Death is as economic as it is cultural and social. Death characterises the health of nations and challenges of the environment yet also public health and hospital quality. Mortality is an often avoided metric of well-being and while death cannot measure the quality of life for a long life of suffering is tragic, on average it captures the ability of a nation to keep its inhabitants alive.
New Zealanders can expect to live a competitive life compared to countries with similar characteristics. The average life expectancy at birth of 80 years for men and 83.5 years for women represents one of the highest in the OCED. The difference between life expectancies for men and women is small raising two questions. 1. Is New Zealand a more equal socieity or are women experiencing significantly lower life expectancies than they should?
The Ministry of Health has been collecting health data on types of mortality since 1948.