Page last updated: March 8, 2017
Future life expectancy in 35 industrialised countries

Life expectancy is projected to increase in 35 developed countries by 2030, according to research from the UK. In the Lancet, Majid Ezzati, MD, of Imperial College London, and colleagues state that “there is more than a 50% probability that by 2030, national female life expectancy will break the 90-year barrier, a level that was deemed unattainable by some at the turn of the 21st century”.

Projections for women are highest in South Korea (90.8 years), France (88.6 years), and Japan (88.4 years). For men, the top three were South Korea (84.1 years), Australia (84.0 years), and Switzerland (84.0 years).

Ezzati’s group examined vital statistics data on 35 high-income countries in Asia and the Pacific, North America, central and western Europe, and Latin America. Using the Bayesian model averaging approach they created an ensemble of 21 models for projecting age-specific death rates and projected life expectancy.

The researchers found that while life expectancy is predicted to increase across the board, the extent varies by country. From 2010 to 2030, female life expectancy is projected to increase most in South Korea (6.6 years), Slovenia (4.7 years), and Portugal (4.4 years), while greatest increases for men will be in Hungary (7.5 years), South Korea (7.0 years), and Slovenia (6.4 years).

Life expectancy is predicted to increase least in Macedonia (1.4 years), Bulgaria (1.5 years), Japan (1.8 years), and the U.S. (2.1 years) for women, and in Macedonia (2.4 years), Greece (2.7 years), Sweden, and the U.S. (3 years for both countries) for men.

While females have often had greater life expectancy than males, a convergence between the sexes is approaching. Ezzati explained that men and women used to have similar projections, and it wasn’t until the 20th century that they began to change. Gradually, as behaviour and lifestyle factors (smoking, alcohol consumption) started to become more similar, the gap began to shrink. The female life expectancy advantage over men is likely to shrink by 2030 in every country except Mexico.

Source: Future life expectancy in 35 industrialised countries: projections with a Bayesian model ensemble. Kontis, Vasilis et al. The Lancet, Published: 21 February 2017 - open access.


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