Statistics: Life expectancy in Estonia rising, particularly amongst males ({{commentsTotal}})

Estonia is to peg the retirement age to life expectancy beginning in 2027 (picture is illustrative).
Estonia is to peg the retirement age to life expectancy beginning in 2027 (picture is illustrative). Source: (Postimees/Scanpix)

Life expectancy at birth has risen in Estonia by several years over the past decade, according to Statistics Estonia. The rise has been seen in both genders but has been largest amongst males, and has reduced the gap between males and females, which once stood at well over 10 years.

According to the data life expectancy at birth was 73.7 years for males and 82.3 years for females in Estonian in 2017. This compares with figures of 60.2 years for males and 72.8 years for females in 1994.

As noted the gap between life expectancy of males and females, a common phenomenon across most of the former Soviet/Warsaw Pact countries, has been steadily falling, from 12 years in 1994, to 10 years in 2008, to 8.6 years for 2017 and is closing the gap on some of the 'western' countries. The gap in Estonia however does vary widely depending on region, ethnicity and education level (see below).

By comparison, the figure for Estonia's neighbour to the north, Finland, was 78 years for males and 84.1 years for females in 2017, a gap of 6.1 years*.

A few years below EU average

The gap between male and female life expectancy (in all cases females have a longer life expectancy at birth) is on average 5.4 years across the EU, with the narrowest gap reportedly in the Netherlands (3.2 years) and the largest in Lithuania (10.6 years).

As for male life expectancy at birth itself, the figure for Estonia is about five years shorter than the EU average and ranks 23rd in the EU 28, with the longest male life expectancy at birth in the EU being recorded in Italy (81.0 years).

Life expectancy at birth for females in Estonia is only 1.4 years less than the EU average, though ranking 19th out of the EU 28, with the longest life expectancy recorded in Spain (86.3 years).

Overall life expectancy at birth for both genders in Estonia is three years lower than the average, though as stated the trend is for a closing of this gap as well.

Why is life expectancy rising?

Factors behind the improving life expectancy rates include improving health and reducing youth mortality in accidents and from other causes.

Naturally we can assume simultaneous life expectancy improvements throughout the EU due to these and other factors.

Life expectancy depends on many factors, the most important of these being the environment, accessibility of healthcare services, living standard and health consciousness. The somewhat shorter male life expectancy is not surprising as men are more prone to risk-taking, Statistics Estonia claims.

The greater share of physically demanding jobs or those posing more risk to health, such as on construction sites, is also a relevant factor according to Statistics Estonia, and there are more male 'blue collar' workers in Estonia than female ones.

The greater share of physically demanding jobs or those posing more risk to health, such as on construction sites, is also a relevant factor according to Statistics Estonia, and there are more male 'blue collar' workers in Estonia than female ones.

Statistics Estonia calculates life expectancy separately for urban and rural populations, population by county, by nationality and, as of 2017, by education as a new indicator.

Life expectancy is greater in urban areas, among people of Estonian nationality and people with higher education. The difference between male and female life expectancy is also decreasing in these groups. Life expectancy of males and females with higher education differs by 7.7 years, while in the case of basic education, the difference is 10.1 years. The entire difference in the life expectancy between females with higher education and males with basic education stands at 17 years, it is reported.

Life expectancy at birth is the average number of years that a new-born is expected to live if mortality indicators specific to the time period remain unchanged.

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Statistics Estonia is a government agency under the aegis of the Ministry of Finance, and provides public institutions, business and research circles, international organisations and individuals with reliable and objective information on the economic, demographic, social and environmental situation and trends in Estonia.

*According to CIA World Factbook.

Editor: Andrew Whyte

Source: Statistics Estonia



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