Life expectancy increases but healthy years decrease

Pensioners. Photo is illustrative.
Pensioners. Photo is illustrative. Source: (Martin Dremljuga/ERR)

Life expectancy for men and women has increased, figures released by Statistics Estonia show, but the amount of healthy years a person is likely to have has decreased.

Statistics Estonia's data for the year or 2018 show that life expectancy at birth was 73.9 years for males and 82.4 years for females, a difference between the genders of almost nine years.

Until now, the life expectancy and disability-free life expectancy of Estonian inhabitants have usually increased year by year.

Men are expected to live disability-free until they are approximately 52.8 years old and women for 55.6 years. But a year ago, disability-free life expectancy for males was two years longer and for females over three years longer.

Based on the recently released indicators, it can be said that we live longer but are not as healthily as we have been.

Female life expectancy is on average eight and a half years longer than male life expectancy. Just ten years ago, life expectancy for males was four years shorter and for females two years shorter.

Alis Tammur, a leading analyst of the Population and Social Statistics Department of Statistics Estonia, said that life expectancy is likely to keep increasing in the coming years.

"In the future, we will live to an older age, even men," she said. "The fastest increases in life expectancy in 2018 occurred for non-Estonian men, those with higher education and those who live in cities, and for non‑Estonian women."

Figures for 2017 showed that 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.

The life expectancy gap between men and women, a common phenomenon across most of the former Soviet/Warsaw Pact countries, has been steadily falling in Estonia, 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.

However, the gap in Estonia does vary widely depending on region, ethnicity and education level.


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Editor: Helen Wright

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