Life expectancy at birth has been increasing over the past decade in the EU: official statistics reveal that life expectancy has risen, on average, by more than two years per decade since the 1960s. However, the latest available data suggest that life expectancy stagnated or even declined in recent years in several EU Member States.
Moreover, following the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic last year, life expectancy at birth fell in the vast majority of the EU Member States with available 2020 data. The largest decreases were recorded in Spain (-1.6 years compared with 2019) and Bulgaria (-1.5), followed by Lithuania, Poland and Romania (all -1.4).
This information comes from recently published provisional estimates on life expectancy in 2020.
Source dataset: demo_mlexpec
Men were slightly more affected in the majority of the EU Member States with available 2020 data, with the largest decreases in life expectancy recorded in Bulgaria (-1.7 years), Latvia and Poland (both -1.5 years) as well as Spain and Romania (both -1.4 years).
For more information:
- Life expectancy at birth is the average number of years that a newborn child would live if subjected to current mortality conditions (the death rates observed for the current period) throughout the rest of their life.
- It should be kept in mind, however, that the life expectancy is a period indicator of mortality, indicating the average life span in a population subject to the mortality rates of the selected period of time. This means that the values estimated above for the life expectancies in the year 2020 would apply if the mortality conditions observed in 2020, including the COVID-19 pandemic, will last for all the following years until the extinction of the cohort born in 2020. For more information, you can read the technical note (zip file).
- These life expectancies are provisional estimates from weekly deaths data (see the technical note). Ireland: 2020 data not available. Germany: 2020 data not available by sex.
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