Life expectancy has decreased since 2019 in Europe

According to INSEE, life expectancy at birth decreased by about a year for men and women between 2019 and 2020 in Europe. A trend that continued into 2021 especially in the eastern countries.

As the Covid-19 pandemic hit Europe in early 2020 and continues to spread today, life expectancy on the continent is suffering. According to an INSEE study published on Monday, life expectancy at birth decreased by about a year for men and women between 2019 and 2020. This trend continued into 2021 with a decline of more than 0.3 years between 2020 and 2021 for both men and women.

In 2020, the number of deaths increased by 11% in the countries of the European Union. “As a result, the rise in life expectancy, which has been going on for decades, has stalled. Life expectancy has decreased in 2020 in almost all EU countries“, INSEE identifies in its study. The decline in life expectancy was particularly strong in 2020 in the countries most affected by the first two waves of the epidemic, namely Belgium, Spain and Italy where life expectancy fell by more than 1.2 years for both sexes. In In 2020, the Corona virus was more affected in the south and east of the continent, and the decline was also observed in Poland and Romania as well as in Lithuania, with a decrease in life expectancy of more than a year.

Sharp decline in life expectancy for men

For its part, France occupies the middle position with a decrease of 0.6 years for men, against 1.0 in the European Union and 0.5 years for women, against 0.8 in Europe. So the decline is more pronounced on the part of men, as is also the case in the vast majority of the rest of European countries.

This downward trend in life expectancy in Europe continued into 2021. But this phenomenon masks the disparities by different regions of the continent. “Western European countries were affected earlier than Eastern European countries in 2020, and life expectancy there fell sharply in 2020 but rebounded in 2021, thanks in particular to a massive vaccination campaign. Eastern European countries were affected a little less quickly in 2020 but more strongly during the second wave and were more severely affected in 2021 by less intense vaccination campaigns. Then life expectancy there drops sharply in 2021. That is why across the European Union, the decline continues in 2021: the gains observed in the West were not strong enough to offset the sharp declines observed in the East“,” INSEE in Figaro. In 2021, the European Union recorded a 14% increase in deaths (all causes combined) compared to 2019.

In France, life expectancy for men increased by 0.2 years between 2020 and 2021 to 79.3 years, a figure still lower than 2019 (79.7). The same is true for women, with a life expectancy of 85.4 years in 2021, compared to 85.1 years in 2020 and 85.6 years in 2019.

On the other hand, some rare European countries have a higher life expectancy in 2021 than in 2019. This is especially the case for men in Luxembourg who gained 0.5 years or even women in Sweden who have a higher life expectancy It increased by 0.2 years. “In general, life expectancy increases year by year. These countries have caught up or almost caught up with the delay caused by the pandemic, and they are continuing this long-term trend of achieving gains in life expectancy. This means that the risk of death in these countries is no longer greater after the pandemic than it was before. It could also be a bias called the “harvest effect”: the pandemic swept away the most vulnerable people in 2020, while they may have died in 2021 if the pandemic had not occurred. Then 2021 saw “fewer” deaths than expected, resulting in a significant increase in life expectancy.‘, also INSEE in detail in figaro.


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