Life expectancy fell year-over-year in the vast majority of European Union countries last year. Data from the European statistical office Eurostat showed that in nine countries, including the Czech Republic, the indicator fell by one year or more compared to 2019. Only Denmark and Finland saw a slight increase in life expectancy in the EU. In recent decades, life expectancy in Western Europe has grown steadily, with any decline being a very unusual phenomenon since the 1960s.
The highest decline was recorded in Spain, where life expectancy fell by more than a year and a half, Eurostat reported on Wednesday. It also fell by about a year and a half in Bulgaria, Lithuania, Poland and Romania.
In the Czech Republic, the indicator fell by one year. Czech children born in 2020 should live an average of 78 years and four months. This is the same figure as in 2013. On the contrary, life expectancy has increased by one to two months in Denmark and Finland.
Life expectancy indicates the expected age at which children born in a given year will live. The data are significantly affected by the state of healthcare, the environment, the economy and the security situation of a country.
Due to the lack of data from Ireland, Eurostat did not publish the EU average for last year. However, it will almost certainly be lower than in 2019, when the EU’s life expectancy was 81 years and four months. Between 2010 and 2019, the EU figure increased by a year and a half.
In 2019, the figure was highest in Spain, where it reached 84 years. This year, Spain ranks second alongside Italy and Sweden. In these three countries, the indicator reached 82 years and five months. Malta came in first at 82 years and eight months. The lowest was in Bulgaria with 73 years and eight months, preceded by Romania with 74 years and three months.
Decline after sixty years
Life expectancy has increased in recent decades in European countries. However, the growth has slowed in recent years. Eurostat pointed out that the decline was recorded at a time when European Union countries were facing the COVID-19 pandemic.
Eurostat said that during the epidemic last year, from March to December, 580,000 more people died than the average of previous years.
Title image: People wait in line before getting vaccinated against COVID-19 at the Church of St. Anthony of Padua in Sokolov, Czech Republic, Tuesday, March 16, 2021. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)