According to data published by Statistics Estonia, in 2021 the average life expectancy in Estonia decreased to 77.2 years. The average male life expectancy in 2021 was 72.8 years, while for females the average was 81.4 years. The data also reveals that men can expect to live and average of 54.9 years "disability-free," with 58 years the average for women.
The average male life expectancy in 2021 was 72.8 years, while for females the average was 81.4 years. The data also reveals that men can expect to live and average of 54.9 years "disability-free," with 58 years the average for women.
Marin Tasuja, leading analyst at Statistics Estonia, said, that life expectancy in Estonia had increased steadily between 1995 and 2020. However, due in large part to the coronavirus pandemic, the trend has reversed slightly in recent years.
"The exceptionally large number of deaths last year means that (average) life expectancy decreased for both men and women, falling back to the same level as eight years ago," said Tasuja, adding that "The decrease in life expectancy has been steeper for men than for women."
The average life expectancy in 2021 dropped by one year, seven months for men and one year, four months for women in Estonia, when compared to the data for the previous year, although there are significant variations across different regions.
According to Tasuja, life expectancy in rural areas fell by almost two years in 2021, whereas in Viljandi and Hiuu counties, there was no decrease at all in women's expected lifespan against the figures for 2020.
In addition to the general decrease in life expectancy, the average number of healthy life years has also fallen. According to Statistics Estonia, men in Estonia are expected to live disability-free for 54.9 years and women for 58 years.
"Compared to 2020, (the expected number of ) healthy life years have decreased by seven months for men and a year and a half for women in Estonia. A comparison of demographic groups indicates that disability-free life expectancy has fallen the most among those with lower (levels of) education and in urban areas," explained Tasuja.
Average life expectancy depends on many factors, with levels of education chief among them, according to the data provided by Statistics Estonia.
For those who have completed higher education, the average lifespan is 80 years, almost ten years more than for those with only basic levels of education (70.3 years).
There are also differences in life expectancy depending on which part of Estonia a person lives in. Hiiu and Tartu counties had the highest average according to the 2021 data, with the lowest life expectancy averages in Ida-Viru and Võru counties. Residents of Hiiu County are expected to live an average of 4.5 years more than those residing in Ida-Viru County.
The data additionally revealed a difference in the expected lifespan of Estonians and non-Estonian national living in the country. Estonians expected to live almost two years longer than those who come to Estonia from abroad.
Placing the statistics in a broader context, Estonia had the highest average life expectancy in 2021 among the three Baltic countries.
In Latvia, the average in 2021 was 73.1 years, a drop of two years from 2020. The most recent data from Lithuania, recorded in 2020, recorded the country's life expectancy as averaging 75.1 years. This was a significant fall from the 2019 average, with Tasuja predicting that once data from 2021 does become available, it will most likely show a further decrease.
However, while Estonia stacks up well against the other Baltic countries, all three fall below the average life expectancy in Europe, which was 80.4 years in 2020. However, with data for 2021 currently unavailable for all European countries, this figure is also likely to be somewhat lower in light of the pandemic.
Editor: Michael Cole