Australia’s life expectancy took a plunge during the Omicron wave in 2022.

According to new data, it has been revealed that Omicron was the cause for a 17% spike in deaths.

Nearly 130,000 people died during the first eight months of 2022 – 13.2% higher than the same period in 2021, and 17% above the historical average.

At least 7700 of those deaths were doctor-certified as being caused by Covid19, six times higher than during the entirety of 2021.

The majority of the spike in deaths in 2022 are attributable to the “challenge” of an ageing population. This includes dementia and heart conditions, as the proportion of people aged over 65 continues to grow.

The increase in deaths between 2021 to 2023 has resulted in a temporary drop in life expectancies, however that’s expected to gradually increase over coming years. It will reach 87 for women and 83.5 for men by 2033.

Treasury’s latest Annual Population Statement reveals as the proportion of Australians over the age of 65 grows, so does the burden on younger workers.

The report found that the share of those over the retirement age will grow from 16.8% in 2020-21 to 19.9% in 2032-33 before reaching 23.1% in 2060-61.

That’s set to be combined with a declining fertility rate, projected to decline from 1.66 babies per woman in 2021–22 to 1.62 babies by 2030–31.

As a result, the median age will balloon from 38.4 years old in 2020-21 to 40.1 in 2032-33. It was 36.9 in 2008-09.

The ageing population is driven by increasing life expectancies and falling fertility rates, with the wave of older Australians created by a large baby boomer generation.

Image: Getty

This article first appeared on Over60.