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Gap closing in life expectancy

Tuesday 16 Apr 2013 12:37 p.m.

The life expectancy gap is closing between Maori and non-Maori, Statistics New Zealand says.

Figures released on Tuesday show non-Maori can still expect to live significantly longer than Maori, but the gap is closing.

Life expectancy at birth for Maori men based on death rates in 2010-2012 is now 72.8 years and 76.5 years for women, compared with a life expectancy of 80.2 years for non-Maori men and 83.7 years for non-Maori women.

The overall gap between Maori and non-Maori life expectancy is now 7.3 years, down from 8.2 years in 2005-07, 8.5 years in 2000-02 and 9.1 years in 1995-97.

Lower death rates for people aged 55-79 were critical in the improved life expectancy of Maori, the figures show.

The lower life expectancy for Maori reflected a much higher death rate from diabetes, heart disease, various cancers, transport accidents, hypertensive disease and assaults.

The life expectancy gap has also between closing for men and women overall; the gap of 3.7 years has come down considerably from the 6.4 year gap which existed in 1975-77.

Life expectancy for men overall was 79.3 years and for women was 83.0 years.

New Zealand's figures stacked up well internationally, with New Zealand having the 18th highest life expectancy in OECD countries for women, the ninth best for men and the 12th best overall.

NZN

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