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Life expectancy at birth continued to rise, reaching a new high of 80.9 years during the three-year period from 2006 to 2008. This was up 0.2 years from 2005-2007.

Life expectancy at birth was above the national average in three provinces: British Columbia (81.4 years), Ontario (81.3 years) and Quebec (81.0 years).

The lowest life expectancy at birth was recorded in the three territories combined (75.2 years).

Life expectancy among seniors at the age of 65 has also been on an upward trend for several years. Life expectancy at age 65 reached 20.0 years in 2006-2008, up 0.2 years compared with 2005-2007.

In 2006-2008, men's life expectancy at birth was 78.5 years, up 0.2 years from 2005-2007. Life expectancy at birth for women increased 0.1 years to 83.1 years during the same period.

While men generally have a lower life expectancy than women, the gains made in the previous 10 years have narrowed the gender gap. During the 1996 to 1998 period, the gap in life expectancy at birth between men and women was 5.6 years, whereas in 2006-2008 it was 4.6 years.

In 2008, 238,617 people died in Canada, up 1.4% from 2007. This was a smaller increase compared with the previous year (+3.1%).

Between 2007 and 2008, both male and female deaths rose, but the increase was slightly larger for men (+1.5%) than for women (+1.4%).

In Canada, the standardized death rate declined from 5.4 deaths per 1,000 population in 2007 to 5.3 in 2008.

British Columbia and Ontario recorded the lowest standardized death rates (5.1 per 1,000 population). In contrast, Nunavut (10.2), Yukon (8.1) and the Northwest Territories (7.7) had the highest standardized rates.

In 2008, the infant mortality rate remained stable at 5.1 infant deaths per 1,000 live births.

Note: Life expectancy is the average number of years of life remaining at birth or at another age. It is based on age-specific mortality rates and calculated using three-year data. The age-specific death rate is the number of deaths in a particular age group during a given year per 1,000 population in the same age group as of July 1 of the same year. The age-standardized death rate removes the effects of differences in the age structure of populations among areas and over time. This rate is calculated using the 1991 population of Canada as standard population.

Available on CANSIM: tables 102-0501 to 102-0510 and 102-0512.

Definitions, data sources and methods: survey number 3233.

The publication Deaths, 2008 (84F0211X, free), is now available from the Key resource module of our website under Publications.

For more information, or to order custom tabulations, contact Client Services (613-951-1746; To enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact Shiang Ying Dai (613-951-1759) or Patricia Schembari (613-951-9502), Health Statistics Division.