Want to live longer? Maybe you should move to the ACT

A RECORD number of Australians died last year - but the good news is we are living longer than ever.

Deaths, Australian 2011, released on Thursday by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, showed there were almost 147,000 deaths nationwide last year - an increase of 14.3% on 10 years ago and 2.4% more than 2010.

But it is worth noting Australia's population grew by an almost identical rate in the past decade, 14.2% (3.2 million).

The report also revealed the standardised death rate - the number of deaths per 1000 people - had fallen from 6.6 in 2001 to 5.6 in 2011.

In terms of life expectancy the report showed estimates had continued to rise in Australia over the past decade.

Bjorn Jarvis, director of demography at the ABS, said Australia's combined life expectancy rates compared well with other developed countries.

"The big news is life expectancies are at all-time highs, with Australian boys born today expected to live 79.7 years while girls could expect to live 84.2 years," Mr Jarvis said.

"A male currently aged 65 could expect to live a further 19 years and female a further 22 years.

"Comparatively Australia is doing really well. Our male and female combined life expectancy figure of 81.4 years is higher than the rate in the UK, Canada, New Zealand and the USA according to United Nations estimates."

People living in the Australian Capital Territory enjoy the highest life expectancy in the country - 81 for men and 84.8 for women.

In Queensland men are estimated to live to 79.5 years and women 84.1, while in New South Wales the estimates are 79.8 and 84.2 years respectively.

The Northern Territory had the lowest estimates with 74.9 for men and 80.5 for women.

Importantly infant mortality rates - the number of deaths per 1000 live births - have increased dramatically since 2001.

Australia's infant mortality rate was 5.3 in 2001, but by 2011 had dropped to 3.8.

It was a trend reflected across all the states and territories in vary degrees.

The NSW infant mortality rate mirrored the Australian figure, while in Queensland it dropped from 5.9 in 2001 to 4.6 last year.

Northern Territory had the biggest fall, from 10.7 a decade ago to 7.6.

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