DON’T get out the balloons and whistles just yet. While the average Aussie male born from now on can expect to receive a ‘‘Happy 80th Birthday!’’ card, men born in the Hunter aren’t quite there yet.
According to the latest figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, the average Australian male’s life expectancy at birth has topped 80 years for the first time.
With that development Australia joins a handful of other lucky countries including Switzerland, Japan and Iceland, where both men and women have a life expectancy of over 80 years.
But the Hunter region is lagging a little bit behind.
Men born in the Hunter Valley and Newcastle or Lake Macquarie have an average life expectancy of 79.1 years, while women are expected to hang on a little bit longer, until 83 or 84.
As you’d expect from those figures, more people are dying in the Hunter, on average, compared to most other places in the state – although death rates have improved over the past decade.
Cessnock is home to the 10th highest death rate in NSW, at 7.4per 100,000 people compared to the state average of 5.6. Next in line – on 2013 statistics – are the Upper Hunter Shire (7.0), Dungog (6.7), Singleton (6.5), Newcastle (6.4), Lake Macquarie (6.0), Great Lakes (5.9), Maitland and Muswellbrook (5.7).
You may regard yourself as living in the lucky country in the Port Stephens or Gloucester areas, where the death rates were 5.5 and 5.2 respectively, both below the national and the NSW averages.
The lowest NSW death rate in 2013 was recorded by the Snowy River local government area of 3.6.