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Canadians’ life expectancy continues to rise, according to the latest data from Statistics Canada (StatsCan).

StatsCan reports that, during the 2010-12 period, life expectancy at birth rose by 0.3 years for males to 79.4 years and by 0.2 years for females, to 83.6 years, compared with the 2009-11 period.

The gap between the life expectancy at birth for males and females is down to its lowest level since the end of the 1970s, StatsCan also notes. Back then, the gender gap was 7.5 years. For the 2010-12 period, it was down to 4.2 years.

The smaller gap “was partly due to a decrease in mortality rates linked to diseases that more frequently affected males in the past,” StatsCan reports. “In addition, women’s adoption of behaviour similar to those of men, such as in the labour market, also contributed to the narrowing of the gap over the previous three decades.”

Life expectancy also continues to rise among those aged 65 in 2010-12. For males that hit age 65 during this period, they could expect to live another 18.7 years, up by 0.1 years from 2009-11; and females could expect to live another 21.7 years, up by 0.2 years compared with the prior period.

By region, life expectancy at birth remains highest in British Columbia, at 80.2 years for males and 84.2 years for females. Conversely, it’s lowest for babies born in Nunavut, where it was just 69.3 years for males and 74.7 years for females.

Canada has one of the highest life expectancies in the world, StatsCan notes. Only Iceland, Israel, Switzerland and Australia have higher life expectancies for males, at 81 years each. For females, Japan (87 years), Spain (86 years), Australia, France, Italy, South Korea and Switzerland (85 years each) have a higher life expectancy.

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