According to INSEE, life expectancy at birth declined by almost a year for men and women between 2019 and 2020 in Europe. A trend that continued in 2021, especially in Eastern countries.
As the Covid-19 epidemic hit Europe in early 2020 and continues to rage today, life expectancy on the continent is suffering. According to an INSEE study published on Monday, life expectancy at birth fell by almost a year for men and women between 2019 and 2020. This trend continued in 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 European Union. “As a result, the rise in life expectancy, which has been going on for decades, has come to a halt. Life expectancy has fallen in 2020 in almost all EU countries“, specifies the INSEE in its study. The drop in life expectancy was particularly strong in 2020 in the countries most affected by the first two waves of the epidemic, namely in particular Belgium, Spain, Italy where the drop in Life expectancy there is over 1.2 years for both sexes. The coronavirus having, in 2020, more affected the South and East of the continent, the decreases are also marked in Poland, Romania as well as in and Lithuania, with life expectancies down by more than a year.
A steeper drop in life expectancy for men
For its part, France is in an intermediate position with a decrease of 0.6 years for men, compared to 1.0 in the European Union and 0.5 years for women, compared to 0.8 in Europe. EU. The decline was therefore more marked on the side of men, as is also the case in the vast majority of the rest of the European countries.
This downward trend in life expectancy in Europe continued in 2021. But this phenomenon hides disparities according to the different areas of the continent. “Western European countries were affected earlier than Eastern European countries in 2020, life expectancy there fell sharply in 2020 but rebounded in 2021, thanks in particular to the massive vaccination campaign . The countries of Eastern Europe were affected a little less quickly in 2020 but strongly during the second wave and were strongly affected in 2021, with less massive vaccination campaigns. Life expectancy there then drops sharply in 2021. This is why across the whole of the European Union, the decline continues in 2021: the gains observed in the west have not been strong enough to compensate for the sharp declines observed in the east“, specifies the INSEE in the Figaro. In 2021, the European Union recorded 14% more deaths (all causes combined) than in 2019.
In France, for men, life expectancy increased by 0.2 years between 2020 and 2021 to reach 79.3 years, a figure which still remains below 2019 (79.7). The same is true for women, with life expectancy reaching 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 that of 2019. This is particularly the case for men in Luxembourg who have gained 0.5 years or even women in Sweden who have a life expectancy which increased by 0.2 years. “Overall, life expectancies are increasing year on year. These countries have caught up or almost caught up with the delay caused by the pandemic and are continuing this long-term trend of gains in life expectancy. This means that the risks of death in these countries are no greater after the pandemic than before. It may also be a bias, called the “harvest effect”: the most vulnerable people were swept away by the epidemic in 2020, whereas they might have died in 2021 if the pandemic had not occurred. The year 2021 then has “fewer” deaths than expected, resulting in a strong gain in life expectancy.“, also detailed INSEE at Figaro.
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