Australia is divided between rich and aboriginal

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The Independent Online

They are citizens of the same country but they might as well be living on different planets, so diverse are their living conditions and life expectancy.

They are citizens of the same country but they might as well be living on different planets, so diverse are their living conditions and life expectancy.

Most Australians - 87 per cent of men and 93 per cent of women - can expect to live beyond the age of 50. Unless, that is, they have the misfortune to be born Aborigines - only 47 per cent of indigenous men and 59 per cent of Aboriginal women live beyond the age of 50.

An analysis of mortality figures for 1995-97, published by the Australian Bureau of Statistics yesterday, provides evidence of two Australias: a majority community of Western or Asian origin that enjoys First-World health standards and a minority Third-World community characterised by poor health and squalid living conditions.

The disadvantages begin in the cradle. Aboriginal babies are more than three times more likely to die in their first year; as life goes on, Aboriginal mortality rates are higher for almost all age groups than those of other Australians - or, for that matter, of other indigenous peoples such as Native Americans and New Zealand Maori.

The main causes of death among Aboriginal adults are circulatory and respiratory diseases, diabetes, cancer and injuries, says the author of the study, Joan Cunningham.

External links: Aboriginal Health | Mavis Golds Aboriginal Health | A damning report on Aboriginal health | Health and wellbeing of Aboriginies | Aboriginal life expectancy | Aborigine health Australia's shame |

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