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Long future for new generation
Day-old baby Samuel Roach, with mum, Daniella, and dad, Dan. Samuel will be among the first generation of WA males who can expect to live past 80. Picture: Sharon Smith/The West Australian

If he stays healthy and out of harm's way, Samuel Roach will be among the first generation of WA males who can expect to live past 80.

And while the fairer sex can still expect to outlive men, new Australian Bureau of Statistics figures show the gap is narrower.

Medical, hygiene and safety advances have long been responsible for longer lifespans.

In the past decade, the average life expectancy for WA males at birth increased from 77.3 years to 80.1 years last year, the first time WA men passed the 80 barrier.

Female life expectancy rose from 82.8 years to 84.6 years between 2001 and 2011.

The changes mean a baby girl today can expect to live 4½ years longer than a boy, but the gap was 5½ years 10 years ago.

Samuel was born on Wednesday at Osborne Park Hospital and father Dan said his son had good genes for a long life.

"My grandfather died at 84. If he cracks 80 it would be good, but I won't be around for it," Mr Roach said.

The figures show more babies also survive the first year, with WA's infant mortality rate almost halving in the past decade.

Just three babies die in their first year for every 1000 live births. It was five in 2001.

WA is still above the national average for life expectancies though Canberra has the longest lived people. Australia's average lifespan is now 81.4 years.

A record 146,932 people died in Australia last year, including 12,724 in WA.

But death rates have continued to fall, with 5.3 people dying for every 1000 in the State.