Number of healthy years of life: countries compared - Products Eurostat News

null Number of healthy years of life: countries compared


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In 2018, the number of years a person is expected to continue to live in a healthy condition at birth in the European Union (EU) was estimated to be 64.2 years for women and 63.7 years for men.

Life expectancy for women (83.7 years) in the EU was, on average, 5.5 years longer than that for men (78.2) in 2018. Healthy life years represent approximately 77% and 81% of the total life expectancy for women and men respectively. 


Healthy life years at birth

Source dataset: hlth_hlye


Among the EU Member States, Malta recorded the highest number of healthy life years in 2018 for women (73.4 years), followed by Sweden (72.0 years) and Ireland (70.4 years), whilst the highest numbers for men were also recorded in Sweden (73.7), Malta (71.9) and Ireland (68.4).

In contrast, Latvia had the lowest number of healthy life years for women (53.7 years) and men (51.0 years). Extreme values can partly be explained by the way in which activity limitation is measured in the country, impacting, to some extent, on the results.


The number of healthy life years at birth was higher for women than for men in 19 of the EU Member States, with the difference between the sexes generally relatively small. In 5 EU Member States the gap was more than 2 years: Poland (+3.8 years), Bulgaria (+3.6 years), Lithuania (+2.8 years), Latvia (+2.7 years) and Estonia (+2.3 years).

At the opposite end of scale, in seven EU Member States the number of healthy life years for women was lower than for men. The largest differences were observed in the Netherlands (-3.9 years), Denmark (-3.4 years) and Finland (- 3.1 years).


This information is published by Eurostat on the occasion of the World Health Day (7 April), which has gained particular importance this year, with the current health crisis.


For more information:

  • Additional statistics on the number of healthy life years at birth, and at age 65, are available in the Statistics Explained publication Healthy life year statistics.
  • Overview of EU health statistics


Note: The European Union (EU) includes 27 EU Member States. The United Kingdom left the European Union on 31 January 2020. Further information is published here.


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