European life expectancy was heavily impacted by the COVID pandemic, Source: Unsplash

EU life expectancy drops for a second year in a row

EU life expectancy drops for a second year in a row

Find out which European region has the highest longevity, and which one the lowest

Eurostat, EU’s statistical agency, released its annual life expectancy report, which showed that for the year 2021, the parameters for that factor have dropped for a second year running due to the COVID pandemic.

The global viral pandemic has put a dent in what used to be a consistently upward trend since official measurements of life expectancy for the EU started being measured in 2002. In 2021, the life expectancy at birth in the EU was 80.1 years, whereas, at the highest point in 2019, it reached 81.3 years. Overall, that means that COVID has robbed Europeans of more than a year of their lives.

Since the start of the century, European life expectancy has increased by 2.5 years, from 77.6 to 80.1 years, on average. That gain was attributed to a multitude of factors, such as reduced infant mortality, improved public health care, rising living standards and better education and awareness of health factors.

eurostat life expectancy

Women consistently have higher life expectancy than men in the EU. Source: Eurostat

It seems, however, that after Covid, some ground has been lost and needs to be recovered in order to resume back on the upward track of longevity.

Madrid Region is best in this factor

In 2021, the regions in the EU with the highest levels of life expectancy at birth were located in Spain, Italy and France. That itself boosts the appeal of the Mediterranean diet, although it is likely not the only factor that mattered.

In fact, the European region, whose residents have the highest life expectancy at birth in 2021, was Madrid – with 84.8 years, well above the EU average.

On the other hand, the EU regions with the lowest life expectancy at birth were all in Bulgaria: North-West (69.7), North-Central (70.4), South-East (71.0) and North-East (71.2). The Balkan country was severely affected both by the COVID pandemic and by a general reluctance to vaccination on part of its population.



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