In this end of year update we look at how likely it is you'll make your next birthday. We also explore the impact of job creation and construction on the economy and how disability affects the lives of people in NSW.
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It’s not surprising people don’t like to think about death, especially their own. The good news is new statistics from the Australian Bureau of Statistics show you’re more likely to reach your next birthday than previous generations (figure 1). Even if you’re 99! In 1971, 99 year olds had a 67 per cent chance of making it to their 100th birthday. In 2014, they had a 70 per cent chance of celebrating their 100th birthday.
Newborn babies in NSW have a high chance of dying in the first hours and days of life. Each extra day and week sees this risk reduce. In 2014, the chance of an infant dying by its first birthday was around 0.4 per cent for boys and 0.3 per cent for girls. The risk of death sharply decreases to reach its lowest point of 0.0075 per cent around 10 years of age. Death rates slowly start to increase with age from 11. They reach the level experienced in the first year of life at the age of 53 for males and 58 for females.
While this pattern has been consistent over the last century, our chances of dying at any given age has dropped. A deviation from this pattern occurred in the 1970s when death rates for teenagers and people in their early 20s increased dramatically (see figure 1). In 1971, mortality for young men aged 17 to 22 years exceeded that seen almost 25 years earlier. Their probability of death at age 19 increased to a rate just under what was seen 50 years earlier. The rise in death rates for young women was far less significant.
Without detailed analysis of death records, we can only guess the cause. One possible reason was the increased use of motor cars in Australia. Australian-made cars hit their peak production in the 1970s. With the lack of road safety measures in place, it’s not surprising this corresponded to an increase in deaths (see figure 2). Road deaths hit their peak in 1970 with 28.9 deaths per 100,000 population.
This increase in road deaths particularly effected men. In 1970, male drivers were significantly over-represented in serious accidents, accounting for 87 per cent of road fatalities. Police and road safety experts found men, particularly young men were more likely to drive recklessly and have fatal crashes. While women were generally more risk-averse, an AAMI Insurance spokesman confirmed young women today are just as bad, if not worse when it comes to technology and driver distraction such as texting while driving.
Source: Transport for NSW (2016) <http://roadsafety.transport.nsw.gov.au/statistics/fatalitytrends.html>
There is still an increased risk of young adults dying today, but the risk is much less pronounced than in the 1970s and the gender gap has narrowed. The chance of surviving to celebrate your next birthday, irrespective of age, is steadily increasing from previous generations. But there is still room for improvement.
The media often talks about a strong NSW economy – but do you know what this actually means?
The health of our economy is often measured by the pace of spending on house purchases and rent, factory machines, household goods, infrastructure, computers, accountancy services, takeaway meals and many other goods and services.
But there are other more obvious signs that also give us an indication of the strength of the NSW economy.
The growth of jobs in NSW often equates to growth in the state’s economy. More jobs means more people getting paid and spending money on goods and services to grow the NSW economy.
More jobs can also mean businesses are forming or expanding. Over the last three years, employment has grown strongly in NSW. The unemployment rate has also fallen, meaning there is a greater likelihood people who want jobs get them. This means less people are reliant on our savings or government support.
The property market is also a good indicator of the NSW economy. Building construction, in the form of homes and apartments, factories and infrastructure can be driven by increases in population. As our disposable incomes grow and we spend more, building construction is also boosted as businesses form and expand their operations to meet the increased demand.
Building construction reflects a growing economy, but it also leads to the economy growing further, creating a positive feedback loop. The construction sector requires materials and labour. When these are sourced within NSW, the economy grows even more. Building completions have grown by an average of almost 13 per cent per year over the last three years.
So, the term “strong NSW economy” can technically be measured by adding up our spending from year to year. But we can also look at job creation and building construction to give us a strong, real world, sense of what a strong economy actually means for us all.
There are an estimated 1.35 million people with a disability in NSW - that’s about one person in every five.
It’s a common myth all people with disabilities are old, yet many people have a disability from birth or a young age. The 2012 national survey of disability, ageing and carers found 50 per cent of people with a disability are aged under 60 and almost one in five are under 35.
People with disabilities face many challenges and aren’t always able to participate in society as much as they would like. This includes difficulties accessing and using transport, employment, health and education services, as well as social and political participation.
People with disabilities face many challenges and aren’t always able to participate in society as much as they’d like. They have difficulties using public transport and accessing health, education and employment services. Social and political participation is also often difficult.
About half a million people aged five to 64 years have a disability restricting their ability to take part in education or employment. This can range from a minor impact where they need special equipment at school or at work, to people whose disabilities mean they can’t get to school or work.
So how can planners make life easier for people with disabilities? Good design guidelines, be they for people’s homes, commercial buildings or public spaces are a good start.
Saturday, 3 December is International Day of Persons with Disabilities – a good day to think about how to make our towns and cities more liveable for everyone.