New Zealand has one of the highest life expectancy rates in
the world - but we should be living even longer, a senior
Anyone born in New Zealand is estimated to live past 80 on
average, according to figures released by the Central
Intelligence Agency that rank us with the 25th highest age
expectancy when compared to 221 other countries.
However, 100 years ago New Zealand led the world, demographer
Arvind Zodgekar said.
"We still have quite a good expectation of life. [But] access
to primary health care has become much, much harder for
middle and lower classes," said Mr Zodgekar, who is now
Wealthy Monaco, with a state-funded health system, has the
highest life expectancy at an average of 89.68 years.
Last on the list is the African state of Chad where the
average life expectancy is 48.69 years.
Mr Zodgekar said it was a positive result that New Zealand
should rank in the top 25, but it could be improved if access
to primary health care was made easier for people on lower
"The progress has slowed down compared to the other
countries," Mr Zodgekar said.
Evelyn Marsters, of the Centre for Development Studies at
University of Auckland, said the general life expectancy
figure did not properly reflect how some sectors of the
community were more disadvantaged.
Some ethnicity groups in New Zealand have not had their life
expectancy increase in the last 30 years, Ms Marsters said.
"A crude life expectancy measure isn't much in itself," she
"You need to break it down and look at gender and different
ethnicities, people in different jobs, to get a real idea of
where life expectancy is in New Zealand."
New Zealand women are expected to live until for 82.81 years,
compared to men at 78.7.
Average life expectancy is higher in Australia (81.9), Japan
(83.91) and Canada (81.48) but lower in America (78.49) and
the United Kingdom (80.17).
Life expectancy at birth
-Monaco (1st) 89.68 years
-Japan (3rd) 83.91
-Australia (9th) 81.90
-Canada (12th) 81.48
-New Zealand (25th) 80.71
-United Kingdom (30th) 80.17
-America (51st) 78.49
-Chad (225th) 48.69
Source: Central Intelligence Agency