth for Australians living in remote and very remote areas was 5.1 and 5.2 years shorter than those living in major cities in 2018 for males and females, respectively.6
- HALE at birth for Australian males and females in 2018 living in the most socioeconomically disadvantaged areas was 6.8 and 5.9 years shorter, respectively, than for those in the least disadvantaged areas.6
Self-rated health (SRH) is associated with mortality, treatment outcomes, and future functional ability. These relationships vary by age, gender, social class, health status, country and culture.7
- In 2022, 83.4% of Queensland adults rated their health as excellent, very good or good. The proportion was slightly higher for males (84.6%) than for females (82.3%).
- Generally, younger Queenslanders rated their health more favourably than older people. While 91.2% of 18 to 29 year olds reported that their health was excellent, very good or good, this reduced to 73.5% for adults 65 years and over (Figure 3).
- Regional differences were evident with a larger percentage of adults living in the most socioeconomically advantaged areas rating their health positively (88.4%) compared to those living in the most disadvantaged areas (74.8%).
One of the many measures of health-related quality of life (HRQoL) is the number of days a person assessed themselves to be in good health. It is an easily interpreted metric for policy applications.8
This instrument asks people’s physical and mental health status over the previous 30 days and results are reported as the number of unhealthy days.
Internationally, healthy days results have proved useful for monitoring population health and understanding demographic and socioeconomic disparities, burden of illness and disability, and relationship between health and modifiable risk factors.9
In Queensland, the number of healthy days was associated with sociodemographic differences, modifiable risk factors and population-level hospitalisations.10
- In 2022, Queensland adults averaged a total of 9.0 unhealthy days in the past 30 days (Figure 4). This includes an average of 4.9 physical unhealthy days and 5.7 mental unhealthy days.
- In the 5-year period (2017–2022), the number of unhealthy days increased by 1.4 days—from an average of 7.6 to 9.0 unhealthy days for Queensland adults.
- Younger females in particular showed an increase over the period, where the total unhealthy days increased from 7.6 days to 11.6 days for 18 to 29 year old females (Figure 5). This was strongly driven by the increase in mental unhealthy days, which increased from 5.4 days to 9.1 days.
Additional information for self-rated health and healthy days measures is available from Queensland Health’s Preventive health surveys webpage. This includes regional results (Hospital and Health Services and local government areas) as well as results from past surveys.
Visit the AIHW's Burden of Disease page for more information about HALE.
- Queensland Government Statistician’s Office. 2022. Life expectancy at birth (years) by sex, Queensland and Australia, 1881–1890 to 2019–2021. Accessed: 16 March 2023.
- Australian Bureau of Statistics. 2022. Life Tables, 2019-2021. Accessed: 10 November 2022.
- OECD. 2022. Life expectancy at birth.
- Kuehn B.M. 2022. COVID-19 Cuts Life Expectancy in Dozens of Countries. JAMA. 327(3): 209. doi: 10.1001/jama.2021.24595.
- Woolf S.H., Masters R.K. & Aron L.Y. 2021. Effect of the covid-19 pandemic in 2020 on life expectancy across populations in the USA and other high income countries: simulations of provisional mortality data. BMJ. n1343. doi: 10.1136/bmj.n1343
- Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. 2021. Australian Burden of Disease Study: Impact and causes of illness and death in Australia 2018. doi: 10.25816/5PS1-J259.
- Jylhä M. 2009. What is self-rated health and why does it predict mortality? Towards a unified conceptual model. Social Science & Medicine. 69(3): 307–316. doi: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2009.05.013.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 2000. Measuring Healthy Days. Atlanta, Georgia.: CDC.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 2021. Health-Related Quality of Life (HRQOL). Accessed: 28 September 2022.
- Queensland Health. 2020. Health-related quality of life in Queensland: Relationship with risk factors and hospitalisations. Brisbane: Queensland Government.