How do we compare with similar countries?

Australia matches or performs better than many other comparable countries on selected measures of health. Compared with 35 member countries of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), we have:

  • the fifth highest life expectancy at birth for males and the eighth highest for females
  • one of the lowest rates of smoking among people aged 15 and over
  • a better than average rate of colon cancer survival, ranking third best.

However, there is also room for improvement. Australia ranked in the worst third of OECD countries for obesity among people aged 15 and over, and our alcohol consumption is slightly above the OECD average.

Australia’s ranking among OECD countries for selected health measures

This figure shows that Australia performed ranked in the best third among OECD countries for life expectancy at birth for both males and females. Australia performed in the middle third for alcohol consumption and in the worst third for obesity. 
Australia ranked in the middle third for health care expenditure, practicing doctors and hospital beds. And in the best third for practising nurses.

Find out more: Chapter 1.5 ‘International comparisons’ in Australia’s health 2018.